LOS ANGELES — Former Southern California football player Lonnie White says he took $14,000 in illegal payments during his four-year career in the 1980s, mostly by selling game tickets allotted to scholarship players.
White made the admission Wednesday in a first-person story for The Daily, an online publication. He was a sports writer at the Los Angeles Times from 1987 to 2008.
White was a receiver and special-teams player at USC, where he played under John Robinson and Ted Tollner from 1982-86. He went to training camp with the New Orleans Saints before his football career ended.
White says he sold the four season tickets provided to every scholarship player, which is illegal. Players also had the option of buying four more tickets to home games.
An attempt to reach White through The Daily was unsuccessful.
USC declined to comment Thursday.
"To this day, it's something I'm ashamed about," White wrote. "Rent was overdue, and my household bills were delinquent. I needed the money to live. So accepting the $14,000 in different forms of 'benefits' over my college years three decades ago was an act of survival."
White wrote that his older brother, Tim, also a USC football player, introduced him to a wealthy supporter of the Trojans who made the payments without the coaches' knowledge.
"Even though I knew what I was doing was wrong, it seemed like everyone I knew who played college football enjoyed some type of extra benefits as a player," White wrote.