USC penalizes men’s hoops for violating NCAA rules
LOS ANGELES – Southern California is imposing sanctions on its basketball program for violating NCAA rules involving former player O.J. Mayo.
The university’s investigation found rules were violated during Mayo’s one season with the Trojans in 2007-08 under former coach Tim Floyd. Mayo currently plays for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
The sanctions announced Sunday call for a one-year ban on postseason play following the current regular season, including the Pac-10 Conference tournament; a loss of one scholarship for this season and the 2010-2011 season; a loss of one coach permitted to engage in off-campus recruiting during the summer of 2010; and the loss of 20 recruiting days (from 130 to 110) for the 2010-2011 academic year.
The school said that because of Mayo’s involvement with Rodney Guillory, whom under NCAA rules became a USC booster due to his role in Mayo’s recruitment, USC will vacate its 21 victories during the 2007-08 season, when Mayo competed while ineligible.
Floyd abruptly quit in June following allegations that he gave $1,000 in cash to Guillory who helped steer Mayo to the Trojans.
Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo and Guillory, has previously alleged Guillory received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a sports agency that he partially funneled to Mayo.
Floyd, now an assistant with the New Orleans Hornets, has never addressed the allegations involving Mayo.
USC will return to the NCAA the money it received through the Pac-10 for playing in the 2008 NCAA tournament. The Trojans lost in the first round to Kansas State.
“When we’ve done something wrong, we have an obligation to do something about it and that is exactly what we are doing here,” athletic director Mike Garrett said in a statement.
“We believe the self-imposed sanctions are consistent with penalties imposed at other NCAA member institutions which have been cited with similar rules infractions.”
The NCAA has ongoing investigations of USC for alleged recruiting violations under Floyd and for alleged improprieties involving Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush.
Kevin O’Neill took over for Floyd and has guided the Trojans to a 10-4 record, including 2-0 in the Pac-10, and an eight-game winning streak.
“I think the university did the right thing in self-imposing sanctions. I respect and understand the action that was taken,” O’Neill said in the statement. “While it is unfortunate that our players won’t have the chance to compete in the postseason that just makes every game for us now a postseason game.”
New Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said the league has been working with USC and the NCAA in independent investigations of the school’s basketball program.
“USC’s decision to self-impose aggressive penalties on itself is clear recognition of how seriously the university takes this matter,” Scott said in a statement.