Griz’ O.J. bribed to USC?
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 4:59 pm
By: By BETH HARRIS, AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tim Floyd took Southern California’s basketball program from also-ran status to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Now he’s gone, having suddenly resigned amid allegations that he paid to have now-Memphis Grizzlies star O.J. Mayo delivered to the Trojans.
Floyd on Tuesday submitted a one-paragraph letter to USC athletic director Mike Garrett saying he was quitting after four seasons because he no longer had full enthusiasm for his job.
“I accept Tim’s decision and wish him well,” Garrett said in a statement.
The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., first reported Floyd’s resignation. He is from Hattiesburg.
His departure signals another reversal of fortune for the basketball program since the season ended.
In May, YahooSports.com reported that Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo’s, told federal and NCAA investigators that Floyd paid $1,000 in cash to Rodney Guillory, who steered Mayo to USC.
Johnson, a former associate of Guillory, has previously alleged Guillory received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a sports agency that he partially funneled to Mayo.
Mayo played one season for the Trojans before leaving for the NBA, where he plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Floyd has never addressed the allegations involving Mayo.
If the NCAA can prove Floyd paid to have Mayo delivered to USC, that would be considered a major violation. The Trojans could be forced to forfeit victories, and they could face recruiting restrictions and lose scholarships.
USC’s powerhouse football team is already under NCAA investigation for allegations that former Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush and his family received money and free rent from would-be marketers.
“The university is cooperating fully in the continuing investigation with the NCAA and Pac-10 into all allegations of NCAA and Pac-10 rules violations at USC,” Todd Dickey, senior vice president-administration, said in the statement. “The university, the NCAA and Pac-10 have jointly conducted interviews of approximately 50 witnesses. No conclusions have yet been reached. At this point, it would be both inappropriate and premature to comment further.”
USC officials later sent an e-mail confirming that Floyd had quit and reprinting his statement that appeared in the newspaper.
His resignation letter read:
“As of 1 p.m. today, I am resigning as head basketball coach at the University of Southern California. I deeply appreciate the opportunity afforded me by the university, as well as the chance to know and work with some of the finest young men in college athletics.
“Unfortunately, I no longer feel I can offer the level of enthusiasm to my duties that is deserved by the university, my coaching staff, my players, their families, and the supporters of Southern Cal. I always promised my self and my family that if I ever felt I could no longer give my full enthusiasm to a job, that I should leave it to others who could. I intend to contact my coaching staff and my players in coming days and weeks to tell them how much each of them means to me. I wish the best to USC and to my successor.”
Floyd had an 85-50 record at USC. Last season he guided the Trojans to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance — a first in school history. They lost in the second round to Michigan State after winning the Pac-10 tournament for the first time.
In April, Floyd visited Arizona to discuss its vacant coaching position. But he spurned the Wildcats, saying he was staying at USC. A year ago, Floyd was offered the coaching job at his alma mater Louisiana State and turned it down, saying at the time, “This is my last job at SC.”
In mid-May, Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood denied that Floyd was offered the Arizona job, and said he had asked Floyd about the reports surrounding his relationship with Mayo.
“I asked him the question,” Livengood said. “He said there’s nothing to that. So end of question. We didn’t go any farther. We didn’t need to go any farther.”
The day he met reporters to say he wasn’t going to Arizona, Floyd said, “This is still my last job.”
That day Garrett called Floyd a “tremendous asset” to USC’s basketball program at a school where the nationally ranked football team dominates.
“The future is very bright here under Tim’s direction,” Garrett said at the time. “We talked today, and we expressed our commitment to each other. We are both excited about our prospects for next season, especially if we have the team we think we’ll have.”
But the Trojans won’t have some key players next season.
Starters DeMar DeRozan, Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett, along with Marcus Johnson, have declared for the upcoming NBA draft and the Trojans have lost recruits since the season ended. Floyd’s departure could cause other recruits to reconsider their commitment to the Trojans.
The 55-year-old coach had three years remaining on his contract.
Garrett said a search to hire a new coach would begin immediately.
Floyd’s other college stints were at Iowa State, New Orleans and Idaho. His combined record in 16 years at the college level was 328-180. He coached the NBA’s Chicago Bulls from 1999-2002 and the New Orleans Hornets from 2003-04.