Well, it looks like USC can't stay out of the negative spotlight after all. With a positive offseason and no real groundbreaking news coming out of Southern California, a little bit of history is now beginning to surface.
According to Time Sports, former USC defensive lineman Bob DeMars encountered some harsh words from defensive line coach Ed Orgeron because he wanted to go to class. In fact, a required statistics course forced DeMars to leave spring practice 20 minutes early once a week. This didn't go over well with Orgeron, as DeMars recalls, according to the report.
“He M-F’d me all over the place,” says DeMars. “He made me feel like a bad person for going to class.”
It would have been interesting to see how Orgeron would have reacted if DeMars had enrolled in the USC cinema program, which was his original plan. However, DeMars claims that the athletic department wouldn't allow it due to the possibility of struggling with both academics and athletics, which forced him to major in business instead.
Orgeron is known as an aggressive and high-energy coach. He has spent time at numerous different schools, was the head coach for Mississippi for three seasons and even spent some time in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints. DeMars can also recall being overworked in practice, sometimes being included in scrimmages up to 50 plays in a row.
Per the report, DeMars remembers collapsing in the shower after one practice in the summer: “I remember a 96-year-old guy standing over me to help out,” says DeMars, “and thinking, ‘shouldn’t it be the other way around here?’”
According to the report, USC did not make Orgeron available for comment, but athletic director Pat Hayden did respond with an email:
While the alleged events happened before my time as athletic director at USC, I can say that all our football practices have been open to the media and players’ families since before Bob was here, and have been open to the public for most of that time as well. The transparency of practice would have brought to light this type of alleged inappropriate behavior. We also have high standards for our coaches and monitor and evaluate them as we would any of our employees.
Additionally, we have always been proud to support our student-athletes in a full range of academic pursuits. Majors represented in 2012 among football alone included Theatre, Business Administration, Psychology, Communications, Economics, Chemical Engineering and Political Science.
What's the reason DeMars is coming out now with these allegations? He just wants to see a change and help prevent other kids from experiencing the same things.
“I love my school, I love my teammates,” DeMars says. “But I want my kids to play sports—and not go through the things I had to go through.”
College football is often looked at as a dirty business, and there are allegedly a lot of horrifying things that go on behind the scenes. If these allegations are true, hopefully something positive can come out of it all.