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Mayo violates NCAA rule; makes donation to charity

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California freshman O.J. Mayo
violated an NCAA rule by accepting free tickets from Denver Nuggets
forward Carmelo Anthony to an NBA game, but his punishment won't
include missing games.

University officials said Friday they have been informed by the
NCAA that Mayo committed a violation and must contribute $460 -- the
total value of the two tickets -- to a charitable organization. USC
said in a release the NCAA restored Mayo's eligibility after he and
his family donated the money, making him available for Saturday's
game against Oregon.

"I'm glad this is over with now," Mayo said in a statement.
"It was an eye-opening process. I have tried to be very careful
when any potential NCAA issues are involved ever since I arrived at
USC."

Mayo received the tickets from Anthony to Monday night's game
between the Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Mayo, averaging a
team-leading 19.7 points and 4.6 rebounds, said Anthony made the
offer of tickets at a party he hosted Sunday night.

An NCAA bylaw states that student-athletes may not receive
"free or reduced-cost admission to professional athletics contests
from professional sports organizations, unless such services also
are available to the student body in general."

Coach Tim Floyd took some of the blame, saying he told Mayo he
could attend the game because Anthony was a friend of Mayo's.

"We are happy with the outcome of this situation and are glad
we can put this behind us," Floyd said. "I feel bad that I gave
O.J. some incorrect advice. We all learned some lessons through
this process."