Skip to content

USC student manager fired for deflating game balls against Oregon

Oregon vs USC Getty Images

From the weird stories archives, we bring you the following:

According to, a football student manager has been fired 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.”

The report adds that officials found and re-inflated three footballs before the start of the game, and two more at halftime. The student manager claims he was not given instruction to deflate the game balls — under-inflated footballs are easier to hold onto, catch and throw, and offenses use their own footballs — if you believe that sort of thing.

Not that it mattered too much; USC lost to Oregon 62-51.

The Pac-12 issued a reprimand and issued a $25,000 fine to USC for the incident. But hey, at least everyone was wearing their own numbers.

Updated 2:56 p.m. ET: USC athletic director Pat Haden has issued the following statement: “We acknowledge the Pac-12’s reprimand and fine. We regret this incident occurred. It was unacceptable and we apologize for it. I can assure you this will not happen again.”

I was just disappointed, because it was just a distraction,” Kiffin said. “It was a distraction that nobody knew about here, that had no effect on the game. If anything, it had a negative effect to be throwing two different types of balls for a quarterback. I was just disappointed, because it was a distraction that we didn’t need.”

Whatever you say.

Permalink 54 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Oregon Ducks, Pac-12 Conference, Rumor Mill, Top Posts, USC Trojans
54 Responses to “USC student manager fired for deflating game balls against Oregon”
  1. overratedgators says: Nov 8, 2012 8:44 AM

    Oh, Lane Kiffin: bless your precious little shriveled up bile duct located where most people would have a heart.

  2. hor2012 says: Nov 8, 2012 9:07 AM

    I don’t think that would have made that much of a difference.

  3. bigjdve says: Nov 8, 2012 9:07 AM

    Wow – Kiffin got the kid to cover for him as well.

  4. mauldawg says: Nov 8, 2012 9:19 AM

    There is nothing good about Kiffin.He is everything bad that is wrong about collage football.He will do or have someone do what ever gives him a slight advanatge.Some student manager took the fall this time.What goes around comes around.Kiffin will get his someday.I cant wait to see him fall.What a scum bag.

  5. addict2sport says: Nov 8, 2012 9:42 AM

    This has got to be the icing on the cake for Haden to can Kiffin. He’s done a few good things while on sanctions (recruit, stay competitive last year) but his antics don’t overcome the good. This team has been out prepared and out coached while fielding an undisciplined team. They don’t make the adjustments during games or at half that well coached teams make. This ball issue along with losing with all the talent they have, the jersey thing vs Colorado, whining about the refs, the penalties, and record setting losses at home are more than enough reasons to let him go. The guy needs to look in the mirror and mature. Haden needs to realize us Trojan alumni and fans don’t want to see our program continually in the news over this type of crap.

  6. fatcamper says: Nov 8, 2012 9:48 AM

    Calling it “collage football” is everything that is wrong with the education system.

  7. floridacock says: Nov 8, 2012 10:03 AM

    This has probably been going on all year and they just got caught. Heisman for any of these guys??? I think not. Cheaters always lose in the end.

  8. cubsin2049 says: Nov 8, 2012 10:19 AM

    At least let the kid work the Weed Eater Bowl — which is where your sorry butts are headed. If you’re lucky. From the cover of SI and a national championship to playing on ESPNU in the middle of a Monday afternoon. Congrats Haden and Kiffen. Job well done!

  9. manchestermiracle says: Nov 8, 2012 10:32 AM

    Pretty hilarious comments here about Kiffin. Yes, he and his staff have underachieved this year with the talent they have, yet some seem to think he’s got enough organizational skills to have time to instruct a ball boy to let the air out of some balls. Which makes no sense since the offense wasn’t having problems scoring, it was the defense that couldn’t stop anything Oregon tried.

    Since Oregon’s O played with their own footballs, deflating the balls USC’s offense used would have had no effect whatsoever. Y’all obviously despise Kiffin, but at least give him enough credit to know that deflating the balls his offense will use isn’t going to have an effect on Oregon’s offense. From the handles of the commenters I’m guessing they’re still pissed about Kiffin’s time at Tennessee.

  10. afirst916 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:03 AM

    ^Deflating the balls is supposed to make them easier to throw and catch, not harder, it really has nothing to do with stopping Oregon.

  11. rsmeans says: Nov 8, 2012 11:18 AM

    Haden is the one who should go. He is worse than Kiffin and will back anything Kiffin does. But USC will find a way to defend both. They love cheaters. Anything goes to get an advantage.

  12. thraiderskin says: Nov 8, 2012 11:23 AM

    Wow… now that is cheating… But if the manager said he did it on his own, until proven otherwise, I don’t think the situation is a representation of the program.

