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T.J. SIMERS

Is USC getting too uptight these days?

The Trojans' mantra of 'Fight on!' has been replaced by 'Compliance!'

September 11, 2010|T.J. Simers

Welcome to the Coliseum, home of the USCheaters, "Fight on!" replaced by everyone in the athletic department now saying over and over, "Compliance."

Hard to move around here without signing a paper promising not to do anything that might get USC in trouble, a school official saying it's done to keep outside influences away from our own people.

That's right — they don't trust their own people to do the right thing.

They've hired a company run by the former director of the FBI to keep an eye on everyone, and if they've already put a list together of possible enemies, you've got to believe they have Plaschke's computer bugged.

They handed the media a two-page document to enter the stadium Saturday, having reporters sign off on a number of ridiculous statements, including, "You certify that you are not an agent," like an agent would worry about lying to get in.

These folks are in the education business, but not smart enough to run a clean program without treating everyone as if kindergarten is in session.

Reporters will not be allowed in the USC locker room after the game this season because the Trojans would like to keep quiet any private deals struck with recruits.

A USC spokesman said that's not true, the media will not be admitted because it's a NCAA rule.

Nice try. There is no such rule, the NCAA leaving it up to USC if it wishes to keep the media out and hide things from reporters, the NCAA knowing it will eventually find out.

I asked to speak to USC's top compliance officer, but a USC spokesman said he didn't know if he could be found. I told him I thought he'd be standing right next to Lane Kiffin, you know, just a little Tennessee humor there for everyone.

By the way, the first quarter just ended here, and it appeared as if both teams were worried scoring might later be considered a NCAA violation.

USC went ahead of Virginia 14-7 with one second remaining in the first half, the Trojans nothing special against the 20-point underdogs.

I know this, the folks who surround the USC program need to loosen up. If only Pete Carroll were here to run the show.

Every time someone from USC says something about "compliance," it's a reminder to the rest of the country they're registered cheaters.

Move on. Everyone understands USC had no institutional control under Mike Garrett — only arrogance, but now the school is all about overreacting, as if the NCAA might take notice and show some mercy in appeal.

"They threw my wife off the field last week," said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden, while never saying if he disagreed.

None of this NCAA stuff really matters anymore. USC can't play in a bowl game, but as for cheaters never prospering, hogwash. USC begins the season playing Hawaii, Virginia, Minnesota who just lost to South Dakota, and Washington State.

If they're not 4-0, the NCAA ought to investigate.

SPEAKING OF compliance, what happened to USC's colors? Kiffin paced the sideline dressed in white coat and white visor, a reminder to everyone, I guess, he's really a good guy.

THREE PAGES into the USC program, the school's assistant sports information director, Paul Goldberg, writes: "The following are a handful of things that have not changed around USC," going on to note, "Traveler can sprint 40 yards faster than anyone in any NFL combine."

They really have wiped away the memory of Reggie Bush.

IT MUST be tough to score female fertility drugs in Chicago. Since joining the White Sox, Manny Ramirez has yet to record an extra base hit or drive in a run, while hitting .259 and striking out nine times in 31 at bats.

DE JON WATSON, an assistant to Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti is getting the once-over as possible GM for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Time to flee the sinking ship?

THE PADRES are in first place, but they are a San Diego team, which like the Chargers, pretty much guarantees they will collapse. I mentioned this while appearing last week on a 1090 radio show with hosts' Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith.

Kaplan and Smith are homers, two yahoos who gush about everything in San Diego — a lot of dead air, as you might imagine.

They said they would turn over their radio show for a day to Page 2 and Miss Radio Personality to make fun of San Diego if the Padres don't make the playoffs.

But if the Padres do advance, they want to write a Page 2 column, a once in a lifetime chance, I would imagine, to feel what it's like to communicate with fans in a big-league city.

THERE WAS an advertisement for baseball on TV the other day built around the slogan, "Beyond Belief."

Baseball's been there and done that, I thought, in what's known now as the steroid era.

WHAT A relief to learn Matt Barnes and his girlfriend must've just tripped and fell, both getting bruised in the process, the two lovebirds maybe knocking over the phone which dialed 911 all by itself.

The really important thing here is that Lakers fans won't have to worry, as some suggested they might, in comments made below Mark Heisler's story in The Times the other day.

"At least it didn't happen in the middle of the season," wrote lalfansince1961.

Or, as bribos put it, "Here's hoping they can get this mess figured out, cleared up and behind him just as quickly as possible. This (is) the kind of thing that could be so distracting and divisive that it could easily derail the team from its appointed rounds."

It's a good thing you can always count on Lakers fans to keep things in perspective.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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