After a decade of endless TV sitcoms, scandals, and stellar performances in football, USC fans were finally able to take a few years to enjoy the fruits of an ostensibly functional athletic department. Under AD Mike Bohn — hired in 2019 from Cincinnati, picking up a long line of former players masquerading as Athletics outs — USC lured Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma, announced its bold jump to the Big Ten and reveled in the resurgence of women’s and men’s basketball. USC athletics finally felt…stable.
It turned out to be a mirage.
Bohn is out, with university president Carol Wohlt announcing Friday that she has accepted his resignation “effective today.” Of course, when a person leaves a job of his own free will, he does so immediately and announces it on Friday afternoon.
Folt stated that, in preparation for the transition to the Big Ten, USC conducted “a comprehensive review of its athletics department, including its operations, culture, and strategy.” This is completely normal when someone’s job is secure.
Alas, The Los Angeles Times reported later Friday that USC hired an outside law firm that specializes in allegations of “sexual harassment and misconduct” to investigate the workplace culture of its athletic department, during which employees raised concerns about Boone. More specific details are likely to emerge in the coming days and weeks.
It’s time to reset the “days since USC’s athletics department embarrassed itself” to zero.
USC now finds itself without an athletic director with barely over a year before its Big Ten membership becomes official. Riley, who brought back Heisman-winning quarterback Caleb Williams and will field a team this fall with College Football Playoff Draft aspirations, is now without a president. And executive searches like the one Folt must now launch generally take months.
All of this is less than ideal.
And Volt now faces tremendous pressure to hire a new athletics director — something USC has failed to do for at least 30 years — as the school embarks on the most defining athletics moment in its modern history.
There is no understanding of the enormity of the Big Ten move to the school, one filled with a million logistical challenges and intense competitive risks. Plenty of schools have changed conferences over the years, but no Power 5 program has risen with national championship aspirations and moved to a league headquartered 2,000 miles to the east. Appointing the right leader to oversee these efforts will be essential.
There is a long list of programs over the past decade that have been chasing gold and causing losses. Here’s looking at you, Nebraska. or West Virginia. or Colorado. or Rutgers. The good news for USC is that its games are no longer streamed to the Pac-12 Network or played at midnight on the East Coast. The bad news is that if the face of the Trojans is it will be seen by millions more.
More than ever, success not only in football but in all of its sports will require near perfect managerial alignment between all aspects of the university community. There had been signs even before Friday’s news that Boone was not commanding the narrowest ship.
USC AD Mike Bohn resigns
Boone’s first sign of trouble may have come last summer, when his longtime right hand, Brandon Sosna, left for the Detroit Lions. May story 2022 day the athlete Details Sosna’s deep involvement in both Riley’s landing and aiding his transition. Sosna was also heavily involved in USC’s early initiatives around the NIL—all of which have since been cancelled.
Boone seemed to flounder at times adjusting to the new college sports landscape. While ostensibly supporting athletes’ ability to earn an income for nothing, behind the scenes He was reportedly at odds with his constituents. At least four different groups have appeared since August 2022, When the Los Angeles Times story Bunn said he “refused to acknowledge the existence” of a group called Student Body Right. This one and the others have already come and gone. Last, Victory House It was announced just last month.
Now the two people in the athletic department most directly involved in hiring Riley and the Big Ten movement are gone. Someone new will have to come in and start working quickly. Their mission will be to lead USC into a new era of athletics glory.
And preferably without generating another round of embarrassing headlines.
(Top photo: Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images)
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