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USC hires Lynn Swann to serve as AD


Former USC football player Pat Haden will no longer serve as the school’s Athletic Director. Another former USC football player will.

Via Zach Helfand of the Los Angeles Times, Lynn Swann becomes the school’s new AD on July 1.

Swann became the selection notwithstanding a prior commitment by USC president C.L. Max Nikias to conduct a nationwide search and to consider candidates with no prior ties to USC.

A Hall of Famer who won four Super Bowls with the Steelers, Swann’s post-football career includes little experience that would be directly relevant to serving as the Athletic Director of a major college sports program. He worked in broadcasting for an extended period of time, and in 2006 he ran for governor of Pennsylvania, losing the genera election to Ed Rendell.

Most recently, the Tennessee native served as partial owner of the Pittsburgh Power, an Arena Football League franchise that folded after four seasons.

He’s also 64, which will invite fair questions regarding how long he will choose to remain in the job, and whether he’s a short-term stop-gap as the university considers a longer-term solution.

Regardless of how long Swann holds the job or whether his experiences will be relevant to the position, Swann’s hiring is relevant for a separate reason. As Helfand notes, Swann becomes one of fewer than a dozen African-American athletic directors in major college football, a shameful statistic that the NCAA should be working diligently to change.