Did Lynn Swann ban USC Song Girls over ‘Fire Helton’ chants?
Lynn Swann continues to get on the bad side of USC fans, and his latest act will only fray the relationship further.
Swann, the Trojans’ athletic director, has blocked the famous USC Song Girls from performing at USC home basketball games for the rest of the season. The Los Angeles Times reported the news on Friday, saying Swann put the order into effect in late November.
Instead of the Song Girls, a dance group called the Trojan Dance Force performs at basketball games.
When pressed for a reason for the decision, a former Song Girls captain (as well as The Times) received the following statement from USC:
“Due to ongoing game management concerns, time constraints and space issues at the Galen Center, the USC Song Girls will not perform at the remaining men’s and women’s basketball games for the 2018-19 season.
“USC Athletics and the Division of Student Affairs jointly made the decision after trying various options over multiple years to accommodate both the Song Girls and the Trojan Dance Force, which was established in 1994 to support USC basketball, at the arena.”
So their reason is that there isn’t enough room for both groups to perform. But many people are not buying that answer and are wondering why he cut the team so abruptly.
The Daily News’ Scott Wolf wrote on Twitter that some Song Girls alumni believe Swann banned them after being told some of the current members joined in on a “Fire Helton” chant at USC’s football game against Notre Dame in November.
There has been a lot of chatter among alumni that Lynn Swann banned the song girls from basketball games after being told some joined "Fire Helton" chants at Notre Dame game #USC https://t.co/CSm9k3tPxh
— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) January 19, 2019
Note that reporter Shotgun Spratling said during the game that some Song Girls had joined in on the chant.
A "Fire Helton" chant just broke out from the student section and was joined by a couple of the #USC Song Girls.
— Shotgun Spratling (@ShotgunSpr) November 25, 2018
USC lost that game 24-17 and finished 5-7 last season — their worst finish since 2000. The timeline of the Song Girls joining in on the chant on Nov. 24 and being blocked from performing at basketball games a week later seems to sync up.
Swann has already shown defiance towards the fans by retaining Helton. Blocking the Song Girls from basketball games will upset fans further.