And now we know a heck of a lot more of the rest of the story.
In late August, shortly before the season opener, Clay Helton announced that starting strong safety Bubba Bolden would be sidelined indefinitely because of what was described only as a vague “personal matter.” Bolden has not played a down for the Trojans this season, and on Monday his name was finally removed from the team’s roster.
While program officials have declined to discuss Bolden’s situation publicly, the player took to Instagram Monday night to explain that, one, he was slapped with a 28-month suspension by USC’s Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) over an off-campus incident earlier this year and, two, because “USC’s Title IX Office declined to even open an investigation,” all of the off-field tumult has led him to withdraw from the university.
From Bolden’s social media post:
The University’s office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards (SJACS) believes that I am responsible for violating the student code of conduct pertaining to underage drinking at an off-campus party back in February 2018 wherein I participated in mutual trash-talking with fellow party-goers. As the vibe at the party turned unfriendly, I left with several friends. Approximately nine days afterward, the party hosts reported feeling threatened by me that night, which sparked a USC SJACS investigation.
After USC’s chief threat assessment officer found me to not be a threat, USC’s Title IX Office declined to even open an investigation. I was not charged with any criminal activity and several party-goers refuted the allegations, SJACS sanctioned me with a 28-month suspension based on the projected graduation date of the party hosts.
While defending himself against the claims made against him, Bolden also apologized for his actions that February night.
“My behavior at the party was not reflective of my character which my family, friends, teammates and many more admire, and for this I am truly sorry,” the defensive back wrote. “At this point, I’m 100% committed to ensuring that the lessons I’ve learned on and off the field will carry me to the next level.”
Bolden was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 safety in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Nevada on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. As a true freshman last season, Bolden appeared in 13 of the Trojans’ 14 games.
Bolden’s issues were merely a part of significant upheaval and turnover at strong safety over the last month or so for the Trojans.
Ykili Ross and Bolden had been battling for the starting job before Ross abruptly left the program and transferred in late August, clearing the path for Bolden to start. After Bolden’s suspension, Isaiah Pola-Mao was elevated to No. 1 on the depth chart. In mid-September, however, Pola underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
On USC’s most recent depth chart, the starting strong safety is listed as Talanoa Hufanga OR C.J. Pollard.