NCAA Digest

Times announced for USC Spring football practice

USC football spring practice times have been set for 7:25 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10:30 a.m. Saturdays, according to the athletic department.

Historically, practice times have typically been mid-to-late afternoon, around 4:00 p.m.

Spring practice begins March 22 and continues through the annual spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, scheduled for April 23 at 1 p.m.

The Trojans are coming off an 8-5 campaign and a third place finish in the Pac-10 during Lane Kiffin’s first season as USC’s coach.

Because its appeal of NCAA sanctions is still pending, it is unknown if USC will eligible to compete in a bowl game next season.

USC was barred from participating in the postseason in 2010.

— Joey Kaufman

Trojan football players found in police report

Seven USC football players were found to have police records, according to a recent report released by Sports Illustrated and CBS News.

The story, published on, was the result of a six-month investigation that involved criminal background checks on players listed on the rosters of every 2010 preseason top-25 team.

“Our coaches use a variety of methods to look into a recruit’s background, including those mentioned in the story,” said USC Athletic Director Pat Haden in a statement published in the Los Angeles Times. “On a case-by-case basis, if we feel it necessary, we’ll do a formalized background check.”

According to the report, seven percent of the 2,837 players had either been charged or cited for a crime.

Some players had been arrested multiple times. Of the 277 uncovered incidents, 40 percent were found to be for “serious” offenses.

“The story does raise some good issues,” Haden added. “We need to discuss internally if doing formal background checks becomes something that is factored in for the future here. It is certainly worth exploring.”

Pittsburgh finished atop the list with 22 players charged, while USC had the same number of players charged as three other schools: Florida, Ohio State and Oregon, which was 11th on SI’s list.

Race, however, was not a factor, according to the findings, as 48 percent of the players were black and 44.5 percent were white.

“[It is] a set of facts that obviously should concern all of us,” new NCAA president Mark Emmert told SI. “Seven percent, that’s way too high. I think two percent is too high. You certainly don’t want a large number of people with criminal backgrounds involved in activities that represent the NCAA.”

Of the 277 incidents in which a player was charged and an outcome to the case was made available, the individual was found guilty or paid some penalty  60 percent of the time.

— Joey Kaufman

Cynthia cooper to be recognized

The No. 44 jersey Cynthia Cooper wore during her time at USC will be retired this Sunday at the USC-Washington women’s basketball game, scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.

Cooper will become the third USC women’s basketball player ever to have her jersey retired, joining Cheryl Miller and Lisa Leslie.

Now known as Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, the former USC standout is currently the head coach at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Cooper-Dyke holds several records at USC. She is the No. 9 all-time scorer, No. 3 all-time in steals and No. 7 all-time in games played and assists.

During her four-year career at USC, she helped lead the team to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1983 and 1984.

Cooper-Dyke was also a 1982 WBCA Freshman All-American and a 1986 All-Pac-10 first-team selection.

In the WNBA, she averaged 21 points per game and nearly five assists per game. In her time with the Houston Comets, she helped lead the team to four consecutive WNBA titles from 1997 to 2000.

In April 2010, she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — one of only 13 women players to be given that honor.

— Maheen Sahoo