USC coaches and players had no knowledge that a student manager deflated balls used by the Trojans during their game against Oregon last week, Coach Lane Kiffin said Thursday.
“Obviously as head coach, everything falls on you,” said Kiffin, who called it “a distraction that nobody here knew about.”
The Pac-12 Conference reprimanded and fined USC because the manager intentionally deflated, below NCAA-regulated levels, several balls used by the Trojans in the first half of their 62-51 loss to the Ducks at the Coliseum. Deflated footballs presumably can be easier to throw and catch.
The student manager is no longer with the program.
Kiffin said the situation was brought to USC’s attention by the Pac-12 on Sunday and that the school’s compliance department conducted the investigation.
Each team utilizes its own balls when it is on offense.
Kiffin said he was told that the manager was seen on the Oregon sideline, near the Ducks bench, deflating footballs before the game.