Ex-USC player: Ed Orgeron berated me for going to class instead of practice

Submitted by Marley Nowell on June 20th, 2013 at 3:10 PM
Bob DeMars, who played for USC from 1997-2001, said Orgeron called him a “motherf*****” for leaving practice early once a week to attend a required class
“He M-F’d me all over the place,” says DeMars. “He made me feel like a bad person for going to class.”
Orgeron’s treatment of players was just one example of a larger emphasis on athletics over academics, according to DeMars. Upon arriving at USC, DeMars hoped to major in the university’s distinguished cinema program, but many required classes conflicted with football workouts, so the school wouldn’t allow it. Instead, DeMars opted for a business major, but he was disappointed his own path wasn’t encouraged.


I'm glad we never have to worry about a story like this ever happening at Michigan.


Zone Left

June 20th, 2013 at 3:20 PM ^

You're naive if you think athletes aren't steered into less demanding majors at every school everywhere.

Orgeron just doesn't have a filter between his mouth and his brain. A tactful coach would have applied playing time pressure or given him a low-level, high frequency guilt trip about hurting the team by forgoing practice time.


June 20th, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

Can't always have your cake and eat it, too, I guess.

In this case, "cake" is a spot on the football team and "eating" is being a film major. Yup, you can't always play football and eat film school.

M Go Snacks

June 20th, 2013 at 4:06 PM ^

I'm not sure what people's' perception of a film program are, but the SAC major at U of M was pretty demanding if you wanted to do well academically. You had to learn a huge scope of film history, internatioinal cinemas, techniques, theory, etc., and use a ton of critical thinking skill. We also had to write a ton of three page papers... Papers where you've written 5-6 pages, and it seems impossible to make your argument more succinct. I also did screenwriting, which double my workload. 

Anyway, not saying it's tough like engineering or something (cause it definitelty is not), but I could see it being tougher at times than the B school coursework (judging from my B school friends and working there as an undergrad). I imagine that at USC, which has a very respected film program, the requirements can be pretty tough. 


EDIT: Man, totally forgot about the screenings. Those killed your week. I had upwards of 9 hours of screenings a week at times. 


June 20th, 2013 at 3:24 PM ^

A coach upset that a player is missing practice.....shocking.

When my son was in 7th grade travel soccer his coach advised a teammate that if he also played lacrosse (practices and games on different days) then he wouldn't get into any games.


June 20th, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

If you go to the TIME article linked in the SI piece (HERE), you can get a little more of the story and where DeMars is going with this anecdote, it seems. 

"Now, he’s using his skills to try to change the college sports culture in which coaches like Orgeron thrive. DeMars is seeking Kickstarter funding for a new film questioning the direction of college sports, called “The Business of Amateurs.” Nineteen days into the film’s 35-day funding period, DeMars has raised nearly $18,000 toward a $30,000 goal. "

In the time time since USC, DeMars has gotten into filmaking. He actually produced one for Independent Lens on PBS called "Adjust Your Color: The Story Of Petey Green" that won the Audience Award in 2009. From the sound of it, DeMars is in favor of allowing student athletes to do what Olympians do in the way of getting scholarships as well as marketing their image. 


June 20th, 2013 at 3:36 PM ^

Was out in LA recently and heard Petros Papadakis (USC running back who was there at the same time) talking about this story on his radio show.  He pointed out that all the cinema classes at SC are in the afternoon, basically exactly when football practice is scheduled.  You literally could not do both (and this guy was getting a free ride to do one).  He mentioned a friend from the baseball team who had the same issue with the architecture school at SC (department's classes were all in the afternoon).  That guy majored in English (for free), then went to grad school to become an architect afterwards. 

He also mentioned that SC practices were completely open to the public at the time (no longer the case post-sanctions), so if any horrendous shit was really going on (rather than just some colorful language) there would have been plenty of people around to complain about it. 

Also, kind of weird to bring this shit up publicly a decade after it happened.  Sounds like a guy with an agenda.


June 20th, 2013 at 3:54 PM ^

Not easy to be a student athlete.  Just pointing out that you can't complain about the gig when the gig itself is what prevents you from doing what you want to do.  If he really wanted to major in film at USC, he could have gained admittance to that department on his own (not easy) and paid the $100,000+ everyone else has to do.  If you get a scholarship to play football and you can't play football and major in film at the same time (as was the case here), accepting the deal and then bitching about the school's attitude is just silly, unless he was blatantly mislead somewhere along the way.


June 21st, 2013 at 3:08 AM ^

Fully agree. Whether it's the coaches, or the upperclassmen on the team, this should have been made clear ahead of time. As an engineering major who played D1 ball, labs could conflict with practice which was a hassle.

Fortunately, I didn't have a coach react like this, but the issue was explained and it's one if the reasons athlete's typically get priority in scheduling classes.


June 20th, 2013 at 3:38 PM ^

I'm sure this makes me juvenile, but I just can't get over how unfortunate the phrasing "He MF'ed me all over the place" is.

Wee-Bey Brice

June 20th, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

"OMG I can't believe a school that's most well known for it's football program, which is currently under heavy sanctions, would encourage football over academia!!" -- Said no one ever.


June 20th, 2013 at 4:45 PM ^

I'm surprised.  Bob's senior year was Pete Carroll's first year as head coach.  Surely Carroll gave him a car to get to class on time.  Or was it just the incoming recruits he gave cars to? 


June 20th, 2013 at 5:20 PM ^

Are you kidding me? This type of shit happens at Michigan all the time.

Talk with some of the former athletes and they'll tell you they weren't allowed to pursue certain majors or were steered in the direction of general studies. Sad as it is, this type of thing is par for the course in major college athletics.

snarling wolverine

June 20th, 2013 at 7:00 PM ^

Talk with some of the former athletes and they'll tell you they weren't allowed to pursue certain majors or were steered in the direction of general studies. Sad as it is, this type of thing is par for the course in major college athletics.

This isn't necessarily as sad as it sounds. Most students in General Studies have a de facto concentration. They're not just taking a random assortment of classes. What the BGS program does is allow them to avoid some pre-reqs that might be difficult to fit into their schedule. That's why a lot of football players (who have four hours of practice a day during the week) are in BGS. It's not that easy to follow a traditional plan of study when practice is from 2-6 every day and you need to get there early to get dressed, taped up, etc. 

And of course, it probably goes without saying that to most employers, it's the degree, not the concentration, that matters most.



June 20th, 2013 at 9:40 PM ^

Of a few stories from Coach O at Ole Miss and some are down right scary and loony. This guy is a great recruiter but has a screw loose. I coached a kid for years since he was young and he received a scholly from Ole Miss. He was a starter etc so he worked his way to Freshman to starter.

One story was after they got there ass kicked in a game on the road. He straight went Youngblood on them and made them go back to the locker room and get into full pads and had a 3 hour practice of just straight heads up hitting. He told me that O went into the locker room and suited up and went heads up w the whole fucking D and did the Hawk Drill. ( bull in the middle) to show them that they are pussies etc:

There were so many kids that transferred because of injury or missed major major time because of injury, this is one of the main reasons O is gone. Besides losses of course. He is a fucking nut job and literally hurt these young kids. I will stop there as I think you get the point. But there are others that will blow your mind!