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Entries in pre-war (1)

Tuesday
Feb142012

October 17, 1931 – USC 53, Oregon 0: The Joe Lillard Story

Look. See that mirage? There he is, on page three of the 1931 USC program. “Happy” Joe Lillard, he’s tagged. He’s on the roster, there’s a posed action shot, but when game time rolled around he wasn’t on the field. The short version: Lillard, a halfback recruited by Oregon head coach Doc Spears at Minnesota who followed Spears to Oregon in 1930, had been declared ineligible by the Pacific Coast Conference earlier in the week. He had been accused of playing semi-pro baseball, in violation of conference regulations. Without his star player, Doc’s team had about as much chance of success against Howard Jones’ eventual national championship USC team as Joe Lillard had of making it as a black player in the white football world of the Thirties.

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