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Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair loses defamation lawsuit vs. NCAA

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By a vote of 9-3, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair has lost his defamation lawsuit against the NCAA. Following six days of deliberation, the verdict brings to a close the Reggie Bush scandal that began more than a decade ago, a scandal that saw the Trojans lose their 2004 BCS national championship and Bush be stripped of his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

McNair sued the NCAA after it found him guilty of unethical conduct while Bush received impermissible benefits. He was given a 1-year show-cause penalty, and has not worked since his contract expired in the summer of 2010.

McNair sought $27 million in damages from the NCAA.

McNair’s attorney Bruce Broilett told ESPN his team was “very disappointed … disappointed in the result. Assessing the situation and considering our next steps.”

USC starting CB Jack Jones to miss 2018 season

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USC cornerback Jack Jones will sit out the entire 2018 season according to multiple reports over the past 24 hours. As first reported by Adam Maya of Rivals, Jones will be forced to miss the upcoming college football season due to being ruled academically ineligible.

The Los Angeles Times follows up with confirmation from a USC spokesperson to say Jones will miss the season, although the reason was not confirmed. However, Jones was already known to have sit out of the spring practice schedule to focus on academics.

Jones started 13 games for USC last season, so his loss is more than just a mild ding to the depth chart. However, USC also returns Iman Marshall and Marvell Tate this season to help provide some stability in the secondary. Marshall is already set to be one starter for the Trojans, but the program will need to find a new starter to place on top of the depth chart. The absence of Jones will allow USC to develop and provide opportunities for other players on the roster looking to step up and play a role in USC’s defense.

Jones had 40 tackles and four interceptions for USC last season. Jones also had a handful of special teams opportunities with four punt returns for an average of 12 yards per return and three kickoff returns averaging 15 yards per return.

Trial begins for suspended USC receiver Joseph Lewis in domestic violence case

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The Los Angeles County Superior Court is quickly becoming a must-stop for the cardinal and gold — and not in a good way for USC.

Suspended Trojans receiver Joseph Lewis IV began his trial at the courthouse on Thursday, according to the LA Times. The former five-star recruit faces five misdemeanor charges for inflicting “a corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant” following a pair of domestic violence incidents back in February.

Lewis, who caught four passes in three games last season as a true freshman, was suspended by the team following his arrest and did not go through spring practice as he dealt with the case. He apparently told the Times that he would like to rejoin the team eventually but his status is “in limbo” until the trial is over.

More from the paper:

Lewis, represented by deputy public defender Jennifer Berry, was offered a plea deal by city attorney Chad Salzman that would require 36 months of probation, 60 days in city jail, completion of a yearlong domestic violence class, a protective order with the alleged victim and a 10-year ban on firearm use. Lewis maintained his plea of not guilty. Jury selection will begin Monday afternoon.

Lewis’ trial is the second high-profile case involving USC at the same downtown courthouse as the jury is deliberating former Trojans assistant Todd McNair’s defamation lawsuit against the NCAA.

Tua Tagovailoa confirms he would’ve transferred from Alabama if he hadn’t played in title game

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Love him or loathe him, you have to hand it to Lane Kiffin. He absolutely nailed this one.

A short time after Alabama won the 2017 national championship, with true freshman Tua Tagovailoa riding to the second-half rescue, Kiffin claimed during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show that “people that really know what’s going on would tell you that Tua was leaving” if he hadn’t played against Georgia.  Patrick asked for clarification as to Kiffin’s assertion that the quarterback was set to transfer if he had remained on the sidelines during that game.

“No doubt,” the former Crimson Tide offensive coordinator, who helped recruit the Hawaii native to Tuscaloosa, flatly stated.

Thursday, during an appearance at his old junior high school, Tagovailoa left no doubt that post-title game Kiffin’s claims were absolutely correct.  From HawaiiNewsNow.com:

Even throughout my football season, I wasn’t the starter,” Tagovailoa continued. “I wanted to leave the school. So I told myself if I didn’t play in the last game, which was the national championship game, I would transfer out. If I gave in, I don’t think I would have seen the end blessing of where I am now.

Tagovailoa also confirmed that his frustration with his very limited role during his first season with the Crimson Tide stretched back much further than the title game.  In fact, he acknowledged to the group of students that he had one school in particular in mind if he did leave while also making the astonishing admission that he was looking at that situation as “easier” and not as much of a challenge.

I called my dad and asked him if my offer to the University of Southern California was still available,” Tagovailoa told the crowd of seventh and eighth graders. “I wanted to leave. I told my dad I wanted to go to a school where I thought it’d be easier for me and wouldn’t challenge me so much.”

The former Crusader went on to tell the students that this particular conversation with his father took place early in his time in Tuscaloosa – and that it actually landed him in hot water with his family.

He said his parents told him he had to push through, and he knew they were right.

Given how the national championship game played out, and despite a spring essentially wiped out by injury, Tagovailoa is now widely viewed as the favorite to claim the starting job entering summer camp.  So much so, in fact, that the man who kept him on the sidelines for most of the 2017 season, true junior Jalen Hurts, is now considered a prime candidate for transfer at some point before the 2018 season kicks off.

Report: Alabama will be paid $6 million to play USC in 2020

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There is one big reason why Alabama has taken on so many neutral site games over the years. Money. In 2020, when Alabama opens the season against USC in the Advocare Classic in Arlington, Texas, the Crimson Tide will once again be richly paid.

According to a report from FBSchedules.com, Alabama will be paid $6 million to play USC in Arlington on September 5, 2020 (which was previously reported to be the date locked into the contract). How much USC will be paid for the game was not reported, but you can count on it being a very lucrative check going home with the Trojans.

Alabama will also be designated as the home team, with the TV rights to the game residing with the SEC for either CBS or ABC/ESPN. Alabama also received $6 million to play USC in the 2016 edition of the game, when the Crimson Tide steamrolled the Trojans by a score of 52-6.

Alabama received a reported $5 million to play in the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta in against Florida State (the Seminoles received the same amount). Alabama has received between $4.7 million and $6.4 million for other neutral site games in recent years as well. Alabama will also be paid $4.5 million for opening the season in Orlando against Louisville this fall.

As much as Alabama has profited from playing in neutral site games under Nick Saban, the scheduling priorities for Alabama appear to be shifting more toward home-and-home arrangements in the future. A home-and-home deal with Texas was just announced this week, and the Crimson Tide will be lining up a home-and-home with Notre Dame a few years after that. That is not to say Alabama will be done with neutral site games, because there will always be money in the banana stand that is a good neutral site game.