|USC in talks to move football from Coliseum to Rose Bowl|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 28 November 2007 15:01|
A potential lease agreement will be considered at the Dec. 6 meeting of the Rose Bowl Operating Company, USC officials said in a written statement.
USC, which has played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 1923, would have to share the Rose Bowl with its football rival, UCLA, which already plays home games in Pasadena. UCLA's lease runs through 2023.
``Although we have been a faithful tenant of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 80 years, we must now seek other alternatives for the good of our football program and our fans,'' USC administration chief Todd R. Dickey said.
USC has been seeking control of the venue and has offered more than $100 million over 10 years to fund its repair and restoration.
The Coliseum, which has been trying to sell itself as home turf for a potential Los Angeles-based NFL team, has rejected that offer.
The Los Angeles area hasn't had an NFL team since after the 1994 season when the Raiders returned to Oakland and the Anaheim-based Rams moved to St. Louis.
``While I remain committed to bringing a professional team to Los Angeles, it is time to read the scoreboard: the Coliseum is no longer a viable option for the NFL,'' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement.
``The Coliseum is and should remain the home of the USC Trojans. I am committed to seeking a long-term agreement with USC that protects the public interest, preserves jobs and benefits the entire community of south Los Angeles.''
Los Angeles city leaders have said they want to build a new stadium within the historic venue's walls at a cost of $800 million.
The Los Angeles Coliseum Commission has offered the Trojans a two-year lease and was willing to offer a longer stay if the team asks for one, the stadium's general manager Pat Lynch told the Los Angeles Times.
But USC officials said they wanted an agreement that would include improvements to the facility and an operating lease.
Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn said the venue's staff would seek an arrangement with USC officials, as long as UCLA agreed to it.
``If it doesn't work for UCLA, it's not going to work for us,'' he said.
UCLA said in a statement it is willing to review such a proposal, but that protecting the integrity of the school's football program would be its top priority.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said any possible agreement between USC and the Rose Bowl would be for one year and subject to approval by UCLA.
``No long-term arrangement between USC and the Rose Bowl would even be considered by UCLA,'' he said, adding that its in the best interest of college football in Los Angeles for each school to have its own home stadium.