Tuesday, May 13, 2008

NCAA opens Mayo investigation

Confidant says ex-USC star received cash, benefits


— The NCAA on Monday opened an investigation into whether former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo received tens of thousands of dollars in cash and benefits from an agent's representative before and during the one season he played for the Trojans.

The allegations were made by former Mayo confidant Louis Johnson during a segment of the ESPN show "Outside the Lines" broadcast Sunday.

USC responded to the report by releasing a statement Sunday saying that the NCAA and Pacific 10 Conference had reviewed Mayo's situation before and during his enrollment at USC "and did not identify any amateurism violations."

That review, conducted by the school's compliance office in conjunction with conference and NCAA authorities, was extensive with a scope far beyond perfunctory NCAA Clearinghouse procedures, said a source with knowledge of the situation who wouldn't speak unless guaranteed anonymity.

In its own statement to the Los Angeles Times on Monday, the NCAA said the allegations made on the television show were "new to the NCAA. This information was not available when the NCAA examined Mr. Mayo's academic and amateurism status prior to his collegiate enrollment, and we will review the information in conjunction with the institution and the Pac-10 conference."

ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi said in an online chat Monday that she already had been contacted by NCAA investigators. Dave Hirsch, an assistant commissioner for the Pac-10, said Monday that conference officials wouldn't comment on potential or pending investigations.

Johnson told ESPN that Los Angeles events promoter Rodney Guillory provided Mayo with a flat-screen television, cash, cell-phone service, meals, clothes and other benefits dating to when Mayo was in high school. Johnson said Guillory was acting as a representative of Bill Duffy Sports Management, the agency Mayo has said will represent him as a pro. The agency released a statement Monday saying that Duffy met Mayo for the first time shortly before Mayo selected BDA as his agency and signed with agent Calvin Andrews last month.


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