Talking football here, even in the down time -- if there is any -- any more.
But we can't say it enough. USC is never away from the news, which is a good thing for us -- and on this day the news comes courtesy of USA TODAY and their checking university tax filings for the salaries of coaches and AD's here.
Which gives us our jumping off point as we wonder how it's been that two programs that have been joined at the hip since the mid-1920s, two top 25 academic institutions, two private schools with football traditions arguably second to none, now seem to be headed in different directions when it comes to athletic pay scales. We're "just sayin' " that's how it looks to us.
*** Otherwise, how do you explain that in the last year USC's tax filing was available, 2013, a year Lane Kiffin didn't make it halfway through, he was paid $3.4 million when you add it all up while ND's Brian Kelly, coming off a trip to the BCS championship game was getting a base salary of just under $1 million -- and that was after a $300,000 raise -- that paid him $1.2 million with his bonus -- although he is permitted outside and not reported income. We know the cost of living in LA is a good bit higher than in South Bend but yikes . . . Just Sayin'.
*** But the difference doesn't stop there. Hoops is almost as bad. Former USC coach Kevin O'Neill likewise didn't make it through the 2013-14 season but still earned a cool $1,437,500 base salary and another $100,000 in bonus pay that all added up to a final tab of $1.6 million. Who says USC doesn't support hoops here? . . . Just Sayin'.
*** But Notre Dame was paying longtime and well-respected coach Mike Brey less than $1 million although he did pick up another $720,000 from an outside marketing firm, USA TODAY says . . . Just Sayin'.
*** What about the AD's, you ask. No contest. USC's Pat Haden got $2.5 million in total compensation that included a $900,000 bonus, the most pay USA TODAY could find for any AD in the nation while Notre Dame's Jack Swarbick earned a mere $1.3 million and Ohio State AD Gene Smith was just bumped up to $1.5 million for this year . . . Just Sayin'.
*** And then there's this. While everyone thought the deal that pays fired Irish football coach Charlie Weis $2.1 million a year for . . . ever, it seems, USC still one-upped that number with the combined severance pay that reached $2.2 million for Kiffin and O'Neill, which would be more than the cost of two years of the new full-food underwriting for USC athletes . . . Just Sayin'.
*** If there's any good news here, it could be that with all that severance pay, the $1.8 million in housing loans for Lane after having been given $2 million originally by USC might be able to be paid off -- although that's not in the tax filing, USA TODAY reports. Our thought mght be how does a person getting a couple of million a year need a housing loan? Can't you go to a bank for one of those? . . . Just Askin'.
*** Another Matt Cassel maybe. With the sudden retirement last week of former Washington State quarterback Conner Halliday after signing with the Washington Redskins, USC walkon and recent grad Anthony Neyer earned a spot as one of two quarterbacks -- with Georgia's Hutson Mason -- at the Redskins minicamp last week and got a little story documenting his unlikely journey from Palm Desert to D.C. in The Washington Post . . . Just Sayin'.
*** So how important is California -- specifically Southern California -- to the rest of the Pac-12? This important: Utah just released the list of a half-dozen satellite camps the Ute football coaches will work this summer and four of them will be in Cali with three right here (Long Beach, Rancho Cucamonga, Bakersfield and Sacramento). The other two will be in Texas (Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston) . . . Just Sayin'.
*** Nice to see the Pac-12 move so quickly here. It was four years ago at Football Media Day that we got Commissioner Larry Scott aside and shared our idea -- for USC's benefit at the time -- of a regular season game in Asia -- Hong Kong or Shanghai we were thinking -- that would replace USC's postseason bowl game lost to NCAA sanctions. Scott said they'd work on the idea but not right then in his first year. Well, now we see a season-opening basketball game between Washington and Texas next year in China and a possible bowl game in Australia. After only four years . . . Just Sayin'.
*** With two former USC coaches -- Tim Drevno and John Baxter -- joining Jim Harbaugh at Michgan, we were wondering if either might be involved in last week's self-reported four secondary recruiting violations. And it turned out, one was. But it's about as innocuous as you could imagine: Harbaugh and two of his assistants including Baxter were at a hockey game and allowed "a prospective student-athlete to sit in a premium seating area with the coaches" during the game. If USC had a hockey team this sounds like something they'd be charged with . . . Just Sayin'.
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