The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that USC athletic director Lynn Swann was involved in a memorabilia show that charged customers for his autograph. Many fans may wonder how Swann has the time to go the Chantilly, Virginia and partake in this event when the USC athletic program is currently in shambles.
USC’s football team finished the season with an overall record of 5-7 and Swann choose to retain current head coach Clay Helton; not to mention they also lost out on offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury to the NFL. Their basketball team failed to make the NCA tournament in a not so talented Pac-12 conference, and they have also been recently involved in the notorious college admission scandal.
How in the world does Swann have time to go sign autographs with Randy Moss and Emmitt Smith? Per the Times, “A USC spokesperson said Swann had been invited to the Santa Barbara retreat but was not required to attend, and that there was nothing critical on the agenda related to him.”
Swann may have to glance at his agenda once more before going on such a lucrative business trip. Swann makes $220 or $250 per autograph, and $50 more for special phrases. The Times also states “Swann’s appearance rate for motivational speeches and corporate meet-and-greets as ranging between $20,000 and $50,000.” Not exactly a good look for the current athletic director.
Swann released a response yesterday that was posted on the USC website.
Below is the statement.
In regards to today’s story about me in the Los Angeles Times, the article would have you believe that I traveled to sign autographs with no concern for what is going on at USC. Nothing could be further from the truth. While on this brief weekend trip back East, I was constantly connected with people at our university. Also, as a matter of principle, I live up to my commitments and contractual obligations. I signed a contract months ago to appear at the event, well before news broke of what is going on at USC now. Not showing up would have been a breach of contract.
The former USC player quoted in the article may not have understood these details. Also, as the article stated, I don’t often do autograph shows, the last one being five years ago.
The most important thing for all of us in USC Athletics as we move forward during this challenging time is to serve our student-athletes. USC will continue to learn, change and be better. We are diligently working to identify and solve the problems and prevent them from happening again.
There will always be disagreement on decisions I make as the athletic director. I understand and I can live with that. I will make decisions that will help our student-athletes succeed and make all of us better. I do not make decisions in a vacuum without input from others. I do not make decisions without weighing multiple factors. As I have always done, I will do my best for this organization.”
Even with his response trying to calm the criticism former USC linebacker Riki Ellison still had some strong words to say about Swann.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Ellison. “Lynn’s a good guy, but isn’t his salary in the millions? Why does he need to do this? It’s just embarrassing.”
With the constant criticism revolving around USC’s athletic program Swann may be out of a job soon.