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Sorry Bruin Fans; I’m Not Ashamed to be a Trojan

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It's pretty common knowledge that college newspapers are inherently biased toward their university's various athletic teams - at least on some level. And to be perfectly honest, it makes a ton of sense. The writers will all graduate from the institution and remain a part of the larger community for years to come. So the idea that the campus's sports coverage tends to puts a positive spin on its own teams is a logical end result.

Such a situation can be seen with the Daily Bruin, as a recent article written by Matt Stevens calls out USC by declaring that Trojan fans should be ashamed of their athletic teams:

This has indeed been one of the more drama-filled and contentious periods in the UCLA/USC rivalry in years, and Sunday will add what will presumably be the latest chapter.

To recap quickly, in the last year, USC pushed Tim Floyd out the door essentially and allegedly for cheating, threw a Hail Mary to rub salt in the wounds of a losing UCLA football team, replaced the clown of a coach who celebrated after that play (Pete Carroll) with one of his protégés (Lane Kiffin) - who has learned well and exceeded his mentor in egotism and unethical behavior - hired a new women's basketball coach who, unprovoked, used an expletive to describe UCLA at a press conference, and oh yes, the school is still under NCAA investigation involving wrongdoings committed by its football program.

Ashamed? I would be a little more understanding if he had suggested that we should feel disappointed with the ways things have gone in recent months. But to suggest that we should be embarrassed about our athletic program is flat out ridiculous. In fact, I'm quite content of our athletic teams on campus and proud to be a part of the Trojan Family. To have the audacity to suggest, in print, that ‘SC fans should feel guilty about its sports department frustrates me to no end.

Am I upset with the way Tim Floyd era ended? Yes, there is no question about that. But when Floyd recruits a shady character in O.J. Mayo and allows Rodney Guillory to hang around the basketball facilities on a daily basis, you have to realize that his days are likely numbered. The Mayo situation is certainly bothersome, but am I embarrassed to be a Trojan fan based entirely on one botched incident? Absolutely not. At the very least, Floyd, despite his problems, took ‘SC to three straight NCAA tournaments for the first time in school history. I am not prepared to revoke my fandom based on the Floyd-Mayo fiasco. Frustrated? Yes. Ashamed to be a Trojan? Hardly.

As with Michael Cooper, the first year women's basketball coach, he messed up. You can't be that profane at a press conference. But seriously, am I to be embarrassed because our head coach used curse words to describe a rival program? Absolutely not. In the highly competitive world of college sports, this happens constantly, and while it may not be ideal, it certainly isn't groundbreaking news. It's just the way the system is nowadays.

But it's the blatant, completely inaccurate statements regarding the football side of things that really enflames my inner fandom. Honestly, it's completely ridiculous for people to sit back and attack Carroll's character. While it's been covered to extreme lengths, the Hail Mary bomb against the Bruins was more than justified as Neuweisel had called a timeout just before, indicating that he didn't want the Trojans to simply run out the clock. If UCLA is going to keep on playing, than why can't ‘SC run some legitimate offensive plays? If you don't like it, try covering the wide receivers instead of moaning about the play call.

As for being an ego-maniac and practicing unethical behavior, that's a tad bit excessive. Yes, the NCAA is presently investigating USC for a "lack of institutional control," but if Carroll's "illegal" actions were so transparent, than why hasn't the school been punished already? If it was a slam dunk, then wouldn't the Trojans already be on probation?

In terms of being a purely self-oriented individual, I find that equally irritating. This is the same man, who is well known as philanthropist in the Los Angeles area. After all, he founded the community-service organization, A Better LA, dedicated toward helping reduce gang violence in Los Angeles. An effort that was featured prominently on CBS's 60 Minutes last year and has been continuously praised by local citizens. This is the narcissistic coach I should be ashamed of?

In regards to Kiffin, the jury is still out. He's yet to coach a game here at USC, so it would be a bit premature to start singing his praises and calling him the second coming of Pete Carroll. But he does appear more than competent after reeling in the number one ranked recruiting class in the country according to Rivals.com. Yes, he makes a few outlandish statements here and there, but hey, at least he hasn't printed a full page add in the local papers calling out the program across town. Yes, he's young, brash, and bold, but that's a far cry from being unethical. We'll see how things develop, but I fail to understand why I would be ashamed of a guy who has been on the job for just one month.

Sorry, while it may not have been the smoothest of years for ‘SC athletics, any fan will tell that he is more than proud to be a Trojan.

Fight On!