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NCAA to Review Williams’ Status

Times Staff Writer

The NCAA has received from USC a reinstatement request for Mike Williams, the latest step in the All-American receiver’s attempt to regain his eligibility.

Erik Christianson, a spokesman for the NCAA, said Tuesday that USC’s request had arrived at the organization’s headquarters in Indianapolis and would be reviewed by the reinstatement staff.

Christianson said there is no timetable for a decision. If the reinstatement staff rules against restoring Williams’ eligibility, USC could appeal to a five-member reinstatement committee.

Williams, a sophomore on the Trojans’ national championship team last season, left USC in February after the start of the spring semester. He announced he had hired an agent and was turning pro after a federal judge ruled in favor of former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett, making all underclassmen eligible for the NFL draft.

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Williams, however, was left in limbo after the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York issued a stay and then overturned the decision.

Last month, Williams began working toward reinstatement, announcing that he had severed professional ties with his agent and family friend, Mike Azzarelli, and had signed a request for a Progress Toward Degree Waiver from the NCAA.

He also said he would file paperwork with USC’s compliance officials, documenting all money and benefits he received as a professional, including deals with Nike and a football trading card company.

Williams began classes at USC’s second summer session last week.

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Christianson would not comment on the status of the progress toward degree waiver, citing privacy laws.

Williams could not be reached for comment. USC Coach Pete Carroll said the NCAA’s receipt of the reinstatement request was a matter of sequence.

“Information continues to be exchanged,” Carroll said. “The process continues.”

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Walk-on quarterback Michael McDonald pleaded not guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor drunk driving charges and a pretrial hearing was set for Aug. 12 in the Harbor Justice Center at Newport Beach, according to a court official.

McDonald, 19, was arrested May 23 in Newport Beach. McDonald was a redshirt last season.


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