  13. ndrick731 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:30 AM

    Wow. Somebody’s cheating at USC. I could never imagine that happening. Any school that would follow up the cheater Pete Carroll with Lane Kiffin deservers what they get.

  14. cbass59 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:45 AM

    USC = Usually Seen Cheating

  15. skids003 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:52 AM

    I’d be willing to bet Kiffin instructed him to do it, then let the kid take the fall for it.

  16. loadofwashmother says: Nov 8, 2012 12:41 PM

    Seriously anyone believing that the kid acted on his own is kind of blind! Duh come on man ! Seriously !
    Doesn’t add up, later he will said well coach told me to do it ! And the qb and the receivers were all in ! usc cheat and will always cheat very simple
    If you want your kid to go to a football program like that, is because you know they do it and you are ok with it good luck USCheaters ! Lane kidding

  17. blitz4848 says: Nov 8, 2012 12:44 PM

    Don’t be naive—-Barkley (qb) and his 5 star receivers knew soon into the game the balls were “soft” and it is a big plus for everyone but the kickers.

    Those of you who claim all the bad remarks are from haters are also naive—the longer Kiffin stays at USC the BETTER it is for the so called haters!!!

    He’s a great recruiter but never proven he is a winner—his overall HC record in pros and college is 36-31 and for that he is making $4,005,000.00 per year. That is criminal!!!!!

    This year was USC’s last chance because the next couple of yrs the real effect of the 15 lost scholarships really take effect. Great talent but little to no depth.

  18. mogogo1 says: Nov 8, 2012 12:54 PM

    The student managers for every major program walk around with stars in their eyes every day. Nobody in that position would do something like this without being instructed to do it.

    What’s the over-under for the number of NCAA violations Lane eventually gets them hit with? 5 majors and an assortment of minors? Because if they’re messing with the game balls, you know the rules are being bent/broken lots of other places.

  19. papabush88 says: Nov 8, 2012 12:57 PM

    What an idiot. Not sure how people above are blaming this on Kiffin. I don’t think he is the student manager. Also, the reason USC has been struggling is because of Monte and Lane trying to do too much with the playcalling. Doubt he has time to focus on the balls used in the game. HOWEVER, this student manager is a dough head!!!!

  20. BrownsTown says: Nov 8, 2012 1:05 PM

    “The Pac-12 issued a reprimand and fine to USC for the incident.”

    That’s it? Kiffin must have dispatched the prostitutes to Pac-12 HQ like he used to do with recruits @ UT (the other one).

  21. papabush88 says: Nov 8, 2012 1:08 PM


    aren’t you a Buckeyes fan? People who live in glass houses….

    This was a student manager…a total dough head of a student manager, but it’s not like this was the head coach (Tressel)

  22. jimbo75025 says: Nov 8, 2012 1:09 PM

    Wow, part of me gets a nice litle laugh about this.

    Considering how much smack the USC fans were talking before the season, the last two months has to have been agony for them. Playing Alabama for the NC-rrriiiiiiggggghhhhhhhht.

    Poor Monte Kiffen, he is the only one of that whole “crew” I have any respect for.

  23. gorilladunk says: Nov 8, 2012 1:12 PM

    @papabush…You’re the guy who would defend Kiffin and USC if there were ten dead bodies lying near him riddled with bullets and he was holding a smoking machine gun. Kiffin should be too busy to mess with players switching jerseys but he was behind all that. The guy is a total douche’ and you might as well face up to what everyone else knows. USC is probably only the third best team in their DIVISION, much less the conference. Pre-season #1 my ass!

  24. papabush88 says: Nov 8, 2012 1:18 PM


    The fact that you find joy in the failures of a team obviously means that you have a hidden jealousy. USC is probably the most hated program in the country…even before the Kiffins arrived. The NFL named USC the best football factory of all time. Yes, this year probably didn’t turn out the way USC wanted it to. That’s for damn sure. However, at least the PAC 12 has proven they are an incredible conference. Superbly competitive.

    Respect for Monte Kiffin? He’s the worst coach at USC. Lane is in charge of the offense. He had same talent that Pete Carroll had and Lane is still putting up points on the board. In fact, his offenses are probably better than most of Pete Carroll’s. Look at the records the Kiffin-led offenses have broken. Monte is in charge of the defense. He’s also getting the same talent that Carroll had. Except Monte’s defenses SUCK!!!! The Tampa 2 is terrible. I guess if you mean you respect Monte because of what he did in the NFL, then I agree. But he’s the worst coach USC has. I mean, we beat Oregon in Eugene last year and they never even led for the entire game. Obviously, USC’s problems are coaching at the defensive coordinator position. I also think Lane needs an OC, but that’s a different issue

  25. givemeglenn says: Nov 8, 2012 1:52 PM

    I was a student manager at a large program in college and I can assure you they know what the balls are supposed to be pumped to as are the players and coaches.

