Report: USC is denying NFL teams permission to interview Kliff Kingsbury

USC is not too keen on the idea of new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury heading to the NFL.

Accordingto a report from ESPN, USC has denied the New York Jets and the Arizona Cardinals the opportunity to interview Kingsbury. The former Texas Tech head coach was fired by the Red Raiders at the end of the 2018 season and was hired by USC to be the team’s offensive coordinator not long after he was dismissed in Lubbock.

Because of his offensive acumen and the fact that he coached Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (and Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield before he transferred to Oklahoma), Kingsbury has been wanted for interviews by NFL teams with head-coach openings. But athletic directors are allowed to deny NFL teams permission to interview their coaches and, per Adam Schefter, NFL teams have been told to respect those requests or face consequences.

At last month’s NFL owners meetings in Dallas, league officials informed team executives that they now had to request permission from college athletic directors to interview college coaches. Not doing so would be considered “conduct detrimental” and the NFL then could dock draft picks from teams, sources said.

“If permission is denied, the NFL club should respect that decision just as it would respect a similar decision from another NFL club,” the rule states in part. “NFL clubs that fail to follow these protocols may be subject to disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the League.”

Kingsbury was hired 10 days after he was fired

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported earlier in the week that the Cardinals and Jets were looking to interview Kingsbury. If they could, of course. They apparently cannot.

This wrinkle leads to a big question: Why did he sign with USC so soon if the Trojans were going to deny him from interviewing with NFL teams for head coaching jobs?

NFL coaches fired after 2018 regular season
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NFL coaches fired after 2018 regular season

Todd Bowles, New York Jets

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos

(Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals

(Photo by Carlos Herrera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Kingsbury was fired at Texas Tech on Nov. 25 and was immediately connected with NFL assistant jobs after the news broke of his dismissal. Robinson said on this week’s Yahoo Sports NFL podcast that Kingsbury had a dialogue with multiple NFL teams after he was fired.

Yet Kingsbury signed on as USC’s offensive coordinator 10 days after he was fired at Tech. Robinson also noted on the podcast that he believed Kingsbury made the decision to sign with the Trojans so soon because he didn’t want to be an offensive coordinator in the NFL under a coach who could be under pressure to succeed or lose his job.

But, as we know, there’s a difference between being an offensive coordinator for a team that’s looking for a change on one side of the ball and the head coach in charge of an entire team.

Kingsbury went 35-40 in his time at Texas Tech and the Red Raiders were 5-7 in 2018.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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