Lynn Swann resigns as USC athletic director

Lynn Swann’s time as USC’s athletic director has come to an end.

USC president Carol Folt announced Monday that Swann has resigned from his position and that Dave Roberts, a special advisor for Folt, will be the school’s interim AD until a new hire is made.

Swann’s resignation is effective immediately.

“I am writing to share my sincere appreciation for Lynn Swann, who has decided to resign from his position as the Director of Athletics effective today. Lynn has been a leader on and off the field at USC for nearly five decades, and he will forever be a valued member of the Trojan family,” Folt wrote in a message addressed to the “Trojan Community.”

“Lynn has led our Athletics Department to five national championships in five different women’s and men’s sports during his tenure. Our student-athletes’ cumulative GPA for the past two years and our graduation rate of 86% last year were all-time highs for USC Athletics. We appreciate Lynn’s leadership of the department over these past three years and will continue to be grateful for his historic contributions to USC.”

Folt, whose first day on the job was July 1, has assembled a committee to conduct a national search for Swann’s replacement. The school’s last three athletic directors — Swann, Haden and Mike Garrett — played football for the Trojans.

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New USC president Carol Folt
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New USC president Carol Folt
FILE - This May 11, 2015 file photo shows Carol L. Folt, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, at the announcement of a partnership with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to accelerate the search for an HIV cure. The University of Southern California has announced a new president to usher in "a new era." The university said Wednesday, March 20, 2019 that Carol Folt will become the university's 12th president. The announcement comes a week after news broke of a massive college bribery scandal involving USC and other universities across the country. (Christine T. Nguyen/The Herald-Sun via AP, File)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - AUGUST 30: Chancellor Carol Folt poses for a selfie with North Carolina Tar Heels fans during their game against the Liberty Flames at Kenan Stadium on August 30, 2014 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, left, talks with talks with UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham during a press conference where Kenneth Wainstein presented his report from his investigation into academic fraud at UNC on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images)
Carol Folt Chancellor of North Carolina cuts down the net after the North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs to win the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 3, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt addresses members of the media regarding an investigation into academic irregularities at the University during a press conference following a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 20: North Carolina Tar Heel Phil Ford (center) awarded the Trailblazers Award by chancellor Carol Folt (R) during a game against the Miami Hurricanes on February 20, 2016 at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 96-71. (Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images)
University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol Folt enters a conference room during a break in an NCAA hearing Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. It has taken more than two years for North Carolina to appear before an NCAA infractions committee panel since initially being charged with five top-level violations amid its long-running academic scandal. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - FEBRUARY 22: UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt speaks during a memorial service for former North Carolina Tar Heels basketball coach Dean Smith of the at the Dean Smith Center on February 22, 2015 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
FILE - In this Oct. 22, 2014 file photo, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt listens during a special joint meeting of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees in Chapel Hill, N.C. The University of Southern California has announced a new president to usher in "a new era." The university said Wednesday, March 20, 2019 that Folt will become the university's 12th president. The announcement comes a week after news broke of a massive college bribery scandal involving USC and other universities across the country. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
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Swann’s tenure plagued by scandals

Swann played football for the Trojans in the 1970’s before a Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite having no significant experience in collegiate athletic administration, Swann succeeded Pat Haden as the school’s athletic director in 2016 but his tenure has been full of on-field failures and off-field scandals.

Last year, Swann made the surprising decision to keep USC football coach Clay Helton after the Trojans went 5-7 — the program’s first losing season since 2000. Before that, he gave Helton a lucrative contract extension through the 2023 season.

Things got worse this year when Swann’s athletic department became entrenched in a massive college admissions scandal that saw USC executive athletics administrator Donna Heinel allegedly take more than $1 million in bribes and several other USC coaches, all of whom were fired, charged with racketeering. On top of that, USC assistant men’s basketball coach Tony Bland was arrested in the federal college basketball corruption investigation and the program could face NCAA sanctions.

As noted by Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, Swann’s departure has been an expected outcome.

What does this mean for Clay Helton?

Helton, whose job status was already tenuous, could be on even shakier ground if USC’s next AD wants to hire his or her own head football coach — as most AD’s do.

USC is 2-0 to open the 2019 season despite losing starting quarterback J.T. Daniels to a season-ending knee injury. In his place, true freshman Kedon Slovis led the Trojans to an impressive 45-20 victory over No. 23 Stanford on Saturday night.

Next, USC travels to BYU before facing No. 11 Utah, No. 23 Washington and No. 7 Notre Dame. Both the Washington and Notre Dame games are on the road, but the Trojans have a bye week in between.

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