AD Removes Them From Trojans Basketball Games
One of the iconic symbols of USC athletics – along with Traveler the horse, Tommy Trojan and the famous band that played with Fleetwood Mac – has been sidelined by Athletic Director Lynn Swann.
The USC Song Girls, who just celebrated their 50th anniversary, have been told they can no longer perform at basketball games. Swann and Student Affairs, which oversees the Song Girls, apparently were unable to find the time or the space at Gaylen Center for the team to perform because the USC Dance Force and a NBA-style DJ occupy much of the entertainment time during games.
And so, the girls with the famous white sweaters, pleated skirts, red shoes and perfectly choreographed routines performed in sync with the band and are the Trojans’ cheerleaders, have been removed from basketball games, which is why the group was formed in the first place. They debuted in 1968.
According to the LA Times, former Song Girls were even denied 50 tickets to the UCLA game because they wanted to gather in their sweaters for a reunion. They were later told they could attend but could not wear their sweaters. The sweaters are the iconic symbol of this iconic group.
Needless to say, there is extreme frustration among current and former members. One Song Girl said it was disappointing they did not know their last performance together was a lightly-attended December basketball game.
Former Song Girl Lauren Chespak, the 2007 captain, wrote a letter to interim school president Wanda Austin that included this powerful word: “Why?”
Hilary Hodgkins, the Song Girls alumni advisor said this to the Times: “I don’t feel I’ve gotten an adequate explanation, and when I ask I get stonewalled,” she said. “I don’t understand it.”
She added: “I’ve been going to USC sports since I was 2 (she is now 56) and it just keeps getting more corporate and more corporate and more corporate and it’s difficult. The university is steeped in tradition and the Song Girls are part of that tradition.”
Removing the Song Girls in favor of an NBA-style DJ is something that Swann should get more heat over than his decision to retain football coach Clay Helton.