The University of Southern California is shifting to a mostly online class schedule this fall. And the season for their elite brand of a football team might be jeopardized by it.
Trojan students woke up this morning to a letter from provost Charles Zukoski that says “10-20 percent of our classes will be conducted in person, on campus.” It was sent now because so many students would be signing leases for off-campus housing near the South Los Angeles campus within the coming days, but final plans won’t be available until July 8th.
Given the continuing safety restrictions and limited densities permissible on campus, our undergraduate students primarily or exclusively will be taking their courses online in the fall term, and on-campus housing and activities will be limited. While not what we hoped, we are now recommending all undergraduates take their courses online, and reconsider living on or close to campus this semester. We are continuing with limited in-person, on-campus activity because we believe we can keep students, researchers, staff, and faculty safe with our low-density plan.
All USC students will also be able to sign up for two free online classes over the summer term to continue to maintain academic progress.
So what does this mean for USC football? It’s probably not a great sign. Most schools are working under the assumption that you can’t have players practicing and playing on-campus if that same campus is shut down for the general student population. To do so would ensure that they’re unsafe. And Heritage Hall, one of the legendary sports performance centers in college athletics, will have to abide by the same rules and regulations as the rest of the campus and state.
If you can’t practice, and you can’t ensure a safe environment for players, you’re not going to be playing games this fall. And that might be the path the Trojans have now committed to with a mostly-online model of college coming this fall.
USC is scheduled to face Alabama on September 5th in Arlington at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.