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May 13, 2008

Trojan A.D. addresses Mayo accusations

USC director of athletics Mike Garrett stood outside Heritage Hall Tuesday and smiled.

Standing in front of a new red Lexus with the USC logo on the door, Garrett and members of the Trojan athletic staff celebrated the school's fourth Lexus Gauntlet Championship - accomplishing a year's worth of wins over UCLA in direct sports competition.

The smiles continued after the presentation and photo-op, as Garret answered questions about his program's on-field success.

Then, the smiles stopped.

"Right now there's an investigation going on, and we can't really comment on it," Garrett said.

Two days earlier, a report aired on ESPN's Outside the Lines alleged that former-Trojan guard O.J. Mayo accepted cash and other benefits from Rodney Guillory on behalf of BDA Sports Management - the agency now representing Mayo.

Garrett spoke briefly about the situation Tuesday, saying that the athletic department investigated the situation thoroughly the first time around.

"It was about as extensive as anyone else in college athletics. We don't take backseat in what we're trying to do, preventing and having precautions," Garrett said. "We used due diligence before, and we'll use due diligence now."

Garrett said the athletic staff had been informed of potential issues in the past.

"I think everyone has guidelines and we educated everyone about it," he said. "When it's an individual's action, it's different.

"It's not the guidelines. It's individual behavior. That's what we're looking at."

Garrett also said things are different because of negative influences coming from outside the USC athletic community.

"Historically, it's always been inside. Now, we're talking outside for the first time," he said. "I think we did a great educational job on that. It just seems individuals want to act on their own behalf. That's what we're dealing with."

While the focus is currently on the USC men's basketball program, Garrett said the same issues are staring other major universities right in the face.

"When you have high profile athletes and a high profile program, we do everything we can to educate our student-athletes and our whole department," he said.

"Now we're talking about some areas that we're really all fighting."

Stay tuned to USCFootball.com, as Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports talks about the Mayo investigation in this week's edition of the Peristyle Podcast.

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