LA Memorial Coliseum Talks at Impasse, Say USC Officials

Nov. 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- ­ The University of Southern California confirmed today that it is seeking a lease agreement with the Rose Bowl Operating Company to host Trojan home football games at the Rose Bowl beginning Fall 2008.

USC is seeking a two-year agreement with the Rose Bowl. The Rose BowlOperating Company is planning to consider the USC lease agreement atthe meeting of December 6 of its Board of Directors.

'Although we have been a faithful tenant of the Los Angeles MemorialColiseum for 80 years, we must now seek other alternatives for the goodof our football program and our fans,' said USC Senior Vice Presidentfor Administration Todd R. Dickey. 'The Coliseum has not benefited from substantive physical upgrades or preventative maintenance for more than ten years because the Commission has focused on attracting an NFL team that would renovate the stadium.'

Dickey said that after several members of the Coliseum Commission requested that USC submit a proposal for a long-term lease, the university earlier this year engaged an outside firm, ISES Corporation, to conduct a thorough review of the condition of the Coliseum. Based on the report, USC offered to fund a minimum of $100 million towards the repair, restoration and substantial upgrade of the Coliseum. That offer was rejected by the Coliseum Commission.

Dickey said that USC would continue to seek a long-term lease agreementwith the Coliseum Commission. 'Playing in a renovated Coliseum wouldbe our first choice,' he said. 'However, the Commission's rejection ofour offer to provide for improvements such as bathroom and concessionupgrades, new seats, new gates, new lights, and a new sound and videosystem, has led to this step.'

USC Director of Athletics Mike Garrett added: 'We want our football program to stay at the Coliseum. But, as we all know, the Coliseum needs significant upgrades to provide fans with the Trojan game experience they deserve. We'll keep working to stay in the Coliseum, but until we have full support from the Coliseum Commission, we're forced to pursue the option of playing in the Rose Bowl.'

USC began playing football in the LA Memorial Coliseum in 1923, playing the inaugural game in the Coliseum against Pomona College [USC 23, Pomona 7]. However, the university's history with the Rose Bowl stretches almost one year longer: USC played the University of California Bears there on October 28, 1922, in the first football game played in that stadium, (California won 12 - 0].

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