Former Los Angeles Times sportswriter and USC running back Lonnie White admits to accepting $14,000 in different forms of “benefits” during his Trojan playing career.
White came clean in article for The Daily:
My money source was season tickets. Every scholarship player was given four home game tickets and the option to purchase an additional four.
These tickets often sold for more than face value and that’s how I ended up alone in the parking lot waiting for a brown bag drop off.
By then, I was a senior who had learned this side of college football from my brother and his classmates.
It must be noted that all this went on without the coaches’ knowledge. That seems hard to believe. It is true, though. At major programs, the pressure to win and the time commitment the coaches put forth toward the program itself leaves major opportunities for players to interact with people who have a different agenda.
For example, my senior year I had a strong game at Washington State, scoring a touchdown and building up solid kickoff return yardage that left me ranked in the top 10 nationally.
The following week, a fledgling agent began to wine and dine me, because he felt I was a sleeper NFL prospect.
He would give gifts – sneakers, sweatsuits – and paid household bills. He would also pass along cash, not major money but “get-around” money.
He ended up dropping me, wouldn’t return calls and, instead, wound up representing my former roommate, Ron Brown, a late-round pick by the San Diego Chargers.
After a short stint with the New Orleans Saints, White traded his football cleats for a pad and a pen. Along with his time at the LA Times, White is also the author of UCLA vs. USC: 75 Years of the Greatest Rivalry in Sports.