<
>

Tim Floyd package deal denials

Using package deals to get players to join USC was always something Tim Floyd denied doing -- even if the NCAA has no rules against doing so.

Hiring someone onto your staff in order to influence recruits linked to that new staffer? That's how the sausage is made sometimes. It's not pretty or something coaches or parents will admit happens.

It's still worth noting that one month after the NCAA cleared Floyd of any wrongdoing in O.J. Mayo's recruitment, one of his future assistant coaches at UTEP is denying being involved in a package deal.

Prep school coach Jason Niblett told the Martinsville Bulletin that he has accepted the job to coach with Floyd (UTEP has yet to announce the hiring) while also denying that two of his players signed national letters of intent with UTEP this spring because of it.

In addition to Niblett joining the UTEP staff, Heat players Michael Haynes and Desmond Lee have signed to play for the Miners next year. Haynes, the Heat’s most prized recruit this season, turned down offers from Duke, UCLA and Texas to play for UTEP.

Niblett, though, said neither Haynes nor Lee knew there was even a possibility of Niblett joining the Miners coaching staff until after the players had signed in April.

"I had two to three other offers at other places where I didn't have kids going to school there," Niblett said. "So no, that didn't have anything to do with it."

He added: "I don't need players to help me progress. What I've done here at the Heat Academy I did with little help."

Again, nothing in the rules says Floyd can't hire an assistant coach who has ties to talented players who signed at the very same program. And this particular future assistant coach is coming right out and denying a package deal with a head coach who has a history of denials.

So that means there's nothing wrong about any of this, right?