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NFL legend Lynn Swann out as USC athletic director

Thomas Barrabi

NFL legend Lynn Swann has resigned from his role as the University of Southern California’s athletic director effective immediately, school president Carol Folt announced on Monday.

Swann is leaving the position just three years after he replaced former athletic director, star quarterback and longtime school official Pat Haden. Folt did not provide a reason for Swann’s sudden resignation.

“Lynn has been a leader on and off the field at USC for nearly five decades, and he will forever be a valued member of the Trojan family,” Folt wrote in an email addressed to the USC community.

The USC athletic department has drawn widespread scrutiny in recent months after three coaches and senior associate athletic director Donna Heinel were implicated in a nationwide college admissions bribery scandal. The individuals were indicted on various charges for allegedly accepting bribes from wealthy parents to falsely present high school students as athletes to improve their chances at admittance to USC -- even though some of these students did not participate the sports they were "recruited" to play at USC.

At present, it’s unclear if the admissions scandal was a direct factor in Swann’s resignation. The 67-year-old former Pittsburgh Steelers star told the Los Angeles Times last March that he would not consider stepping down due to the bribery scandal. To date, he has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.

Folt said Dave Robert, a special advisor at USC and the NCAA’s vice chair of the committee on infractions, will serve as interim athletic director until the school can find a permanent replacement.

"Our Athletics Department puts our student-athletes first by pursuing excellence with integrity. We will build on the traditions and strengths of our exceptional athletics program," Folt added.

Dozens of parents, university officials and college coaches were charged in connection to the admissions scandal, including “Fuller House” actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli and “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman. In some cases, the parents purportedly paid bribes to administrators alter SAT and ACT test results as their children sought admission to exclusive schools, including Yale and Stanford.

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A four-time Super Bowl champion, Swann also earned All-American honors while playing football as a USC undergrad.

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