The never-ending sports cycle that is USC athletics is back for another fall semester — a period of time that never seems to lack excitement.Football, of course, takes the cake. You may remember a year ago — not more than a week into the semester — when a horde of news trucks and cameras swarmed the practice field after head coach Steve Sarkisian went rogue at the annual Salute of Troy event.The scandal followed the team for much of the season, as Sarkisian took a leave of absence and was promptly fired after his problems with alcohol came to light. They lost to Stanford and Washington at home and to Notre Dame on the road (where then-Athletic Director Pat Haden collapsed on the sideline). And yet, a team mired in controversy and negative attention — seemingly bound for a lost season — won five of its final six games and ended up four quarters away from an improbable trip to the Rose Bowl.But the Trojans were literally run out of Levi’s Stadium by Christian McCaffrey and Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game and their season ended with a loss to Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl, a game that was just as bitter as the cold winter night at Qualcomm Stadium.Assuming they make it past Salute to Troy on Aug. 19 without incident, the Trojans will already be in better shape than they were last year entering the season. But — unexpected controversy aside — criticism could still be quick to rain down on the No. 17 ranked team in the nation in the preseason coaches’ poll.There will be a new quarterback — either the redshirt junior Max Browne or unexpected challenger redshirt freshman Sam Darnold — and whomever is chosen will be thrown into the fire quickly. The man who picks him will be Clay Helton, entering his first full season at the helm, feted with a long-term contract and a plate full of expectations to restore USC football to national prominence.For a rookie head coach with an unproven quarterback, an easy schedule to begin the season would be beneficial — maybe games against Arkansas State or Fresno State. Um, how about facing Alabama, Stanford and Utah in three of their first four games, all away from the Coliseum?The task ahead is daunting, but it wouldn’t be Trojan football without it. The program is no stranger to adversity in recent years, from the crippling sanctions to the Lane Kiffin era to the Sarkisian fiasco.This year, it’s a story that could end in any number of ways, and it will be under a new Athletic Director in Lynn Swann. Much like Helton will seek to calm the waters on the sidelines, Swann will look to provide stability at the top after Haden’s up-and-down tenure.Fair or unfair, athletic directors at USC are ultimately judged by the accomplishments of the football team, but Swann could extend a positive first impression if other fall sports succeed as well.He has some good cards to play right away. Men’s water polo is a perennial lock to make the NCAA title match, and the legendary Jovan Vavic and new co-head coach Marko Pintaric will be hungry to avenge last season’s championship defeat to UCLA. Women’s volleyball is also a national powerhouse, going 33-3 last season and appearing in the NCAA Regional Championship match for the fifth time in six years. Women’s soccer is a program on the rise. Fresh off a deep postseason run, the Women of Troy will return most of their starters and are projected to finish second in the Pac-12 in the preseason coaches’ poll.But, like it or not, those three programs could each have unbeaten seasons and it wouldn’t mitigate the backlash that would come with a mediocre football campaign. The buck stops (and starts) with Helton and who he picks to be his quarterback. And when kickoff happens against defending national champion Alabama — as someone once wrote in a book — let the games begin, and may the odds be ever in their favor. Eric He is a sophomore majoring in print and digital journalism. He is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Grinding Gears,” will run Fridays.
YGAM launches Parent Hub education service July 22, 2020 GVC – YGAM’s Parent Hub is a vital tool for honest and open conversations August 4, 2020 Submit Share YGAM calls for diverse perspectives on regulatory change August 3, 2020 Share Related Articles StumbleUpon The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has praised YGAM for developing its ‘ParentHub’ website, labelling the service as a ‘vital resource’ for parents educating children on the risks and harms of problem gambling.The RSPH stated that the education of adults and younger audiences has played a fundamental role in establishing the core objectives of its subsidiary Gambling Health Alliance (GHA) launched in 2019.The objective of the Alliance is to bring together organisations and individuals who have a shared interest in reducing the damage caused to health and wellbeing from problem gambling – in which YGAM is noted as a key contributor making fundamental progress.YGAM’s ParentHub is recognised as a vital education resource for parents understanding and controlling the risk of their children engaging in digital experiences such as loot box purchases. Research from the Children’s Commissioner has suggested that 93% of children play video games, while UK Gambling Commission research has shown there are 55,000 11-16 years olds classified as problem gamblers in England, Scotland and Wales. Duncan Stephenson, Chair of the GHA and Deputy Chief Executive of RSPH said: “Most children and young people have instant access to a largely ‘wild west’ digital world and this can include exposure to gambling. Even gaming, a pastime which is a fun and positive experience for many young people is now crammed with gambling-like features.“We, therefore, welcome the new YGAM Parent Hub as a vitally important and much-needed resource to help parents better understand some of the issues around gambling within gaming, and to support families to maximise the positives of gaming and mitigate the negatives.” Further YGAM education directives have seen the charity collaborate with research departments from Newcastle and Loughborough Universities to help parents and carers understand the latest digital gaming products accessible to children such as loot boxes.Amanda Atkinson, Head of Parental Engagement at YGAM said: “In many households, we find that parents have limited knowledge of what games their children are playing online. “Our new website answers many of the questions that parents have and will provide them with the tools to make informed decisions for their children. As schools break up for the summer holidays and many places remain closed, children will be spending more time online so the launch of our ‘Parent Hub’ website has never been more important.”