    I might add that each team has their own ball held on their sideline for when their offense comes on the field, and they “toss them around,” and punt and receive them prior to the game during warmups, with players AND Coaches.

    So either the balls were deflated AFTER the team went back into their locker room after warmups and before coming back on the field, which would have happened in plain sight, or they were using deflated balls during their warmups.

    Finally, student managers also receive athletic scholarships (I ended with a full scholarship) so the thought of losing it, as well as knowing their University was already under the microscope with the NCAA and anything else, even something like this, could look really, really bad and it would potentially make him, personally, a Pariah at the University if this event turned out to to add more penalties, I HIGHLY doubt he would have done this without a coach having some direct knowledge, given his permission, or perhaps even made the suggestion or request.

    In other words, I think this kid “took one” for the team…

  26. givemeglenn says: Nov 8, 2012 1:57 PM

    I should have added these guys “knew” the balls were under inflated because they would have felt different than a properly inflated ball; one they would have even been using during practices. It would have been VERY obvious, and someone should have said something right away so the problem could have been resolved right away.

    As far as they knew, the first time they encountered a ball that was under inflated, it may have had a slow leak, and it needed to be re-pumped. However, as soon as they found a second ball that was under inflated, it was one of two things, it was either intentional or they were using a broken gauge, and they needed to get a replacement immediately.

    Neither of these things happened so this tells me this was an intentional act.

  27. onceuponatimeinsports says: Nov 8, 2012 2:03 PM

    If this had happened at Penn St. Joepa would just have looked the other way….

  28. ampatsisahypocrite says: Nov 8, 2012 2:05 PM

    papabush88 says:
    Nov 8, 2012 1:18 PM

    The fact that you find joy in the failures of a team obviously means that you have a hidden jealousy. USC is probably the most hated program in the country

    That may be, but not for the reasons you want it to be. People hate USC not because they win (or else Alabama would be nationally despised) but because of their sheer, naked corruption. Whether it’s Reggie Bush, capitalizing on Sandusky’s actions, or Kiffin’s many dirty tricks,
    people see through the facade. And smell the stink. YOU want to think it’s the old “you’re just jealous of our winning,” but that of course is a convenient fantasy.

    USC = where even the ball boys cheat.

  29. loadofwashmother says: Nov 8, 2012 2:10 PM

    Come on man! The center knew, the qb knew, the Rb knew, the receivers knew and everyone knew! Seriously very simple one of them would have complained but they didn’t because they knew
    We are talking about USCheaters !
    Talking about USC ! Feel like going on a rant like allen iverson about practice!

  30. papabush88 says: Nov 8, 2012 2:17 PM

    Alabama is nationally despised. Notre Dame too. Programs like these are hated everywhere. I’ve seen more places call him Nick Satan than I’ve seen Nick Saban. People are just jealous of Saban and Alabama. Reggie took money from a non-USC affiliated agent. USC did not cheat. There was an entire investigation and the NCAA concluded that USC had no idea Reggie was doing this. You can blow out of proportion the student manager incident but you will look ridiculous doing it. Besides, Reggie was an afterthought for the 2004 team. That team was dominant without him. I remember 2002-2009 very vividly. People hated USC before the Reggie scandal even broke. Don’t try and pull a fast one on me. Even growing up in the 90s, people hated USC and USC wasn’t even good then. USC is the Darth Vader of CFB. That’s ok…Darth sold the most lunchboxes

  31. houndofthebaskervols says: Nov 8, 2012 2:50 PM

    As a Tennessee fan, all I can say is….. Bwaahahahahahahahahahahahaha. This is some of the best free entertainment in all of sports.

    And Dear Papabush aka. Lil Pissy Whiner {LPW}, speaking for the SEC, which unfortunately for you is the only opinion that matters, we don’t “despise” Alabama, and I don’t know anybody that hates USC. Why should we? Kiffin… well he’s a different matter altogether, but nobody had an issue with Pete Carroll or his teams I can assure you.

  32. papabush88 says: Nov 8, 2012 2:59 PM


    Real mature. You’ve resorted to name-calling.

