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USC leaders discuss NCAA investigations online

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[June 12, 2009]  LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Southern California athletic director Mike Garrett and another senior administrator went online to discuss twin NCAA investigations involving the Trojans' football and basketball programs.

Video statements from Garrett and Todd Dickey, senior vice president for administration, were posted on the university's web site Thursday, two days after Tim Floyd resigned as basketball coach following allegations that he paid to have O.J. Mayo delivered to the Trojans.

Dickey addressed the fact that no one from USC has spoken publicly about the allegations of NCAA violations involving Mayo and Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush.

"We have no idea how long this investigation will continue, and no one is more anxious to bring this process to a conclusion than we are, but we remain committed to getting to the truth," he said in the video.


Garrett addressed media speculation that he hasn't talked about the allegations "because we want to keep our heads down or we have something to protect."

"I, we, take these allegations very seriously. People who say that we have something to protect are partially right. What we have to protect is the integrity of the athletic department. And that means doing this right. And that is what we are doing," he said.

Dickey's office is overseeing USC's internal investigation. He said about 50 people have been interviewed in conjunction with the NCAA and Pac-10, with USC participating in every interview "except those few from which we were excluded."

"Our exclusion from these interviews mainly stemmed from demands from those making allegations against our student-athletes, insisting that no one from USC be present," he said.

Dickey said the university will not comment on what has been learned until the investigation is complete. However, he said he felt obligated to correct what he called inaccuracies that have appeared in media reports.

Dickey said USC has repeatedly asked to participate in the NCAA's interview of marketer Lloyd Lake, who allegedly gave Bush improper gifts while he played for the Trojans.

But Dickey said Lake and his attorneys have refused to allow USC to be present.

He said it was incorrect that USC has not interviewed Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo's who told federal and NCAA investigators that Floyd paid $1,000 in cash to Rodney Guillory, who steered Mayo to USC.

"Mr. Johnson has twice been interviewed jointly by USC, the NCAA, and the Pac-10," Dickey said. "Any suggestion that USC has not taken these allegations seriously and investigated them thoroughly is simply wrong."

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If the NCAA decides that USC violated rules, the football program may have to forfeit victories from the 2004 and 2005 seasons and face additional penalties. The Trojans won the national championship in 2004 and lost in the BCS title game against Texas the following season.

If Bush is found retroactively ineligible, he could lose his Heisman. He now plays for the New Orleans Saints.

Floyd's resignation capped a rocky couple of months for the basketball program since the season ended. Starters DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett, along with Marcus Johnson, have declared for the upcoming NBA draft, and the Trojans have lost six recruits.

The latest to leave is Lamont Jones, a guard from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., who asked for and was granted a release from his letter of intent, the university said Thursday.

Derrick Williams, a forward from nearby La Mirada High, is in the process of seeking a release from his scholarship.

Garrett said the search for a new coach is already under way.

If the NCAA can prove Floyd paid to have Mayo delivered to USC, that would be considered a major violation. The Trojans could be forced to forfeit victories, and they could face recruiting restrictions and lose scholarships.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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