USC’s athletic department is undergoing a major facelift with the firing of three high-ranking officials, reportedly connected to the Varsity Blues scandal.
It has been months since new USC athletic director Mike Bohn was brought in, and almost a year since the Varsity Blues scandal rocked the Trojans. Now things are starting to really move.
USC has fired COO/CFO Steve Lopes, Trojan Athletic Fund senior associate athletic director Ron Orr and associate athletic director Scott Jacobson, according to a report from the LA Times’ Ryan Kartje.
“The [LA Times] has learned their firings involve concerns over past scandals, including the Varsity Blues admissions scandal,” Kartje revealed in an additional tweet.
This news is a long time coming. Athletic director Lynn Swann stepped down from his post this past fall, but the arrival of a new AD came along with the underlying expectation of massive staff changes in the athletic department.
Cleaning house has certainly been needed. The Varsity Blues scandal was more or less the final straw. A USC athletics department official was accused of falsifying athletics profiles to get the children of wealthy parents admitted into the university through back channels, a scam involving numerous other coaches and officials.
Even if the firings were linked solely to the Varsity Blues scandal, it makes sense for Bohn and company to start fresh without the old guard who had been so tainted by perceived incompetence.
The Trojan athletic department had been weighed down by questionable decision making on plenty of other issues as well. The reportedly exorbitant buyout owed to football head coach Clay Helton and his staff was apparently a barrier towards making a change after the 2019 season. The wisdom of the coaches’ extension in 2017 has been called into serious question.
Bohn already faces pressure for keeping Helton on board, but with these changes, he will at least be able to begin shaping his athletic department at USC to right the ship.