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Two More All-Americans

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USC men's decathlete Viktor Fajoyomi and women's discus thrower Alexandra Collatz placed seventh and eighth in their respective events at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American status. 

Director of Track and Field Caryl Smith Gilbert on Fajoyomi: "Viktor PR'd in four of the 10 events and scored 7,712 points which in my opinion is a real decathlete when you can score that many points. He is number two on the USC all-time decathlon list and that is a very big feat. I'm very proud of Viktor."

Smith Gilbert on Collatz: "Alex Collatz had a good day. The competition was tough. There are a lot of great discus throwers in the competition this year. She overcame the elements it was raining early, it was windy and they weren't in her favor, so that was a tremendous accomplishment."

Click here for the recap.

In addition to the All-American performances, Aaron Brown (200m), Tynia Gaither (200m), Aleec Harris (110m HH) and the women's 4x400m relay team advanced to finals.

"We had a lot of fun today," said Smith Gilbert. "The performances were outstanding, everyone competed hard and people were standing up and taking notice of the Trojans."

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Coliseum Fan Experience Enhancements

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USC 9m x 45m Layout - 4.jpgSeveral enhancements to the fan experience at USC home football games--on-field suites and premium clubs located on the field and outside the Peristyle--will be introduced at the Coliseum in the upcoming 2014 season through a partnership between the USC athletic department and Legends, a global leader in hospitality and client services.

Additional unique fan enhancements, including other dining and tailgating options and exclusive in-game viewing content, are being planned by USC and will be announced prior to the season.

The Peristyle Club, located outside the east end of the Coliseum, will provide members with a one-of-a-kind pre- and post-game tailgating experience, including all-inclusive upscale food and beverage, a cash bar, shaded lounge seating, music and live sports on TVs.  The Peristyle Club experience will be an arm's length away as the USC team enters the stadium during the pre-game Trojan Walk.  The Peristyle Club will be open three hours prior to kickoff until an hour after the game ends.

Ten private Field Suites, seating 16 patrons on the field just feet from the action, will line the east end zone in front of the Sun Deck.  Suite holders, who will access the field via the iconic Coliseum Peristyle stairs, will enjoy an unprecedented VIP experience.  Field Suite holders have unlimited entry to the Peristyle Club, as well as to the Field Club.

The exclusive Field Club, adjacent to the Field Suites, will provide 100 members with a high-end, on-field experience, including food and beverage service.  The Trojan football team's entrance into the stadium from the Trojan Walk will include passage through the Field Club, whose members also have access to the Peristyle Club.

For further information, or to reserve a spot in the new Field Suite, Field Club or Peristyle Club, contact the USC Premium Department at premium@usc.edu.  Access to the Field Suites, Field Club and Peristyle Club are available on a season or individual game basis.

The USC football team, under new coach Steve Sarkisian, returns 18 starters on offense and defense from a squad that went 10-4 last season.  The Trojans open their 2014 campaign at home against Fresno State on Aug. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

Still Kickin' It

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As the World Cup begins today, USC women's soccer stars are still in the spotlight leading the National Women's Soccer League.  The Women of Troy alums are paced by two-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Rodriguez (pictured) who is the league's second leading scorer with nine goals in 12 games for her new club FC Kansas City.

Click here for more.

Ashley Nick, who teamed up to win the 2007 national championship at USC with Rodriguez, has returned from Europe to play for Sky Blue FC.  Samantha Johnson is the newest Trojan to hit the professional soccer ranks after earning a spot on the Chicago Red Stars.

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Speedy Start

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USC track and field enjoyed a strong first day at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, led by the men's and women's 4x100m relay teams, which qualified for their respective finals.  The women's sprinters posted 43.08, the fastest time run by a collegiate team this season.

Click here for the complete recap.

Individually, Aaron Brown grabbed a spot in the men's 100m final with a wind-aided 10.10 (+2.2w), while Tynia Gaither ran a wind-aided PR of 11.23 (+2.2w) to secure a berth in the women's 100m final.  Viktor Fajoyomi is in third after five events of the decathlon. 

"I'm excited about the performances we had today," said USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "We have the last five events in the decathlon, the discus throw, the 200m, the 100m HH, the 110m HH and the women's 4x400m relay tomorrow, so we should have more great performances tomorrow and Friday and Saturday we go into finals. We'll come out on top and Fight On!"

