USC's Season Hits New Low with Deflated Balls Controversy

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterNovember 8, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 20:  USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin looks on against the Colorado Buffaloes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 20, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The once-promising USC season has devolved into a deflated ball controversy. 

The latest from the Trojans program is a report that, while ridiculous, is pretty much in tandem with where this season has been heading. 

On Wednesday night, the USC Trojans website reported (h/t CBS Sports) they had parted ways with a team manager who apparently tampered with game balls. 

Here is the entirety of their statement. 

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.

As a result, the Pac-12 reprimanded USC and imposed a fine.


A deflated ball would be easier to grip, throw and catch. As USA Today's Paul Myerberg offers, each team uses their own balls on offense so there is little worry of the other team finding out. 

Myerberg also reminds us that just a month ago, USC was scoffed by media for a jersey-switching debacle in a win over Colorado. 

USC changed backup quarterback Cody Kessler's number from 6 to 35 before a game against the Buffaloes on Oct. 20, with No. 35 the same jersey number as punter Kyle Negrete. Kessler was then used on a two-point conversion in the first half while wearing No. 35 before moving back to No. 6 for the second half.


You aren't allowed to switch jersey to dupe a team but USC stated they made the switch prior to the game. Either way, it was a rather ridiculous ploy to get over on a Colorado team they dismantled rather easily. 

Of course, Lane Kiffin was careful to completely distance himself from the team manager who deflated the balls and said he had no knowledge of the act when speaking with reporters (:46 second mark). 

Still, this is hardly a good story for a program that had one goal this season, and that was to compete for a national title. 

With three losses, and one to the Arizona Wildcats, those have all but extinguished. 

Now they have to field questions on this bizarre scandal. Which, as you can see, is par for the course for a ridiculous and shaky season. 

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