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Time for Clay to fly away!

$13,433 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 250 people in 7 months
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Created November 20, 2018
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THE LA TIMES HAS DECIDED NOT TO RUN THE AD AFTER APPROVING IT AND CHARGING MY CREDIT CARD. IF YOU WOULD LIKE A REFUND, PLEASE LET ME KNOW WITHIN SEVEN BUSINESS DAYS BY SENDING A MESSAGE. Please remember though that we have already spent $2000 for the plane and pledged another $2475 to United Way of Greater Los Angeles Disaster Relief (and we will give any further excess to them). It appears we can give partial refunds!

I AM ATTACHING SCREEN CAPS TO ADD FURTHER CLARITY TO WHAT OCCURRED IN UPDATE #11. THERE ARE MORE BUT I CAN ONLY ADD THREE.
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My name is Bri and I love USC football (all the way from Texas!) and have for over 20 years. After having a conversation with other concerned fans, we decided to start this Gofundme page. I am the administrator but I am part of a much larger movement of people who love USC and want it to return to excellence.

As was stated on this page initially when it was set up, we are raising money for a plane to fly over the LA Memorial Coliseum to express our displeasure with Head Coach Clay Helton (which already flew and has been paid for via my personal credit card! Thanks everyone!), placing and advertisement in the Los Angeles Times (also to be paid via my personal credit card) to express our displeasure, and finally to make a donation on behalf of this group to the United Way of Greater Los Angeles Disaster Relief Fund (also paid by via my credit card).

(Yes, Gofundme asked us to add this information but it was probably a good idea anyway.)

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Initially, this page was only intended for a small group of USC alumni and fans who were fed up with the ineptitude of the USC athletic department after credible rumors from multiple sources started swirling Monday night that it was the university’s intention to retain Clay Helton regardless of the outcome of this week’s game against Notre Dame. Since this page was initially intended for a small audience of like-minded people, we have not offered much explanation for why we are doing what we are doing here, as it was known to those for whom the page was initially intended. However, this little movement that started with a few disgruntled alumni and fans venting has taken on a life of its own and gotten a lot more attention than any of us anticipated. So, as media and national attention continues to grow about this effort and people are coming to this page to try to understand what is going on, we have decided to give a more robust explanation of why we are going to these lengths.


We want to start by saying that the motive behind this is NOT to publicly humiliate Clay Helton. It is not intended to be personal, mean spirited, or vengeful on any level nor are we angry at him personally, though we can see where it would look that way. It is solely intended to get the USC administration's attention. If we thought there was any other way, we would not resort to this. (I mean, a plane is pretty of over the top, right?) But after years of being ignored, we have realized that something this brash, “classless”, and, quite frankly, un-USC is probably the only thing that will even have a chance of penetrating the barrier between USC alumni and fans and the administration to let them know that, if this really is the decision, we do not approve.

Let us be very clear: Many of us view Clay Helton as something of a victim in this situation. As was stated on this page before, the vast majority of us think he is a good man who has tried his absolute best and that he has the capability of a good coach someday. The problem is, it is becoming increasingly clear this job is just too big for him at this point in his career and that, by retaining him, we are setting him up to fail. We feel it’s better for everyone-including him-that he is let go now and able to move on to a position where he can be successful. For those Trojans who are worried about humiliating Helton (and yes, if anything is giving us heartburn about doing this, it is that), ask yourselves this: “What is worse? An airplane flying around for a few hours that he probably won’t even see and an ad in a newspaper, or coaching in a mostly empty Coliseum in front of 20,000 angry, booing fans every week next year?” Those are in all likelihood the options. They both suck. But one is a lot worse for everyone, including Clay Helton.


We are aware that part of the issue with letting him go is that he won the Rose Bowl in 2016 and a PAC 12 title last year. We are grateful to him for those accomplishments and do not intend to downplay their significance or the part he played. Many of us regard the 2016 Rose Bowl as one of our favorite moments as fans. However, in both years the team also had significant issues (despite winning a lot of games) that the rest of the country that didn’t watch USC weekly most likely didn’t see. The country did, however, see humiliating blowout losses on national television both of those years (one of them to a rival), even with a generational talent playing quarterback. 

