Lynn Swann, hired by the USC Trojans three years ago to run an athletic department all too familiar with the scandal, says she won't resign in front of something more.
Swann, speaking to the Los Angeles Times about the bribery case at the university where a senior athletic director, water polo coach and former soccer coach were indicted and then fired from school, said they were veteran athletes who "they had seen bad things done and knew better."
"I think everyone was blinded by this," Swann said in the Times interview. "The fact that he was a senior staff member and also our male and female head water polo coach … These are people who have been here for a long time and people who had been here during difficult times and had seen bad things done and knew better. Everyone was completely shocked, caught off guard and taken by surprise. "
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Swann, 67, a Pro Football Hall of Fame and former Trojan receiver, was hired by the USC in April 2016 to succeed sports director Pat Haden.
Swann said that in the future a person will not have the same responsibility as senior administrators like the woman fired Donna Heinel.
"We will work with the university to implement the best system," said Swann. "We will work with the administration, the shelters, the sports administrators, the recruiters and the scouts, so there are more eyes on this. Going forward when a list of names is presented, the coach sees it, the recruiter he sees it, the administrator sees it and others see it so we know that these are real student-athletes that we are trying to get.
"Whether you are a favorite walk-on in football or someone else, we need to know that they are real student-athletes. One of the first things I did after reading the affidavit was called Katharine Harrington, vice president of admissions and planning at USC, and I apologized to her: the admissions department had no idea what was happening, had no idea and why should they?
Swann was among more than 200 candidates considered for the position before his hire. He had no experience in high-level collegiate athletic administration, but was the third former USC football player to take the place.
A four-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers who played for the Trojans and was selected with the 21st overall pick of the NFL draft in 1974, Swann said he will not leave the pitch.
"I did not consider resigning, I am busy at this school and I am engaged in this work," Swann said. "This was an opportunity that presented itself to me: I never came out looking for this job, but this is a job for which I feel prepared. Everything I do at USC, I have already done for someone else capital, sitting on boards of directors, chairman of the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, president of the Presidential Council on Sports Fitness and Nutrition. "
Swann won a USC national championship in 1972, when the Trojans went 12-0. Swann graduated from university with a degree in public relations. He is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
"I've done a lot of things in my life that have given me experience of entering this position," Swann told the Los Angeles Times. "I felt like it was a great opportunity. Do I want to do it forever? No. I'd like to do it for 10 years. In Latin America they look to the mandate of a CEO and say 10 years is right.
"We have a great school and that's why these people did what they did to try and get their kids into this school."
The Associated Press information has been used in this report.