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Southern California bucks trend, will now offer four-year scholarships

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

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We'll see if this becomes a trend, but regardless, Southern California athletic director Pat Haden is making a statement that he hopes will endear potential players to USC.

The school announced Monday that revenue-producing sports -- football, men's and women's basketball -- will start offering four-year scholarships for its players.

The way the system works now: players are on one-year scholarships that are renewed or, in sometimes, not. In the interest of more fairness for student-athletes, the NCAA changed a bylaw in 2011 to allow for multi-year scholarships.

USC's new policy will start on July 1. It wlil apply to all current and future players at the school in those three sports.

"In taking this action, USC hopes to help lead the effort to refocus on student-athlete welfare on and off the field," Haden said via statement.

USC of course hails from the Pac-12, which considers itself the most progressive of the power leagues. Can't help but wonder if a handful of other schools will opt to follow the Trojans' choice here, whether it's in the next year or two.

Now, just because a player is on a four-year scholarship plan doesn't mean cynics will stop thinking coaches can find ways to move players off the team or get them to transfer. But more than anything, it's at least a step toward helping college players receive a little more security and power.

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