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Feeling sorry for USC
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As most know, Utah and USC are dealing with injuries as they head into Saturday's game. Here is a story by the Los Angeles Times that looks at how NCAA sanctions and a reduction of scholarships have affected the Trojans. Interestingly enough, there is another brief in which a senior associate athletic director explains away USC's 53 percent graduation rate for its football team - which ranked just 11th in the Pac-12 - because so many players turned pro and left school before completing their degrees. The rates are based on the 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 classes, when 21 players went to the NFL. According to USC, the Trojans had three players leave early in 2009 (receiver Damian Williams, defensive end Everson Griffen and tailback Joe McKnight), two leave in 2010 (offensive lineman Tyron Smith and defensive tackle Jurrell Casey), two go in 2011 (offensive lineman Matt Kalil and defensive end Nick Perry) and two in 2012 (receiver Robert Woods and corner Nickell Robey). Makes me wonder which USC we are supposed to feel sorry for, the one that is suffering from NCAA sanctions or the one that brags on its website about being called a "football factory" and can't keep it's most talented players in school for four years? Injuries might have hurt the team's depth, but so too has the attrition of talented players, which might have forced younger, more inexperienced players to play earlier than the coaches would really want them to do so. - Lya Wodraska

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