If you want an example of how financial considerations can determine Clay Helton's future, something small happened this week that says a lot about what is going on around the athletic dept.
An athletic dept. source put it more bluntly yesterday in a text message: "USC is being cheap."
USC announced its new radio basketball play-by-play announcer was Jordan Moore, who previously was the analyst.
Most schools, including UCLA, go out and hire an actual radio announcer with experience at other schools. USC's goal is to be cheap.
USC simply elevated Moore, who already works in the athletic dept. and might not even get paid much more for this radio job.
And there is no indication USC will have an analyst. The last legitimate analyst was former player Brandon Granville, who did not get along with play-by-play partner Chris Fisher and lasted only one season.
USC's also been "cheap" when it hired coaches recently in other sports, whether going to Portland University to get its volleyball coach; Division III Williams College to hire a women's tennis coach or merely promoting an assistant to replace women's golf coach Andrea Gaston.
Baseball coach Dan Hubbs was brought back this season because athletic director Lynn Swann did not want to pay off the final year of his contract.
I've heard travel expenses are being cut for coaches too.
So maybe Helton will not be fired because USC cannot afford it.
Meanwhile, it's not the best look for USC.
"I believe strongly in the future of the USC men’s basketball program under the direction of head coach Andy Enﬁeld," Moore said.
That is a strange statement. He is broadcasting the games. Who cares what he believes?
Listeners want to hear him describe the games, which he should do fine. But they don't want him to bow down to the coach. It might affect Moore's objectivity or prevent him from saying what is really happening during a broadcast.
USC's basketball will scrimmage San Jose State on Oct. 20 and San Diego State on Oct. 27. Both scrimmages are at the Galen Center and closed to the public.