    It’s not just other SEC teams that hate Saban…I’ve heard a lot of hate from several people about people hating Alabama. I don’t quite know how you are telling me that what I experienced back in the Carroll days didn’t happen. I clearly remember it. I was always defending Carroll haters which I never understood. Carroll was such a likeable guy, unlike Kiff. But anti-USC people HATED Carroll. How are you speaking for the entire SEC? Did you go to the University of the SEC? I’ve heard LSU fans ON THIS WEBSITE call Saban, Nick Satan. And call him many other things like a cheater who holds the football program higher than anything else. So, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I respect Saban, but that’s because I’m a USC fan. And when you are a fan of a powerful program, you may not like other powerful programs (ND, Alabama) but you resepct them.

  33. papabush88 says: Nov 8, 2012 3:00 PM

    defending Carroll from* haters

  34. thekatman says: Nov 8, 2012 3:01 PM

    Hey papabush.. why are you bothering trying to have an intelligent and thoughtful discussion with these losers? It was determined that the balls were not in play during the game.

    Haters will hate, that’s just their nature. They’e got nothing else better to do with their lives than hate people, places, things, events, programs, whatever… that they care to hate. These folks are just jealous and actually quite insignificant in their lives, hence the hatred of USC. Hecjk, they probably hate their job, their wife, their girlfriend, boyfriend combo…

    Hell, even Larry scott hates SC, hence the lousy quality of the Pac-12 referees. Their penalty calls would never be allowed in the SEC. and their non-calls calls against USC opponents speaks for itself.

    USC just has to play significantly better than anyone other team in order to keep the refs out of the game, to where they can’t interfere by calling useless penalties against USC or not calling penalties against the other teams.
    Yes, Kiffin needs a true OC on the team, so he can manage the game better, and his dad has to gracefully retire..after the season.

    Hey haters out there…. USC 56 UCLA 21 coming to The Rose Bowl near you next weekend.

  35. th56 says: Nov 8, 2012 3:37 PM

    Cal faking injuries, Stanford not cutting the grass, USC doctoring the ball. It’s getting comical the things teams are resorting to to get an advantage on Oregon. I wonder what the next thing will be?

  36. thekatman says: Nov 8, 2012 3:56 PM

    Oh please, kid. It’s not about Oregon.
    Oregon is certainly beatable, no doubt about it.
    They have a system that they run very well, but it is not complicated, just confusing, and that’s what makes it tough to defend against, but any good offense can kick it. USC put more points on the board than any team has done since the Ducks became a better opponent.

    The offense is phenominal, but it is 6 plays designed for 3 options.

    The defense, well they’re not as good on defense as their offense is on offense. The issue is to put up more points than their offense….. USC did beat Oregon last yea, and actually had the oppty to do it again this year, but 3 USC turnovers gave the game away, in addition to poor Pac-12 officiating. Not making excuses for USCs; blunders, but we have to take the outcome of the game away from the refs. Congrats on a great win, but hey….. it ain’t all about Ducks in the Pac-12. See you on Nov 30th.

  37. daubs17 says: Nov 8, 2012 4:53 PM

    Gee I wonder who’s really behind this? An assistant/ball boy who stands to gain zero from doing this? Or the USC football program, who stand to lose football games and $$$?

    When Lane Kiffin is involved, you have to assume where theres smoke, theres fire. Not that its obvious that the ball boy was instructed to do this anyhow.

  38. jimbo75025 says: Nov 8, 2012 5:27 PM


    To the contrary. While I was not a rabid USC fan previously, I did indeed watch most of their games and actually owned quite a few pieces of memorabilia. Yes, I do believe USC somewhat got a raw deal with the whole Reggie Bush thing, but the straw that broke the camels back for me was the hiring of Lane (if you ain’t cheatin’ , you ain’t tryin’ ) Kiffen. To have the arrogance to be under NCAA scrutiny and still make that hire? Just rubbed me the wrong way shall we say.

    In terms of my respect for Monte Kiffen, I have the ability to distance the recent on field performance of ones charges from the whole of a man. Monte had always seemed to be quite a classy guy in addition to being one of those old school guys who would sooner chew off his own arm rather than allow positive offensive yardage during a game. The apple certainly seems to have fallen quite far from the tree in this case.

  39. cometkazie says: Nov 8, 2012 5:30 PM

    givemeglenn says:
    Nov 8, 2012 1:57 PM

    I appreciate your insight, gmg. Thanks for posting.

    I am just waiting for Deb to give us her thoughts on this.

  40. houndofthebaskervols says: Nov 8, 2012 7:25 PM

    At papabush, calling you a whiner is not name calling, its a statement of fact.

    And yes I do speak for the whole league. I have degrees from UT and Vandy. My kids graduated from Auburn, my dad graduated from Alabama, my brother went to Florida, and my wife is a South Carolina grad. So yes, I speak for everybody. LOL

    Quit yer whining, nobody hates USC east of the MI Crooked Letter, we just dont like Kiffin. So stop being such a crybaby. “Oooooh oooooh, you guys are so mean. Waaaaahhhhh.”

