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USC billboard in Westwood covered

A billboard not far from UCLA's campus that featured USC quarterback Matt Barkley was covered over Tuesday, one day after The Times first made light of it.

A billboard not far from UCLA's campus that featured USC quarterback Matt Barkley was covered over Tuesday, one day after The Times first made light of it.


The billboard is near the corner of Westwood Boulevard and Lindbrook Drive and features Barkley, a Heisman Trophy favorite, looking skyward alongside the words, "We play to finish" with the LA in "play" highlighted.


Tim Tessalone, USC's athletic department spokesman, said Tuesday that covering the billboard "was not a USC decision."


"We did not agree with or were we involved in the decision to take the billboard down," he said.


UCLA officials also denied any involvement.


"We didn't have anything to do with it," said UCLA athletics spokesman Nick Ammazzalorso.


Craig Kelley, an associate athletic director for marketing, said Monday that USC chose locations for the boards.


"You have certain locations you can choose that are favorable and have high visibility, and we chose the ones that would work best for us at the time based on what was available.


"Anywhere we put a board, if it's not here in downtown Los Angeles, people look at it as their territory.


"It's a positive.… That's really what that board is about: Finishing what you start. That crosses all platforms and all schools."


The billboard is owned by Regency Outdoor Advertising, a company co-owned by Brian Kennedy, a prominent USC donor.


On Monday, Tessalone said the billboard was "not a board to taunt" and was one of 30 in Southern California that are part of USC's "We play" branding and marketing campaign, which encompasses multiple sports and also includes bus wraps and other media platforms.


UCLA is expected to have its own marketing campaign up on billboards in the near future.


-Baxter Holmes