The women's 4x100m relay team set the pace on day one.
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Keidane's World Cup Preview

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Over the next month, Brazil is the center of the sports universe as the host of the 2014 World Cup.  The beautiful game, which we know as soccer, will become a global addiction.

For a preview of the tournament, Team USA and more, new USC women's soccer head coach Keidane McAlpine has you covered.

Q.) What country do you most enjoy watching in terms of style of play?

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 4.27.23 PM.pngI grew up being a real fan of the Dutch.  They popularized "total football", which means every player can play every position, so there is a lot of interchange.  It is a thinking person's game, but you have to be proficient all over the field.  It forces you to be a complete soccer player.

Q.) Which team would you like to see USC play like?

I would like us to defend like Italians.  They lock in with a tight, organized ship, and no one gets in.  I would like us to attack like the Dutch having that kind of fluidity to the game.  And, I would like to add in a little flair of the Brazilians.  If I could add all those together, and don't forget a little of the bite of the African teams. 

Q.) Who is the player that you most enjoy watching?

My favorite player until he just retired was Clarence Seedorf, again a Dutch guy.  The guy has won Champions League trophies with three different clubs.  The way he played the game and his ability to adapt to different styles, teams and leagues showed the total football part. 

Q.) Who is the best player in the world right now: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?

I am going to say Ronaldo.  He has tested himself in multiple markets (Manchester United and Real Madrid), while Messi has not.  It is hard to call Messi the best until he tests himself in other leagues, although I don't think he will just based on his belief in the Barcelona way.  Ronaldo is proven in different markets and different leagues. He has played against everything.

Q.) What is your Team USA preview?

Talking strictly their development under Jurgen Klinsmann, I was really pleased to see their combination play and fluidity offensively in their last game against Nigeria.  They made some adjustments defensively against a good, athletic Nigerian team.  They are young, especially in the back line, which I am a little concerned about, but the American spirit always bodes well to find results where maybe we shouldn't get them.  My hopes are high that we will advance out of the group.  The more important part is that this group of young players continues to develop and get experience, so that when we get to the next World Cup, we are bought into what Klinsmann wants to do.

Q.) What do you make of Jurgen Klinsmann's approach?

jurgen.jpgHe is a winner.  I have played with a lot of Germans, and he has that trademark efficiency, but he seems to go outside of that and allow a creativity, excitement and flare to the game, which I appreciate.  Typically, the U.S. plays a working class style of soccer, so to ask us to actually play, and play at a high level, is going to be interesting to watch.  We are still as a nation very much in our youth in terms of the game compared to other countries.  The players that are playing now are really the second generation in terms of having parents that understood the game.  Look at Bob Bradley (the previous U.S. Men's National Team head coach) and his son Michael Bradley (arguably the best field player on this year's squad) who are proof positive that we are headed in the right direction.

Q.) How important is World Cup success to the development of soccer in the U.S.?

The women's team, just as much as the men's team, ignited the fire in this country by winning the World Cup, and creating this "soccer mom" movement.  Now, you've got a sport that not only men watch but women watch, which I think is great.  The men's World Cup is the highest stage in the sport.  Every time we can get a result against a proven country is a step towards that next kid believing that we can win a World Cup.  Ultimately, you have to believe it is possible.  And even though Klinsmann's come out and said that it is not realistic right now, I do think ultimately he wouldn't be here if he didn't think one day it was possible.  He's trying to blend all the cultures in this country and create a team with the potential to do so.

Q.) Predictions?

I have been too hard at work to look at the bracket!  But, Brazil and Argentina have the advantage as the top two teams in South America, where the World Cup is being played.  You never want to count out Germany because they are so solid at every position.  Brazil and Argentina are the favorites though.

Win Sark's Seats: Colorado

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Congratulations to Keenan Z. who won Steve Sarkisian's seats to the USC vs. Arizona State game at the Coliseum.

As a reminder, Sark is giving away midfield seats, VIP parking and VIP tailgate passes to every home game this season.  Fans will have to enter each week to be eligible for that week's prize.

Click here to enter!

This week's prize package is for the October 18 home game against Colorado.  Please enter by June 15.

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Nunis Inducted Into Academic Hall

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Former USC football player Dick Nunis became the third Trojan ever inducted into the Capital One Academic All-America Hall of Fame at a ceremony this week in Orlando.  Nunis, who graduated from USC in 1954, went on to become president of Walt Disney Attractions in 1980 and chairman in 1991 earning a reputation as Walt Disney's right-hand man.

