The Joe Six Pack Chair In Tackling?

Talk about well-endowed athletes. At the University of Southern California, alumni aren't limited to shelling out the cash for boring endowments such as chairs in history or professorships in science. Not when the Trojan football team needs money. That's why the school has set up an endowment program for athletic positions. Here's how it works: Donors choose a team position, then fund the slot with a $250,000 gift. USC invests the money and pays out a percentage of the income as a scholarship for the student who plays the position.

So far, the school has endowed its entire first-string football team and is working on the second string. Recently, Gene Leyton, a former mayor of Brea, Calif., endowed the center position on the men's basketball squad. All told, nearly 9% of USC's athletes are endowed. That's just a tad behind the 11% of faculty whose spots are endowed. Next: tenure for jocks?