Thanks to Bradley J. Fikes of The San Diego Union-Tribune for reaching out to our own David Oates earlier this week for comment on how USC Trojans should respond to its latest #PR crisis with UCSD – University of California San Diego.

To rebuild its battered reputation, USC, among other things, needs to follow through with concrete actions to demonstrate integrity, said David Oates, president of San Diego’s Stalwart Communications.

The apology, while well-written, isn’t enough, said Oates, who specializes in crisis communications. One problem is that it came as part of a legal settlement, and after repeated scandals.

“It draws into question whether you really mean it,” Oates said. “Talk becomes very cheap, particularly for this university, where it seems to happen over and over and over again.”