Trojans Accused of Paying Recruit
The USC men’s basketball program has been accused of paying $25,000 to a highly sought-after high school player from Ohio as an inducement to accept a scholarship, sources confirmed Wednesday, and the Pacific 10 Conference has said it is investigating.
Sam Clancy Jr., an All-American from St. Edwards High in Lakewood, Ohio, last season, signed a letter of intent with USC in November and allegedly accepted the money as payment to play for the Trojans.
USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett, in a statement, termed the allegation “ludicrous.”
Under NCAA rules, when a school learns that a potential rules violation has been committed by an employee, student or booster, the school must report it to officials from whichever conference it belongs to. The school is then allowed to conduct an in-house investigation and the findings eventually must be submitted to the NCAA for review.
But USC asked the Pac-10 to conduct the initial investigation after it learned of the accusation, Garrett said.
Garrett released a statement saying: “We are aware of the allegations, and we find them to be so ludicrous and farfetched that instead of self-investigating first, we notified the Pac-10 to investigate.”
On Tuesday, David Price, Pac-10 associate commissioner, interviewed USC Coach Henry Bibby, assistant coach David Miller and reserve forward Seymour Daffeh, who hosted Clancy when he arrived for a campus visit in the fall, sources said.
Price confirmed Wednesday that he was on USC’s campus Tuesday but declined to comment on the allegation.
Bibby and Miller also declined to comment Wednesday. Daffeh could not be reached.
Clancy, who is 6 feet 7 and 240 pounds, was a major signing for USC, prompting several analysts to list the Trojans’ 1998-99 recruiting class, which included Westchester High forward David Bluthenthal, among the top 25 in the country.
When called Wednesday, a recording said that Clancy’s home phone number was temporarily disconnected.
The origin of the allegation is still unclear, but several sources inside Heritage Hall said they believed it was made by members of the University of Cincinnati coaching staff.
The sources have accused former UC Irvine coach Rod Baker, an assistant at Cincinnati since being fired by Irvine a year ago, of making the allegation after losing the recruiting competition over Clancy.
“You can call the NCAA and find out that I’ve never turned in anyone in my 21 years of coaching,” Baker said. “Never in a zillion years. It’s not my job to see who’s following the rules and who isn’t.”