As noted by Sports Illustrated, Southern California's 86-year-old all-male "Yell Leaders" squad is being replaced by "Team Trojan," which will consist of 14 men and women whose goal is to fire up the crowd.
No word yet whether Pete Caroll will be invited to join Team Trojan. (Photograph from Rakes of Mallow.)
A few points bear making here.
First of all, this exercise in political correctness at the expense of a longstanding practice ought to be as superfluous as it is silly. U.S.C.'s associate vice president for student affairs, Lori White, claims that the change occurred because they "noticed that at other universities they seemed to have more people cheering for the team."
In the last three years, the Trojans have won two national titles and played for a third. If that isn't enough to make Southern California fans root for their team, what is?
Secondly, if you're going to tinker around with a few of the more historic aspects of your game day experience, at least admit what you're doing. The school's assistant dean and executive director of student life and involvement, Patrick Bailey, was appointed to chair the Spirit Advisory Task Force . . . and he talks exactly like you would expect someone associated with such titles as "executive director of student life and involvement" and "Spirit Advisory Task Force" to talk, using the disingenuous euphemisms of agenda-laden academic jargon.
Says Dean Bailey, presumably with a straight face:
I get the feeling that Dean Bailey's job description involves sneaking out after dark and painting the following message on the side of the barn:
It suffices to say that anyone who believes that evolution, previously thought to be an organic process, is actually produced by university task force directives has an interesting take on natural selection.
Finally, and most importantly, did anyone even know U.S.C. had Yell Leaders in the first place? Be honest, now . . . when you hear the words "Yell Leaders," you think of Texas A&M, don't you?
If someone was troubled by the notion of an all-male spirit squad at Troy, the solution was simple enough: abolish it. To hear Vice President White tell it, no one would have noticed, anyway.
You want to get female students involved in firing up a Southern California crowd? Try this:
Problem solved, without political correctness rearing its ugly head.