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USC coach, student managers silent on deflated football controversy

Game officials discovered that a few of the footballs the Trojans used in the first half against Oregon were below NCAA-regulated levels, making it easier for the players to throw and catch.

November 08, 2012|By Gary Klein
  • A USC student manager admitted to deflating game balls in the game against Oregon.
A USC student manager admitted to deflating game balls in the game against… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

As they entered the practice facility to set up the field for Thursday morning's workout, USC Coach Lane Kiffin and football student managers declined to comment about the latest controversy surrounding the Trojans.

The Pac-12 Conference reprimanded and fined USC because a student manager intentionally deflated, below NCAA-regulated levels, several balls used by the Trojans in their game against Oregon, the school announced on its website. Deflated footballs apparently can be easier to throw and catch.

The student manager was relieved of his duties.

“Game officials discovered and re-inflated three of the balls before the game and two others at halftime,” the website said. “All balls were regulation in the second half.”

According to the website, USC investigated after it was informed of the allegation by the Pac-12.

“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,” the website said.

It is the latest controversy in a season during which USC has forbidden teams from doing stadium walkthroughs, a reporter was banned from practice for reporting on an injury and a USC player switched jerseys during a game.

Kiffin is expected to address the deflated balls situation after practice.

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