Lynn Swann was hired as USC’s athletic director in 2016, replacing long-time AD Pat Haden and one of his chief tasks was to help bring the Trojans football team, for which he starred in the 70s, back to prominence.
Swann was an All-American wide receiver and national champion at USC, who won a Super Bowl during his Hall of Fame career and later went on to be a well-known broadcaster. His return to USC was supposed to bring with it success, but over his three-plus years at the helm, the Trojans have struggled on and off the field.
The most notable issue for USC hasn’t been the football team’s struggles, but rather their involvement in the massive college admissions bribery scandal in which wealthy parents paid large sums of money to various coaches and members of athletic departments at prominent schools to help get their kids into school through athletic programs. It hasn’t helped that the football team is coming off a missed bowl season under Clay Helton, and despite a massive win over Stanford on Saturday, it was announced on Monday that Swann was resigning. Swann initially said he wouldn’t resign due to the scandal back in March.
Lynn Swann has resigned as #USC athletic director, according to USC president Carol Folt
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) September 9, 2019
It’s a fairly stunning move considering Swann’s status as a legendary USC athlete, and while there have been rumblings that Swann’s tenure could come to an end soon — particularly if USC football failed to make a bowl again — it happening now is a surprise. USC will seek out a new athletic director and that likely means barring an incredible run, Helton will be replaced by a new AD who will want to bring in his own guy as the head coach of the biggest moneymaker for the program.
Beyond that, though, a new AD will have to reset the culture of USC athletics in the wake of the scholarship scandal, but make no mistake, the success of the football team is first and foremost the thing that determines whether an AD at USC is considered a success or not.