Nunis joins USC legends Pat Haden and John Naber in the distinguished 127-member Hall of Fame which was created in 1988.  On the football field, Nunis was a rising talent grabbing six interceptions as a sophomore before suffering a career-ending neck injury in the 1952 Crosstown Rivalry.

"My injury, at the time, seemed a real tragedy," Nunis recounted. "It turned out to be the best accident of my life."

Below is the 2014 class starting with Nunis on the far left followed by Bentley soccer star Terry Carleton, Cal gymnast Dr. Sigall Bell, Florida State linebacker Derrick Brooks and Virginia tailback Tiki Barber.
 
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History Is All Around Us

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USC has jokingly been called the "University of Summer Construction" by some as new buildings seem to pop up with regularity this time of year.  But the neighborhood next to which the University Park Campus is located, the West Adams district, is known for its historic architecture.

In a cool photo spread published by Slate.com entitled "Uncovering Los Angeles' Forgotten Neighborhood", several unique local houses and buildings dating back more than a century are profiled. 

And of course, Hollywood has used many of the historic homes as sets for feature films including the recently released comedy Neighbors starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron, which turned the 1907 Craftsman (below) into a frat house.

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Lee's New Look

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USC alum Marqise Lee made his debut in teal at the NFL Rookie Premiere at the LA Memorial Coliseum on May 31, 2014.  Here is a first look at the newest Jacksonville Jaguars receiver...


End of NCAA Sanctions

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The NCAA sanctions imposed on USC football, men's basketball and women's tennis in 2010 are officially over.

Click here for the LA Times look at the effect of the sanctions on USC athletics.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden:

Haden-Heritage-PC.jpg"Today is a significant day for USC Athletics.  That is because yesterday was the final day of the NCAA's four-year probation imposed on our football, men's basketball and women's tennis teams.

"These past four years have been trying ones for those programs as they navigated many issues related to the NCAA sanctions.  Our football team, in particular, was hit with severe penalties that created unusual hardships for our players, coaches, staff and fans.  Despite those penalties, during the past four seasons our football team produced a pair of 10-win seasons, our men's basketball team had a 19-win season with a trip to the NCAA tournament and our women's tennis team twice won the Pac-12 championship while advancing to the NCAA tourney all four years.  Indications point to promising futures for each program, as each has recruited extremely well.

"All of us in the USC athletic department want to extend our sincere appreciation to our fans and donors for their continued support during our probation years.  We know it has not been easy for them, but the unwavering support of the Trojan Family is what makes USC the special place it is.  No program in the country could have endured the past four years the way USC has;  the Trojan Family has been a key part of that.  Not only have all of our teams excelled on the field of play more often than not these past four years, but we have been able to construct state-of-the-art facilities for them, including the McKay Center, Uytengsu Aquatics Center, Merle Norman Stadium and a renovated Heritage Hall.

"Although our probation has ended, challenges remain because of the lingering effects of the sanctions.  And we also must remain diligent when it comes to rules compliance.  As a reminder, we have another year remaining in the five-year window of repeat violator status;  another major violation could bring even more severe hardships.

"Moving forward, we are revising policies now that some limitations imposed on us by the NCAA are lifted, in particular those regarding public access at football and men's basketball games, practices and travel.  But we can only do so if there is a continued vigilance and compliance with NCAA rules by all parties.  The NCAA-imposed access restrictions were certainly challenging for us and our fans, but the policies we developed to deal with those restrictions have become models with our peers throughout the country.

"Again, I want to personally thank our players, coaches, staff and athletic compliance office for the amazing attitude and performance they have exhibited these past four years, and thank our fans for the overwhelming support we needed to get through these difficult times.  As we look forward to an incredibly bright future in USC Athletics, let us all continue to Fight On!"

USC Vice President for Athletic Compliance Dave Roberts:

"I am pleased to report that on June 9, 2014, USC successfully completed the four-year period of probation imposed by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in 2010.  

"During its probation, USC provided, and the COI approved and accepted, annual reports detailing its compliance with each of the sanctions imposed on USC, as well as the programs and policies implemented to ensure future compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.  

"Although some sanctions were difficult and burdensome to implement and monitor, there were some benefits and results that were noted not only by USC, but also by other institutions and conferences (e.g., football game sideline access).

"USC will continue its pursuit of excellence, academically and athletically, in accordance with the rules of the NCAA, Pac-12 and USC.  We look forward to maintaining our position as a leader in intercollegiate athletics."