USC has ruled sophomore guard De'Anthony Melton ineligible and will no longer allow him to travel with the team, at least temporarily, according to Melton's attorney and confirmed by the school.
Melton has not played in USC's first 10 games of the season as a precaution for what the school initially called "a potential issue regarding eligibility," but he had been allowed to travel with the team until Wednesday, when it departed for three games this week in Hawaii in the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.
"USC is working diligently to resolve the eligibility concerns regarding De'Anthony Melton," USC said in a statement. "USC is actively investigating new information recently received that would make De'Anthony ineligible for competition, including travel, under NCAA rules."
USC has not shared what the new information is or how it was obtained with Melton, according to his attorney, Vicki Podberesky.
Federal prosecutors have alleged Dave Elliott, a Melton family friend, took $5,000 with the understanding that he would steer Melton toward an agent and financial advisor. USC initially hired Podberesky to represent Melton when the allegations surfaced but determined Melton no longer needed representation after it became clear he was not under criminal investigation. Podberesky has continued to represent Melton on a pro bono basis since Nov. 8.
Melton's eligibility issues surfaced after USC assistant Tony Bland was one of four assistant coaches in college basketball accused of accepting bribes to steer players toward agents, financial advisers and apparel companies, as part of an FBI investigation. Bland was arrested in October and pleaded not guilty in November to four charges relating to bribery and wire fraud.
In September, USC hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct an internal investigation into any wrongdoing. Melton has been formally interviewed on two occasions, according to Podberesky, who said she's not happy about the lack of transparency during the investigation.
"They're attorneys and ex-prosecutors and federal agents. This is being conducted like a law enforcement investigation. How does that make you feel when you're a 19-year-old kid?" Podberesky said. "It makes you feel like you're a criminal, and that's wrong.
"There's no reason they can't lay out for De'Anthony, here it is: Here's what we got, here's where it came from, here's how we see it, this is what we're projecting. Why can't you do that?"
USC coach Andy Enfield has been adamant that Melton did nothing wrong and voiced frustration about his continued absence from the team.
"I'm the head coach of a program and there's some issues with our players, so I understand why that is," he said on Dec. 8. "I'm not an attorney, but I respect the decision-makers at USC. I respect all the hours the attorneys put in and our compliance staff.
"So I'm very appreciative of all the work they're doing to try to get [Melton] on the court."
Melton averaged 8.3 points and 3.5 assists for the Trojans last season.