Is USC Sending Out Mixed Messages On Bru McCoy, Tennessee Eligibility Ordeal?

The USC, Tennessee and Bru McCoy eligibility ordeal has taken center stage in Knoxville over the past few months. After releasing a statement to OutKick in regards to the matter on Saturday morning, the USC athletic department decided to release that same statement Sunday evening on social media.

I’ve seen a lot of things covering college football over the past decade, but an athletic department publicly putting themselves into the fray over a former player is a new one. The football program could’ve just let the statement to OutKick or any other outlet that asked questions make their case, but due to overwhelming reactions on social media, they decided to post it to their official Twitter account.


Two things are at play here. The athletic department said they had no problem with McCoy being immediately eligible. Here is the same statement, which they decided to post on Twitter at 8:47 p.m. ET on Sunday night.

“USC has – consistently with NCAA rules – promptly and accurately responded to all requests from the University of Tennessee related to the eligibility of Bru McCoy. At no point since Bru entered the transfer portal in January have we objected to him being made immediately eligible to play at Tennessee. The issue of Bru’s eligibility ultimately rests with the NCAA, and we wish him the very best.”

The ongoing saga regarding the eligibility status of Tennessee wide receiver Bru McCoy continues
USC wide receiver Bru McCoy (4) warms up before the spring game at Los Angeles Coliseum on April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

So, they are basically saying that they stand behind the NCAA in whatever decision they make regarding McCoy and that they’ve been nothing but helpful to Tennessee regarding this matter. According to multiple sources, this hasn’t entirely been the case, with many believing USC has been dragging its feet regarding the matter.

According to sources, there were two routes this situation could have gone:

  • USC could have signed off on a No Participation Opportunity Form to allow McCoy to be eligible immediately, or…
  • If USC didn’t sign off, Tennessee would need to file a waiver with the NCAA, with cooperation from the USC program, a process UT has already started.

OutKick reached out to USC for further comment regarding the athletic administration signing the NPO form and allowing McCoy to be immediately eligible. OutKick specifically asked if the AD had any intention of signing the form.

In their response to OutKick, the school said that they had nothing else to add regarding the situation,  ‘Beyond the statement I provided you yesterday’.

If USC had any type of problem signing the document I would understand, because there are lawyers involved in this. It should be noted that the ‘NPO’ form contains clauses that could pertain to USC’s initial holdup of signing, if that’s how they interpret the form. Also, the school could easily get it out to the public in someway that this is one of the reasons why they haven’t signed the form.

But slow-playing the ordeal has made this a bigger ordeal clearly, with the school having to post the statement on Twitter. It looks like this tactic could pay off for them if the NCAA declares McCoy eligible.

Now, I didn’t think the program would come out and tell me that they would sign the paper, but then going on social media around 8:30 ET on a Sunday night shows that the school is tired of getting tagged on social platforms and that other people have reached out regarding the matter.

Again, I have never seen a school release a statement on a public platform about a student-athlete who is currently attending a different school or regarding a case like the one we are seeing.

The USC administration is hoping that the NCAA will take care of the matter this week and they can then say that they complied with the waiver process and come out of this unscathed.

This is fine, if that’s how they’ve decided to play this game. But make no mistake about it, USC most assuredly felt relieved when Tennessee filed a waiver with the NCAA.


Speaking with multiple compliance officials this past weekend, it’s clear that they would rather not have to deal with situations like this, so signing off on a player transferring is the easy route to take.

Two officials made it clear that having to deal with these types of situations that play out in the public is not good for their school’s brand, so making it go away quickly is the smart play.

We’ll see what comes of this waiver involving Bru McCoy this week, now that USC has started to comply in a more timely manner. These types of cases should not be lingering with the season set to begin in just under a week. Eight months is enough time to determine if a player should be deemed eligible or not.

OutKick 360: Bru McCoy Eligibility Madness

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Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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