USC Trojan’s Student Manager Fired for Deflating Footballs

Posted on November 9, 2012 | in Football, Lean Tools, Sports, Standardized Work | by
lane kiffin usc southern california cal trojans football college lean blitz consulting manager deflate footballs

Did Lane Kiffin know about USC deflating footballs?


The Trojans of the University of Southern California have recently gotten off of NCAA probation. They are bowl eligible this year but have had scholarship reductions for the next few years. The team has come under fire recently for some “unethical” practices with players changing jerseys during games.

And now there’s this:

A USC football student manager has been relieved of all duties with the Trojan football team for intentionally deflating, below NCAA-regulated levels, some game footballs used by USC’s team during the first half in last Saturday’s game against Oregon.

Game officials discovered and re-inflated three of the balls before the game and two others at halftime.  All balls were regulation in the second half.

When informed of this allegation by the Pac-12, USC investigated it immediately. The student manager confirmed that he had, without the knowledge of, or instruction from, any USC student-athlete, coach, staff member or administrator, deflated those game balls after they had been tested and approved by officials prior to the game.

As a result, the Pac-12 reprimanded USC and imposed a fine.

Seriously, what is going on at USC?? This program refuses to follow the guidelines laid out by the NCAA and attempts workarounds to skirt the system. From the team’s head coach Lane Kiffin to the jersey changes by players, and now a student manager apparently acting on his own free will to affect the on-field results.

This is akin to a rogue employee refusing to follow “standardized” procedures and trying to create ideal results despite specific regulations and policies indicating that the actual procedure used by the employee are disallowed.

While it’s important that employees and constituents of a process or system to buy in to the procedures and policies, there are two directions to go with constituents that haven’t yet bought in – either build the buy-in and request understanding as to why the buy-in is lacking…or if all else fails, part company. Sometimes it is not worth spending the time and money to force something to change, and it becomes more reasonable to implement a replacement.

I make no assertions about the USC football program…but with this mounting evidence of Lane Kiffin not providing institutional control, I know what I’d probably do.

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One Response to “USC Trojan’s Student Manager Fired for Deflating Footballs”

  1. Chad Walters says:

    Pat Forde had a more thorough analysis of every little peculiar thing that’s happened during the Lane Kiffin era at USC:–ball-deflation-scandal-merely-the-latest-controversy-to-ensnare-lane-kiffin-s-trojans-08211909.html

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