These things could have been forgiven by many in the Trojan Family had a real attempt been made to fix what was broken this off season. We would even contend that people would have been a lot more forgiving of this season’s results-even if they were exactly the same- had that happened. Helton had the opportunity to address the issues that have plagued the team during his tenure this off season by making the staff and philosophical changes that so obviously and desperately needed to be made. However, he did not make any changes until late this season when nothing was on the line, the season had already been wasted, and after the fans sat through game after game of watching the same exact problems we had seen the previous two seasons. It was too little too late and it stands to reason that as a result of that inaction, USC is now on the verge of its worst season since 1999 and only fourth losing season since 1962. 


But what is even more disturbing is the rash of off the field issues, personal foul penalties in game (32 games in a row!), and other signs of a general lack of discipline on the team. 


The word “stability” is getting thrown around a lot by the punditry but this doesn’t look like “stability” to a lot of us.


For  many of us, this is the last straw after ten years of what we feel were bad hires and otherwise bad decisions. (Kiffin, Sarkisian, not retaining Ed Orgeron, not fighting the NCAA, not taking the fans into account with the Coliseum remodel, etc.) We don’t know if this will work, but no matter how it may look, we all love USC and feel we have to try because our student athletes (the people this is really all about) are good kids who deserve the absolute best staff possible, and 99% of the college football world seems to realize that this staff is not it, even if we like them personally. They also deserve more loyalty from all of us than their coach. They are, after all, our fellow Trojans and they are the real reason we are doing this.

We owe it to them.

Fight On.
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FINAL UPDATE:

We finally got through the refund period and got the funds and we are proud to announce that we just donated $11,000 to the United Way of Greater Los Angeles Disaster Relief Fund on behalf of $100 Donors for Change! (Heh. And honorable mention to the person who suggested Tim Tessalone Is A Disaster Relief Fund.)

Even though this was an incredibly frustrating situation, it was very gratifying to make the donation and knowing something positive will come from a negative situation. Thank you so much to everyone for keeping their money in the pot. Other than one large refund, I had several people approach me about getting their money back but once I explained where it was going everyone kept their money in the pot. So thank you! This will help a lot of families in Southern California get back on their feet.

In terms of what happens next, it has been suggested to file a formal ethics complaint with the ombudsman of the LAT. It is being seriously considered. We would urge any of you who still have subscriptions to cancel them at a minimum.

A couple of people ask why we didn’t move forward with another publication. In case anyone is still wondering, beyond the Register for example being a regional paper without the same national cache, this was around the time the Kingsbury rumors were really heating up so we knew it was a very real possibility that the ad would run at around the same time Kingsbury was announced. And, it turns out we were bang on the money because the ad literally would have run the same exact day his hiring was announced. So not only would we have looked like idiots, it was too late for the board to do anything once a hire like this was made. Unfortunately, it had to run sooner but the LAT slow walked it.

The good news is I have it on good authority from multiple people that we got the attention we wanted from the athletic department. So, even though the ad didn’t run, it actually did what it was intended to do-let the athletic department know we are fed up with their continuously poor decision making.

Here is the ad and the receipt for the donation. (The donation amount is what was left over after the plane was paid for and refunds were granted.) The file can’t be uploaded, so the ad is being posted as two screen caps.

Thanks again, everyone.

Fight On.
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Apparently I was left a voicemail at about 5:30 from my contact at the LA Times saying he was informed that they would not be moving forward and was given no explanation and that my credit card would be refunded immediately. He has been very professional throughout this and I don’t think this was his decision.
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AFTER FINALLY APPROVING THE AD TO RUN AFTER SEVERAL DAYS OF REQUESTING CHANGES AND CHARGING MY CREDIT CARD, THE LA TIMES SENT AN EMAIL THIS AFTERNOON SAYING THEY WOULD NO LONGER RUN THE AD WITHOUT OFFERING AN EXPLANATION.

AT THIS POINT, WE ARE OFFERING REFUNDS. PLEASE REMEMBER $2000 FOR THE PLANE HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID FOR AND WE HAVE PLEDGED AROUND $2475 TO UNITED WAY OF GREATER LOS ANGELES DISASTER RELIEF. PLEASE MESSAGE WITHIN SEVEN BUSINESS DAYS IF YOU WOULD LIKE A REFUND.

We are so sorry for getting people’s hopes up and we are also incredibly disappointed with the LA Times.
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OUR AD WILL APPEAR IN THE LA TIMES SPORTS SECTION ON FRIDAY!

THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED!
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$13,433 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 250 people in 7 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created November 20, 2018
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