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May 13, 2008
NCAA has 'new information' on Mayo situation
HOUSTON — Saying the NCAA has "new information," president Myles Brand promised to investigate former USC basketball star O.J. Mayo, who allegedly received thousands of dollars in gifts from money given to an event promoter by a sports agency.
On Sunday, ESPN reported that Bill Duffy Associates provided Rodney Guillory with about $200,000 before Mayo arrived at USC. Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo's, told "Outside the Lines" that Mayo received about $30,000 and other benefits from Guillory while in high school and during his one season at USC.
Mayo declared for the NBA draft after the season and hired BDA Sports' Calvin Andrews as his agent.
Brand, speaking Tuesday in Houston to kick off this week's Division II National Championships Festival, said that "our enforcement division has new information" about Mayo's case "and as a matter of fact, when we have new information on any case, we will investigate."
He would not comment further on the specifics of Mayo's case.
Duffy denied any illegal activity involving Mayo on Monday, but USC acknowledged that the school is working with the NCAA and the Pac-10 "in a cooperative investigation to review these new allegations."
NCAA rules prohibit giving college athletes money or other gifts. Brand said the schools have more of a direct obligation than the NCAA to shield their athletes from sports agents, boosters and other outsiders.
"We are not the cops on the corner," Brand said. "The schools themselves have the responsibility to follow the rules and that means, and includes, separating agents from interfering with student-athletes."
At the Final Four last month, Brand and NBA commissioner David Stern announced a cooperative effort to improve areas of youth basketball. Brand said Tuesday that one of the main initiatives of the partnership will focus on "revising recruiting and other activities."
"Pre-collegiate basketball is something we definitely need to address," he said. "We're really focused on changing that environment. Yes, I am concerned about it."
Brand said he has no say on whether the NBA will raise its age limit when the current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2011. Currently, the league's minimum age is 19. Mayo turned 20 in November and joined the growing number of players who play one season in college and bolt for the pros. Memphis star Derrick Rose and Kansas State's Michael Beasley also declared for the draft after their freshman seasons.
Brand would like to see the NBA require players to stay in school for "two, three or four years," but says he's powerless to sway any decision.
"The NCAA has no ability to influence, in any way, the age rule," he said. "So any age limitation rules, the 19-year-olds who are so-called "one and done," are the result of bargaining negotiation between the NBA and the players' association. The NCAA was not involved in any way in that bargaining in setting up the rule. Only the NBA management and the players association set those rules."
Brand said he won't be afraid to sanction USC or any other high-profile school caught in violation of NCAA rules. He admitted that punishing the schools sometimes is not enough to deter agents and other outsiders from influencing players with cash, gifts or other benefits.
"This is not acceptable behavior and on occasion, it's illegal," Brand said. "You get thrown in jail if you rob a bank, but people keep robbing banks. The fact of the matter is these kinds of activities are unacceptable, they are unfortunate. We expect the schools to enforce the rules and protect our student-athletes."