Todd Marinovich of Southern Cal, widely regarded as one of the nation's finest young passers, has been suspended for the Trojans' game Saturday against Arizona State because he skipped classes.
Trojan coach Larry Smith said he had met with the sophomore quarterback weeks ago after learning that he had missed classes. He said Marinovich had agreed to go to all his classes and that the athletic department would monitor his attendance."This afternoon, we received a report that he missed class last week. So we suspended him," Smith said in a statement released Tuesday evening by the university. "Todd has assured us that he wants to play and be a part of this team and that it won't happen again."
Marinovich, also suspended from practice this week, said in a statement: "We had an agreement that I wouldn't miss class anymore. I didn't uphold that agreement, so I've got to suffer the consequences and be suspended for the week."
Smith said that Marinovich will be allowed to practice and play next week if he attends all his classes.
Marinovich, who has thrown for more than 300 yards in two separate games this fall, had an off day in a 35-26 loss to Arizona last Saturday, completing 18 of 35 for just 174 yards, with three interceptions.
Shane Foley, a senior who has completed 14 of 23 passes for 186 yards this season, will move into the starting role against ASU.
The suspension of Marinovich, the All-Pac-10 quarterback as a freshman last year, was the latest blow for the 21st-ranked Trojans.
The loss to Arizona, the second in conference for Southern Cal, essentially ended the Trojans' hopes of returning to the Rose Bowl for a fourth consecutive year.
At his noon meeting with reporters Tuesday, before he had suspended Marinovich, Smith already was planning to shake up the squad, eliminating job security for the starters.
The starters each Saturday, Smith said, will be the players who perform best during practice.
"We told them (the players) that there are no first, second or third teams now, offensively, defensively or in the kicking game," the coach said.
"We will look at the films of practice this week and choose the starters on Thursday. If a (regular) starter scores higher or even with another player, then he (the regular) will start. If not, he won't."
Smith said he's throwing starting jobs open to improve the Trojans' intensity during practice.