Report: 7 Trojans have criminal record

USC has seven football players with criminal records, according to an investigation by CBS News and Sports Illustrated.

The report included criminal background checks on players listed on the rosters of every team in the preseason top 25 before last season. It found that 7 percent of the 2,837 players had criminal records and nearly 40 percent of the incidents were "serious" offenses.

Ten schools had more players with criminal backgrounds than USC. Three others -- Ohio State, Florida and Oregon -- had the same number.

Asked to address the report's recommendation that schools should conduct criminal background checks as part of their recruiting efforts, USC athletic director Pat Haden said it was worth looking into.

"Our coaches use a variety of methods to look into a recruit's background, including those mentioned in the story," USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement reacting to the report in general.

"On a case-by-case basis, if we feel it necessary, we'll do a formalized background check.

"The story does raise some good issues. We need to discuss internally if doing formal background checks becomes something that is factored in for the future here. It is certainly worth exploring."

Mark Saxon covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.