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Mayo is spared a suspension in tickets issue

Times Staff Writer

EUGENE, Ore -- USC Coach Tim Floyd’s admission of complicity in the acceptance of free Lakers tickets by O.J. Mayo appears to have spared the freshman guard a suspension of at least six games, according to information released by the NCAA on Saturday.

Floyd acknowledged clearing Mayo to receive free tickets to a Lakers game from Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony, a violation of NCAA preferential-treatment rules. The NCAA considered Floyd’s approval a mitigating factor in reinstating Mayo’s eligibility and requiring him only to donate the $460 face value of the tickets to charity.

According to a statement released by the NCAA, “normal reinstatement guidelines call for a withholding condition of 20% of competition based on the dollar value of this benefit.

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“However, when determining the specifics of this individual case, the NCAA staff determined that repayment without withholding from competition was warranted since the university provided information that the student-athlete first asked his coach if he could accept the tickets offered to him and was told it would be permissible.”

Floyd issued contradictory statements about his involvement, at first saying he had no idea how Mayo obtained the tickets and then saying he had cleared Mayo to take the tickets from Anthony since the players were longtime friends.

USC will play 30 regular-season games before the Pacific 10 Conference tournament in March, meaning that a suspension “of 20% of competition” would have constituted at least six games.

The NCAA statement said Mayo’s acceptance of two complimentary tickets is a violation of its rules “given the relationship between the ticket giver and Mayo grew out of athletics, as well as the fact that there was no previous pattern of benefits between the two parties prior to the student-athlete gaining athletic notoriety.”

Mayo’s father, Kenny Ziegler, was charged Friday with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in Huntington, W.Va., according to a report by WSAZ, an NBC television affiliate in Huntington.

The report said that Ziegler, 36, fled the scene of a car accident on foot before being apprehended by police, who found half a pound of marijuana and seven small bags.

Ziegler’s bond was set at $111,000, according to the report.

ben.bolch@latimes.com


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