From the Desk of the A.D.


The third in an occasional series, "From the Desk of the A.D." allows you to hear directly from USC athletic director Mike Garrett, who gives you his thoughts on several topical and hot-button subjects for the Trojans and college sports. 

By Mike Garrett
USC Athletic Director

We have a lot of things to talk about this week, so let's get right to it in this week's "From the Desk of the A.D." blog entry:

  • Our women's basketball players and coaches, and consequently many others at USC, suffered horrible heartbreak when we were left out of the NCAA Tournament on selection day on Monday. The feeling is even worse because there's no transparency with the whole system. The selection committee makes their educated decisions, but for USC, the 65th-best team and first one out of the tournament, there's no rationale for why we weren't included. We're just left wondering. We had a good strength of schedule, having played 10 tournament-bound teams and beating four of them. We were third in the Pac-10 and had 19 wins. We finished hot, having won six straight at the end of the season before losing in the Pac-10 tournament semifinals to a ranked UCLA squad. Our RPI is in the Top 40 and we had a number of what the NCAA calls "good losses" -- to Xavier in overtime and Duke on the road, both highly seeded tournament teams. People complain about the BCS all the time, but at least it's transparent all season, and you can criticize it and scrutinize it all you want because of that. This snub is just going to make our basketball program -- both the men's and women's teams -- hungrier for this upcoming season. We're going to be hunting bear with a switch next year, and both men's and women's teams will make the NCAA Tournament. That's what I love about being a Trojan -- when you face adversity like this, it makes you stronger and more determined to prove your case. It's my silver lining in this heartbreak. When you go through this pain, you've got to take something good from it, and our teams definitely will.

  • It's a major disappointment that the Pac-10 has only two teams in both the men's and women's tournament brackets this year, and it bugs me that the conference has been getting belittled in the press like it has. We win more national championships than any other league, we cover the entire West Coast, we produce some of the world's best athletes and our weather is great, so maybe it's a little bit of envy from other people around the country. I think that's why we get no benefit of the doubt when our conference struggles. When we're down, many people jump all over us with both feet. It's disappointing that we don't get the same benefit of the doubt that other conferences get, especially when it comes to big-time postseason events like the NCAA basketball tournament.

  • With the NCAA Tournament coming up, a lot of people will be participating in pools and brackets. Our student-athletes, coaches and staff members will not be, though. The NCAA forbids athletic department personnel and athletes -- regardless of sport -- from gambling on any sport in which the NCAA sanctions competition. Any involvement in gambling activities by USC student-athletes or staff members will jeopardize their eligibility or employment and damage the reputation of the university, and it doesn't matter how much the wager is, even if it's $1. Gambling is gambling. There have been several notable examples of college athletic department employees who have broken this rule, and we're fortunate we have those examples to teach us all that the only way to do it is the right way. So our athletes and staff must act like Trojans and do the right thing, because it's not worth jeopardizing eligibility or damaging reputations over a few dollars in a tournament bracket.

  • One last note on the NCAA basketball tournaments: Many athletic directors sit on the tournament selection committees, but it's something I have never done, nor will ever do in the future. I'm here to win and be involved in the lives of our student-athletes, and for someone with tunnel vision like me, it's not best for our program if I sit on committees that consume such time and take me away from my No. 1 job. I'm into helping and educating our student-athletes -- not being a cog in a bureaucracy.

  • Finally, I want to mention one of my favorite sports at USC. The Trojan Invitational home track and field meet is coming up this weekend, and I'm really excited for this annual event. Track and field (along with football, baseball and swimming) is one of the sports that makes up the core of USC because of all the national championships it has won and the rich heritage it has. As athletic director, my two main goals have been to educate and graduate our student-athletes and win national championships, and our track and field team has always been one of the most successful squads at accomplishing those two aims. Track is also close to my heart because I ran the 100, 200 and even one race in the quarter-mile when I was a student-athlete here. Throughout history, USC has been a great university because it's not just football that is successful, but so many other core teams as well, and track and field is right at the forefront of that. That's why this Saturday's home meet at Cromwell Field is a wonderful thing -- it allows the track supporters an opportunity to see our athletes compete and see how well we'll do against UCLA in the dual meet on May 1. After all, beating UCLA and winning the NCAA championship are what the whole track and field season is about.

You can follow Mike Garrett on Twitter here.


I'll try this again and be more PC - is there any word on whether or not the spring practices will be open to the public?? Thank you.

Mike it feels like this is one of those times when no answer is a answer .
One last time will practice be open to the public or not?? Not getting a answer is feeling
more like NO than yes. Thank You

To get an answer on whether or not Spring Practice will be open to the public you need to email Ben. I highly, highly doubt MG takes a look at the comment section.

I think if Ben knew or had permission to say anything he would have. USC is keeping a lid on it for whatever reason. I agree that is looks very doubtful at this point - I'm guessing it's due to the upcoming announcement from the NCAA. The last thing they would want is to announce that practices are open the public and then get slammed for "lack of institutional control" by allowing too much access to the players. It was a lot of fun for the fans while it lasted. Too bad, it was really one of the things that made USC football special.......

Thank you for finding the time to build the great report. I will most certainly be including your webblog to my personal list of feeds.

Yo dudes,

I think a narc smelled our garden and the Po Po is on hot p. I am outta here.

- Petey C

Dude, my house got raided last year. be careful brother, JET LIFE

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