A USC football student manager has been relieved of all duties with the Trojan football team for intentionally deflating, below NCAA-regulated levels, some game footballs used by USC's team during the first half in last Saturday's game against Oregon.
Game officials discovered and re-inflated three of the balls before the game and two others at halftime. All balls were regulation in the second half.
When informed of this allegation by the Pac-12, USC investigated it immediately. The student manager confirmed that he had, without the knowledge of, or instruction from, any USC student-athlete, coach, staff member or administrator, deflated those game balls after they had been tested and approved by officials prior to the game.
Uh hum. Even reliable Trojan apologists such as ESPN's Ted Miller is not buying this:
So this unnamed manager acted alone and without the knowledge of anyone else. Hmm. Pause for a second and allow your credulity to catch up. Now slap your forehead and shake your head. My guess is you just duplicated what USC AD Pat Haden did when he first learned of this small but notable embarrassment.
And, by the way, it's almost worse if the student manager did act alone. That would mean he felt safe and empowered within the culture of the program to take unilateral action. You think any of Nick Saban's student managers feel that way at Alabama? [...]
It's not just about three losses for a team many thought might go undefeated. It's about embarrassing, minor news items that feel, for the lack of a better term, childish.
We've had him storming out of a post-practice news conference over an innocuous question, a reaction that was ridiculous whether Kiffin's irritation was real or feigned. We've had USC orchestrate a dubious jersey switchagainst Colorado that served no purpose other than making Kiffin look bad. And now we have deflated footballs from a -- riiiight -- rogue student manager.
Ahh never mind. We have a big game this weekend. Let them "play for the visor."