The NCAA did something right and will give a long-time USC fan a chance to live out a dream few ever thought possible. Jake Olson, a walk-on center at USC without the ability to see as a result of cancer, has been granted an approval from the NCAA to be able to play for the Trojans. Olson announced the news on his Twitter account late Monday night.
Back in 2009, USC and former head coach Pete Carroll took Olson in as a member of the Trojan family. Although Carroll had since left the Trojans for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Olson did what he needed to do to become an official member of the USC football program. He chose to walk-on to the team this year, although he needed an NCAA waiver to be approved before he could play on the field. As a recipient of the Swim With Mike scholarship (awarded annually from the Physically Challenged Athletes Scholarship fund at USC), Olson would count toward USC’s 85 scholarship players. You can thank the NCAA bylaws for that technicality, but fortunately somebody in the NCAA offices had half a brain to realize they should not be standing in the way under this circumstance.
The waiver filed by USC sought to not have Olson count against the 85-scholarship limit and instead recognize Olson as a non-scholarship walk-on. With the NCAA issues settled, the world awaits the first snap Olson will take for the Trojans. Olson has been a long snapper in high school and it is believed that will be the most likely position or playing opportunity he will have without the ability to see the defense lining up across from him.