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Former USC football player admits taking money while in school

Lonnie White, who played for the Trojans from 1982-86 and covered sports for the Los Angeles Times for 20 years after that, says he got $14,000 while at USC, most of it coming from the sale of season tickets.

June 22, 2011|By Sam Farmer
  • Lonnie White was receiver and special-teams player at USC, where he set a single-season record for kickoff return yardage that stood from 1986 until 2010.
Lonnie White was receiver and special-teams player at USC, where he set…

Former USC football player Lonnie White has admitted to accepting $14,000 in illegal payments during his four years at the school in the 1980s.

White, who worked as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Times from 1987 to 2008, made the confession Wednesday in a first-person story for the Daily, saying most of the money came from selling the four season tickets provided to every scholarship player. Those tickets are not to be sold.

"To this day, it's something I'm ashamed about," White wrote. "Rent was overdue, and my household bills were delinquent. I needed the money to live. So accepting the $14,000 in different forms of 'benefits' over my college years three decades ago was an act of survival."

White declined comment to The Times when asked about the admission. USC also declined to comment.

During his career at the newspaper, White covered the Clippers, Kings, UCLA football and high schools and was a general-assignment reporter.

A receiver and special-teams player for the Trojans from 1982 1986, White in his final season set a single-season record for kickoff return yardage that stood until 2010. He played under coaches John Robinson and Ted Tollner, and made it to training camp with the New Orleans Saints.

White wrote that his older brother, Tim, also a USC football player, introduced him to a wealthy supporter of the Trojans who made the payments without the coaches' knowledge.

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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