USC’s decision to deny medical clearance to defensive lineman Armond Armstead has caused a ripple effect that could adversely affect the Trojans for the next five years.
Armstead’s brother Arik, a 6-foot-8, 275-pound lineman regarded as one of the top prospects in the class of 2012, made a commitment to USC last year but recently de-committed and this weekend will take a recruiting visit to Notre Dame, which plays host to USC on Saturday night.
During a telephone interview Monday, Arik Armstead, who attends Pleasant Grove High in Elk Grove, Calif., near Sacramento, said USC’s handling of his brother’s situation contributed to his decision.
“Those events have definitely affected our family and I’ll just leave it at that,” he said.
Armond, a 6-5, 290-pound senior defensive lineman, was briefly hospitalized last spring after experiencing chest pain. Though he said he does not have a heart condition, he was not allowed to participate in spring workouts or training camp while awaiting results from a battery of tests.
Armond also sought opinions from doctors outside of USC. “The only thing I can say is they have looked for every condition that is possible and all of them have come back negative,” he said last month.
But USC did not clear him, and Coach Lane Kiffin announced after USC’s third game that Armstead would redshirt this season.
If Arik chooses another college, it would hurt the Trojans on two fronts because he also was planning to play for the Trojans basketball team.
“He wanted to look at things from a different perspective and see some other places,” said Gus Armstead, the brothers’ father. “There has been some disappointment with the way things have been handled with our family the last six months.”
Kiffin could not comment because NCAA rules forbid coaches from talking about specific recruits.
Arik also is scheduled to attend Alabama’s Nov. 5 game against Louisiana State. He said USC was not out of the mix.
“I love the coaches,” he said.
Despite a downturn in attendance that has continued this season, USC’s football program last year increased revenue and athletic department revenue dipped only slightly, according to a report that must be filed annually with the U.S. Department of Education as part of Title IX compliance.
USC finished 8-5 last season and was ineligible for a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions.
USC’s football expenses were reduced $1.4 million from the year before to $19.4 million. The program generated revenue of $31.1 million, an increase of about $2.1 million that is mainly the result of playing Notre Dame at home.
USC balanced its athletic budget, reporting total expenses and revenue of $75.7 million for the period covering July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. That is a dip of about $41,000 from the previous year.
Athletic department revenue from sources such as support groups, donations and endowment income fell about $2.8 million to $38.6 million.