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May 11, 2008

Report: Mayo got cash, benefits from promoter

LOS ANGELES - A former associate of USC freshman guard O.J. Mayo claims the basketball star received thousands of dollars in cash and other gifts from an event promoter over the past four years that would violate NCAA rules, ESPN reported Sunday.

Louis Johnson told ESPN's "Outside the Lines," that Rodney Guillory, a Los Angeles-based event promoter, gave Mayo about $30,000 and other benefits while he attended high school and during his sole season at USC. Mayo has decided to forgo his sophomore year and enter the NBA draft.

Guillory received monthly payments from Northern California sports agency Bill Duffy Associates, the network reported.

Mayo signed with the same agency last month shortly after declaring that he would enter the June 26 draft, where he is expected to be a lottery pick.

Phone messages left Sunday for Bill Duffy Associates and at a home number listed in Guillory's name were not immediately returned.

Johnson said the agency provided Guillory with about $200,000 before Mayo arrived at USC. Guillory used most of the money to support his own lifestyle but also gave a portion of it to Mayo, Johnson told ESPN. Mayo then entered into a verbal agreement that allowed the agency to represent him when he turned pro, Johnson added.

Giving college athletes money or other gifts violates NCAA policy.

"I will not allow these allegations to become a distraction to me and my family," Mayo said in a statement to ESPN. "I have not engaged in any wrongdoing."

Mayo got into some minor trouble with the NCAA earlier this year after he accepted free tickets from Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony to an NBA game. Mayo didn't miss any games but had to contribute $460 - the total value of the two tickets - to a charitable organization.

USC said in a statement that NCAA and Pac-10 officials have looked into Mayo's status "before and during his enrollment at USC, and did not identify any amateurism violations."

Johnson said he doesn't believe USC officials knew Guillory provided cash and other benefits to Mayo. However, he claims some USC coaches had regular contact with Guillory.

Johnson, who claims he didn't get paid, also gave ESPN receipts and invoices for many of the purchases.

For more coverage of the USC Trojans, check out USCFootball.com.



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