Timeline of USC troubles
Pacific 10 Conference begins investigation after several media outlets report that tailback Reggie Bush’s mother, stepfather and brother had been living in a San Diego-area home owned by Michael Michaels, a would-be sports marketer. Bush says the situation was “blown out of proportion.” He tells ESPN, “When this is all said and done everyone will see at the end of the day that we’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.” Soon after, the New Orleans Saints make Bush the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft. USC also begins investigating whether an NCAA rule was violated when receiver Dwayne Jarrett paid substantially less than half the rent on an apartment he shared with quarterback Matt Leinart. The quarterback’s father, Bob Leinart, says his son and Jarrett each paid $650 and he picked up the difference on the $3,866-a-month lease.
The NCAA announces that Jarrett violated an “extra benefits” rule and must apply for reinstatement of his eligibility. During training camp in August he is reinstated after agreeing to pay $5,352 to a charity of his choice.
Yahoo Sports reports allegations that marketing agents lavished Bush with expensive hotel stays and cash while he was at USC. The Internet site says documents showed Bush’s family also accepted travel accommodations from an employee of another marketing agent, Mike Ornstein, who later signed Bush as a client. The report says that during the 2005 season, USC running backs coach Todd McNair knew of Bush’s relationship with the fledgling agency and that Bush worried Coach Pete Carroll might find out too.
Bush, according to various reports, settles with Michaels for $200,000 to $300,000. Asked about the NCAA investigation, Bush says, “Dead subject. That’s what it is.” But Ron Barker, the Pac-10’s associate commissioner of governance and enforcement, says, “This has not gone away by any means.”
Lloyd Lake, Michaels’ former partner in a sports marketing firm, meets with NCAA investigators to discuss allegations that he gave cash and gifts to Bush while he was playing for USC. Lake’s attorney, Brian Watkins, said before the meeting that Lake would provide documents and other evidence to NCAA investigators that would bolster allegations that Lake provided more than $291,600 in cash, lodging and additional considerations to Bush and his parents. Lake had already filed a civil lawsuit against Bush in a San Diego court.
Louis Johnson, a former confidant of former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo, tells ESPN that Los Angeles events promoter Rodney Guillory provided Mayo with a flat-screen television, cellphone service, cash, meals, clothes and other benefits dating to when Mayo entered high school. Johnson also alleges that Guillory acted as a representative for Bill Duffy Associates Sports Management, the agency Mayo announced would represent him as a pro.
Guillory had a previous association with former USC player Jeff Trepagnier, who was suspended for a month during the 2000-01 season in part because he had accepted complimentary airline tickets. The NCAA later clears Trepagnier of any wrongdoing.
USC officials and investigators from the NCAA and Pac-10 meet with Johnson to discuss his allegations. A Johnson attorney says hotel bills, credit card receipts and cellphone statements would soon be forwarded to the FBI.
The NCAA combines the Bush and Mayo investigations into one probe of the Trojans athletic program, according to Johnson’s attorneys.
Johnson tells several media outlets that USC basketball Coach Tim Floyd met Guillory outside a stretch of Beverly Hills cafes on Valentine’s Day in 2007, and gave him at least $1,000 cash.
In a one-paragraph letter to Athletic Director Mike Garrett, Floyd resigns. A few days later, responding to criticism that it has failed to independently investigate or publicly address allegations that led to a probe of its athletic program, USC posts on its website video statements from Garrett and Todd Dickey, USC’s senior vice president for administration. Kevin O’Neill is hired to replace Floyd.
The Times reports that USC’s football program may have violated NCAA rules by surpassing limits on the size of coaching staffs because Pete Rodriguez, a special-teams expert, acted as an extra coach by attending practices, monitoring games and offering Carroll behind-the-scenes advice during the 2008 season. Carroll confirms that Rodriguez and other coaches with NFL experience had served as consultants during his tenure, but denies NCAA rules were broken.
Floyd, in Los Angeles as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets, says he thought Garrett abandoned him in July 2008 when an NCAA investigator advised Floyd to retain an attorney. “At that point,” Floyd said, “all support stopped. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Mike’s reputation took precedence over the truth. All loyalty, all support stopped.”
A few weeks later, the Times reports that USC’s compliance office has begun an investigation into tailback Joe McKnight’s use of a 2006 Land Rover that is owned by a Santa Monica businessman. The school holds McKnight out of the Emerald Bowl.
Because of violations related to Mayo, USC announces it will penalize its basketball team by forfeiting victories and money, forgoing postseason play in the 2009-10 season and curtailing recruiting. “When we’ve done something wrong, we have an obligation to do something about it, and that is exactly what we are doing here,” Garrett says.
Mayo’s agent says his client did not accept gifts or money while being recruited by USC, or while playing there.