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January 24, 2008
LOS ANGELES - Southern California freshman standout O.J. Mayo might have violated an NCAA rule by accepting free tickets to Monday night's NBA game between Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers from Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony.
Mayo told reporters Tuesday he had received the tickets, which were located behind courtside seats near mid-court at Staples Center and had a face value of $230 each.
"We don't know the specifics of the situation and won't be able to comment," NCAA spokesman Erik Christianson said Wednesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.
USC sports information director Tim Tessalone declined comment on behalf of the university.
NCAA bylaw 22.214.171.124.3 states that student-athletes may not receive "free or reduced-cost admission to professional athletics contests from professional sports organizations, unless such services also are available to the student body in general."
The NCAA could consider Anthony a friend who gave Mayo the tickets rather than a representative of the Nuggets, perhaps making the matter legal by NCAA standards.
Mayo, averaging a team-leading 19.7 points and 4.6 rebounds, said Anthony made the offer of tickets at a party he hosted Sunday night.
"I was talking to him like, 'Man, you're out pretty late. You've got a game tomorrow night against Kobe (Bryant),"' Mayo said. "He said, 'Nah, it will be all right.' And then he asked, 'You want to come to the game?' And I was like, 'Sure."'