O.J. Simpson not allowed at USC practice, other school functions – Orange County Register

LOS ANGELES — Fifteen years ago, O.J. Simpson dropped by a USC football practice in Miami, where the team was preparing to play Iowa in the Orange Bowl.

Simpson, a running back who became the school’s second Heisman Trophy winner in 1968, later met with players.

“He’s a legend,” then-coach Pete Carroll told reporters. “At ‘SC, our guys hold a Heisman Trophy winner in high regard.”

A similar situation, in theory, could unfold this year.

Simpson, 70, last week was granted parole in Nevada after serving nearly nine years following a conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping. He will be released as early as October, though there are conditions for his parole that could restrict where he can travel.

At Pac-12 media days on Thursday, USC coach Clay Helton was asked how he would handle such a dilemma.

“What do you do,” asked a reporter, “if O.J. walks into your office and says, ‘I wanna watch practice?’”

Helton laughed.

“I’m cordial to every person that I’ve ever met,” he said.

After the question was repeated, Helton clarified his position: Simpson would not be welcome.

“Currently, right now, what the USC administration and athletic department has said is, ‘No, O.J. will not be a part of our functions or invited,’” Helton said. “That’s been the statement by the university.”

An athletic department spokesman reiterated the position, established by the university in the wake of Simpson’s parole last week.

In 1995, Simpson was infamously acquitted by a Los Angeles jury of murder charges for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, a restaurant waiter.

Simpson’s No. 32 jersey is still retired at the Coliseum. His Heisman Trophy is on display in Heritage Hall.

When Simpson attended the Orange Bowl practice in 2002, it was for the first time since his acquittal.

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