USC’s Mike Garrett apologizes for allegations of tampering

USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett has sent a letter of apology to the University of Florida and several other schools regarding allegations made by USC that the schools had made impermissible contact with running back Dillon Baxter after the NCAA announced sanctions against the Trojans.

ESPN reported last month that a USC compliance official had sent a letter to Pacific 10 Conference officials alleging that Florida, Washington, Oregon, Fresno State and Alabama had contacted Baxter, a freshman who enrolled at USC in January and participated in spring practice. ESPN was also first to report Garrett’s letter to Florida.

Garrett’s July 1 letter to Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, read in part: “I have spoken with Mr. Baxter and he has now confirmed that he did not receive a call from your institution. Therefore, USC has no intention of pursuing this matter further.

“I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused to you and your institution.”

Several media outlets have reported that Alabama and Washington also received letters from Garrett.

No grudge match

Tennessee has turned down a chance to face USC and Coach Lane Kiffin in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Volunteers Athletic Director Mike Hamilton said Wednesday he’s been approached several times by Chick-fil-A Bowl President Gary Stokan about a potential 2011 matchup in Atlanta. Hamilton said it would be too much for the Vols’ schedule, which already includes nonconference games against Cincinnati and North Carolina.

Kiffin coached Tennessee last season before leaving to take over at USC, a move that angered many Vols fans.