As a long-time sports journalist, Lonnie White was charged with covering his alma mater USC and cross-town rival UCLA at various points in his career for the Los Angeles Times.
As a reporter, one of your major duties is to police programs that might commit NCAA violations.
It turns out when White played for USC in the 1980s he says he accepted $14,000 in illegal money and gifts from boosters. White, who worked for the Times from 1987 to 2008, said in a first-person story for the online publication The Daily that he was often given money in exchange for tickets and signed memorabilia throughout his four-year career.
White played receiver and special teams player for the Trojans, first under John Robinson and then later under Ted Tollner from 1982-1986.
White’s admission comes as stories arise about players accepting illegal benefits at such prominent schools as his alma mater, Ohio State and Oregon.
"To this day, it's something I'm ashamed about," White wrote. "Rent was overdue, and my household bills were delinquent. I needed the money to live. So accepting the $14,000 in different forms of 'benefits' over my college years three decades ago was an act of survival."
White wrote of how he first got introduced to accepting money illegally when accompanying his older brother, Tim, who was also a USC football player. White was sure to point out in his piece that the illegal money he and other players received took place without the knowledge of the coaches.
“That seems hard to believe. It is true, though,” White wrote. “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.”
(Photo: Donald Miralle /Allsport)
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