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Rose Bowl says no deal, for now

Times Staff Writer

Rose Bowl officials declined Thursday to offer a lease to USC, instead recommending that USC first attempt to work out its differences with the Coliseum Commission.

After meeting in closed session at the Pasadena stadium, the Rose Bowl Operating Company board announced that it would take no action on USC’s two-year lease proposal, but left open the possibility of revisiting the issue.

Bill Thomson, president of the RBOC said, “it is clear that everybody hopes for a successful resolution of the impasse between USC and the Coliseum Commission.” He added that any agreement with USC would be subject to approval by UCLA, which has a lease as the Rose Bowl’s primary college football tenant through 2023.

“If USC and UCLA can work something out, they’ll come back and talk to us, I’m sure, and we’ll give consideration to it at that time,” Thomson said.

The Coliseum Commission has pledged to work out its decade-long rent negotiation with the state quickly and then move on to a long-term lease with USC, perhaps even before the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl game between USC and Illinois.

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Kristina E. Raspe, USC’s associate senior vice president for real estate and asset management, said before Thursday’s meeting that the school was, “cautiously optimistic,” about a commission proposal, “but we’ve been waiting for some time for that happen and if the Rose Bowl is able to give us a lease, we’re prepared to sign it.”

During remarks to the board before it adjourned to closed session, she said, “We clearly recognize that the Rose Bowl is the home facility for Bruin football and understand that there will be very strong emotional reaction about having USC also play here next season. We understand that UCLA will always have priority in this facility and we are respectful of that relationship.”

After the meeting, Raspe said USC would present its lease proposal to UCLA in the next week.

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USC’s Fred Davis won the John Mackey Award, presented annually to the nation’s top tight end.

Davis, a senior from Toledo, Ohio, leads the Trojans with 55 receptions for 764 yards and seven touchdown catches. He is the first USC player to win the award.

In other postseason honors, USC offensive tackle Sam Baker and nose tackle Sedrick Ellis were announced as members of the Walter Camp All-American team. Davis was not selected to the first or second teams.

USC linebacker Keith Rivers made the second team.

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gary.klein@latimes.com


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