I was in Heritage Hall the morning of June 10, 2010, along with plenty of other media members, when the massive NCAA sanctions against USC were announced. Tuesday felt worse, as the Pac-12 announced that the fall football season would not be played in 2020.
But just as players and coaches in 2010 talked about getting up the next day and moving forward as a program and individuals, the Trojans did the same thing today.
Safeties coach Craig Naivar made sure to show off his group of defensive backs who showed up bright and early on Wednesday, ready to push forward. Talanoa Hufanga, Isaiah Pola-Mao and nickelback Greg Johnson were a few of the players in attendance.
Hufanga might be one of the USC players with a decision to make in the coming months, whether or not to look seriously and enter his name into the 2021 NFL Draft. But it won’t be surprising to see him take on a leadership role with this team during the fall, as he likely would have been on the short list for team captain had there been a season.
Former USC running back Justin Davis offered some silver-lining perspective to players, as he hopes they will find some good in what is an objectively frustrating and disappointing situation for them.
Ultimately, USC football will be back at some point, but it’s still tough to imagine a fall without Trojan football. It’ll be the first season since 1913 that USC doesn’t field a college football team and just the fifth time since 1888. USC has played twice as many seasons with no official coach listed.
What happens from this point in terms of roster management and a potential spring season is still very much up in the air, but the players already on campus will be permitted to remain there, and will evidently continue to fight on.