  41. pricecube says: Nov 8, 2012 7:32 PM

    Lane Kiffin is attempting to employ plausible deniability. Unfortunately for him it is entirely implausible that a student manager would do such a thing completely of their own volition. It also fits a pattern of not only bending but going a step too far and breaking the rules.

    I cannot believe USC hired this ass clown when they were just coming through the Reggie Bush scandal. Stupid. The only thing good I can say about Kiffin is that he recruits like hell. Speaking of which… given his penchant for cheating… it makes one wonder what he and Ogeron are doing.

  42. thekatman says: Nov 8, 2012 9:48 PM

    You SC haters are spending way too much energy on this. Why not focus on how the presidential election was stolen from the American people.

    This more important than some dumb-ass kid, on schollie even, screwing around with the balls. For all we know Oregon paid him handsomely to do it, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he attends anther school in January, in the SEC.

  43. cometkazie says: Nov 8, 2012 10:11 PM

    houndofthebaskervols says:
    Nov 8, 2012 7:25 PM
    At papabush, calling you a whiner is not name calling, its a statement of fact.

    And yes I do speak for the whole league. I have degrees from UT and Vandy. My kids graduated from Auburn, my dad graduated from Alabama, my brother went to Florida, and my wife is a South Carolina grad. So yes, I speak for everybody. LOL

    And don’t say anything bad about the SEC at family reunions, right?

    Y’all have a great tradition going. Congratulations!

  44. houndofthebaskervols says: Nov 9, 2012 1:09 AM

    At Communistkazie

    “Dont say anything bad about the SEC at family reunions right?”

    LOL I don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about. Why would I say anything bad about the league? But LSU and Georgia are fair game.

  45. frank booth says: Nov 9, 2012 3:41 AM

    I don’t understand why USC fans think that everyone is jealous of and hates USC. It may be the case that a lot of people on the West Coast hate USC, but as far as the Midwest and other parts of the country go, I just don’t see it. There are a lot of other successful programs that garner more attention than USC.

    As Lane Kiffin goes, he’s a scumbag and is worthy of the ire. It’s perfectly logical to think that he was aware of what was going on with the footballs.

    I don’t hate USC, but I don’t really like them, but it’s really more because of an arrogant fandom and their coach. Matt Barkley is the beneficiary of two great wide receivers who rack up huge yards after the catch. We had to listen to their big mouth fans on these boards tell us how USC was going to crush everyone this year, so of course it’s fun to see them whining now.

  46. norcalirish says: Nov 9, 2012 7:41 AM



    usc is a JOKE!!!!

    Go Irish Go

  47. cranespy says: Nov 9, 2012 8:38 AM

    Lame Kitten will do or say anything. Give him two years max…..he will implode at USC!

  48. cometkazie says: Nov 9, 2012 9:09 AM

    houndofthebaskervols says:
    Nov 9, 2012 1:09 AM
    LOL I don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about. Why would I say anything bad about the league? But LSU and Georgia are fair game.

    LSU and UGa along with the Mississippi schools are the only ones you don’t have kin from

    I guess if the Miss. schools were relevant, they would be fair game, too. 😉

  49. dexterismyhero says: Nov 9, 2012 1:10 PM

    They fired the kid.

    He is delivering pizzas now.

    In a BRAND NEW BMW!!!!!!


  50. maverick2560 says: Nov 10, 2012 9:00 AM

    In the past former USC students who had an ability for such trickery moved on and worked on the Richard Nixon reelection campaign
    (CREEP). Once there they noy only continued to pull campaign dirty tricks and learned to coverup illegal activity. I wonder if the Republican Party is looking for help.

  51. frank booth says: Nov 10, 2012 3:42 PM

    Maybe the USC students out of liberal California are now working for the Democratic Party, helping to cover up things such as the Benghazi debacle.

  52. papabush88 says: Nov 10, 2012 8:35 PM

    Frank booth

    California may be liberal but USC sure as hell isn’t. Trust me. People that vote for Obama obviously don’t care about keeping their well earned money and therefore cannot afford tuition at USC.

  53. clemsonstillsucks says: Nov 11, 2012 12:32 AM


    The best part – he had to go to the Oregon sideline to find someone to show him how to do it.

    I reckon when you need advice – go to the professionals…

  54. kozbee says: Nov 12, 2012 11:19 PM

    LOL Kiffin does it again,always looking for a way to win when he cant.Kiffin has more air in his azz then in his footballs.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!