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USC in Trouble for Paying Players... Again (OJ Mayo)

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Ex-Mayo confidant says he gave USC star gifts including TV, cash

Updated: May 11, 2008, 12:26 PM ET

Former USC basketball player O.J. Mayo, a projected lottery pick in this year's NBA draft, received thousands of dollars in cash, clothes and other benefits in apparent violation of NCAA rules while he was still in high school and during his one year in college, a former Mayo associate told ESPN's "Outside the Lines."

Louis Johnson, who was a part of Mayo's inner circle until recently, said Mayo accepted around $30,000 in cash and gifts during the past four years from Rodney Guillory, a 43-year-old Los Angeles event promoter. In addition to cash, the gifts included a flat-screen television for Mayo's dorm room, cell phone service, a hotel room, clothes, meals and airline tickets for Mayo's friends and a relative, according to Johnson, others with knowledge of the gifts and store receipts.

When Mayo was in high school in Ohio and West Virginia, Guillory was receiving monthly payments from the Northern California sports agency Bill Duffy Associates. Johnson said BDA provided Guillory with around $200,000 before Mayo arrived at USC, and that Guillory used most of the money to support his own lifestyle but also gave a portion of it to Mayo.

In exchange for the payments and gifts, Mayo entered into a verbal agreement to allow BDA represent him when he turned pro, Johnson told "Outside the Lines."

Providing athletes with money or other benefits is a violation, according to NCAA rules. In California, it's a misdemeanor for sports agents and their representatives to provide cash or gifts to student-athletes.

Mayo played one season at USC before declaring for the NBA draft in April. He named BDA's Calvin Andrews his agent.

Johnson also said that Duffy's company helped Guillory purchase a $50,000 Infiniti SUV from a Northern California car dealership co-owned by former USC and San Francisco 49ers defensive back Ronnie Lott and his 49ers teammate, Keena Turner.

After Duffy's company quit funding Guillory last year, Johnson says Guillory gave Mayo the flat-screen television, a hotel room and meals -- and paid for it with a credit card that belongs to a nonprofit organization called "The National Organization of Sickle Cell Prevention and Awareness Foundation." The organization has never been registered as a charitable trust with the California Attorney General's Office. Mary E. Brown, president and CEO of the Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, said she had never heard of the foundation for which Guillory charged purchases through.

Johnson provided "Outside the Lines" with receipts and invoices for many of the purchases, including the cell phone service.

Johnson said he believes USC officials were unaware that Guillory was providing cash and other benefits to Mayo. He did say that members of the USC coaching staff had regular contact with Guillory.

Guillory was also involved with former USC basketball player Jeff Trepagnier, who was suspended in 2000 for taking illegal benefits (the NCAA ruled that Guillory had purchased airfare for Trepagnier and Fresno State's Tito Maddox).

Mayo, officials at Bill Duffy Associates and officials at USC all declined to be interviewed by "Outside the Lines."

In a statement, Mayo said: "I am focusing on the process of making my dream come true, which is to play professional basketball. I will not allow these allegations to become a distraction to me and my family. I have been through investigations by the NCAA, the Pac Ten and USC before I attended school and during the time I have been here. I have not engaged in any wrongdoing. If these claims were true I would suspect they would have been discovered by one of these organizations."

Of Guillory, Mayo said in his statement: "Rodney has been a positive influence on me as well as a strong African-American male presence in my life. Recently, my mother had the opportunity to spend time with Rodney as well, and has shared her appreciation for the way he has always treated me like I was family when I was so far away from home. I have nothing but respect for Rodney."

Duffy and Andrews said in a statement: "In the competitive environment of our business, these types of unsubstantiated assertions occur every year, particularly at this time. Our mission will continue to focus on the business of our current and prospective clients and let the record of our hard work, adherence to rules and regulations, and client satisfaction, speak for itself."

USC issued a statement, saying: "The NCAA and the Pac-10 reviewed O.J. Mayo's amateur status before and during his enrollment at USC, and did not identify any amateurism violations. Mayo and USC fully cooperated in these investigations. The University investigated and reported a violation involving Mayo's receipt of tickets to a Denver Nuggets game from his friend Carmelo Anthony. Mayo's eligibility was reinstated after he made a charitable contribution in the amount of the value of the tickets."

Johnson told ESPN he didn't get paid, but hoped to profit once Mayo made it to the NBA. He said he fell out of favor with Mayo because Guillory created a strain in the relationship by misrepresenting things Johnson allegedly said about Mayo and, eventually, sabotaging their relationship.

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Not to make nothing out of somehting, but $30,000 over four years is like nothing.  In four years minimum wage blows that away.

Maybe they should sanction Guillory....

I mean atleast Bush got $300k

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