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2018 November 6 - 10:37 am

USC Signs Lineman Who Hit Junior College Referee in 2016

Player Was Banned from Community College Football

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An offensive lineman who punched a referee during a junior college game in 2016 has joined Southern California’s football team.

USC coach Clay Helton announced the signing of a financial aid agreement with Bernard Schirmer.

Schirmer will join the USC team “shortly,” Helton said. He will be a redshirt sophomore.

Helton said the Trojans extensively evaluated Schirmer for three months, speaking to his family and to many officials at Mount SAC, where his football career abruptly ended when he knocked an official out cold with one punch.

“We learned from the administrators, counselors and coaches that we were dealing with a tremendous young man,” Helton said. “A man that is a great student and a great person, and a guy that we had no question would be a great member of our Trojan family.”

Schirmer was a 19-year-old player at Mount San Antonio College when the incident occurred.

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Schirmer repeatedly apologized, saying the punch was entirely accidental. It occurred while the official attempted to separate Schirmer from a scuffle after a whistle.

Schirmer was arrested after the incident, but did not face criminal charges. The Long Beach native was suspended for five years by the Southern California Football Association, a governing body for California community college football.

“We listed the expectations that we expect from Bernard, and we understand that he knows those expectations and will do a great job here as a Trojan,” Helton said.

Schirmer’s sister, Brooklyn, plays volleyball at USC. Their uncle, Titus Tuiasosopo, played football for USC in the 1990s, and their cousin, Vavae Malepeai, is a tailback on the current USC roster.

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