USC football: NCAA planning to give eligibility relief, adjust roster limits

USC football defensive lineman Brandon Pili. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
USC football defensive lineman Brandon Pili. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

USC football players won’t be charged eligibility for this season, per reports.

The NCAA doesn’t always get things right, USC football fans know that as well as anyone, but it looks like they’re set to handle the eligibility issue for 2020 with common sense.

On Wednesday, multiple reports from college football insiders suggested the NCAA is on the verge of allowing all athletes to retain their year of eligibility from 2020, whether or not they play in the fall or the spring.

The plan to deal with roster limitations appears to be excluding current seniors from 2021 scholarship counts.

That’s according to Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic.

Who will benefit from USC football players getting eligibility back?

The extra season of eligibility will help several Trojans, but not all of them. For players like wide receiver Bru McCoy and Solomon Tuliaupupu, further delay in getting their careers off the ground can only hurt. Sure, they’ll have another year to work with down the line, but both will be looking to get to the league as soon as possible. They just need to play first.

Wide receiver Kyle Ford, on the other hand, may get the best of both worlds. Having suffered a knee injury this spring, he might be recovered enough to participate in the spring season. He would have certainly missed football played in the fall. Since he already used a redshirt, the eligibility clock pausing serves him perfectly.

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Meanwhile, seniors like linebacker Jordan Iosefa will have an extra opportunity to achieve full-time starting roles. Count defensive linemen Brandon Pili, Connor Murphy, Caleb Tremblay and Nick Figueroa in that same category.

On offense, NFL aspirations could get in the way of running backs Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai sticking around for the 2021 season. The option will be there though.

At wide receiver, Tyler Vaughns will have to weigh a pursuit of Trojan receiving records with entry to the NFL as well.

Of course, there’s another complication that will be hard to gauge.

If Carr and Malepeai come back, how will that impact Markese Stepp’s ability to star in cardinal and gold?

Will so many seniors returning hinder the development of younger talent behind them?

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It’s a balancing act USC will have to manage.

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