USC is planning to tell the NCAA it did not know of any improper activity between O.J. Mayo and an event promoter alleged to have given the basketball player $30,000 in cash and gifts, according to a Los Angeles Daily News report.
School officials said the NCAA might speak with the school this week, according to the report, and USC is preparing its initial defense, including telling the NCAA that it previously had banned the promoter, Rodney Guillory, from receiving tickets to Trojans games.
"Right now, we're just trying to weather the storm," a USC official said in the Daily News report.
According to the Daily News, however, Guillory was seen often at the USC basketball offices, around the locker room, and at pickup games at the Galen Center, where Mayo played last summer.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" ran a story on May 11 in which a former confidant of Mayo, Louis Johnson, claimed a sports agency gave Guillory more than $200,000 in cash and gifts. Johnson said Guillory subsequently funneled $30,000 to Mayo while Mayo was in high school and during his one season at USC.
Johnson told ESPN that in exchange for the payments and gifts, Mayo entered a verbal agreement to allow the agency, Bill Duffy Associates Sports Management, to represent him when he turned pro.
According to the Daily News report, the NCAA had known that in 2000, Guillory was a runner for an agent, and supplied airfare to former USC basketball player Jeff Trepagnier and former Fresno State player Tito Maddox.
The Daily News also reported that USC will emphasize to the NCAA that it had banned Guillory from receiving tickets to USC games in order to avoid any accusations of impropriety involving Mayo.
School officials so far are unable to gauge whether the NCAA will penalize the Trojans because of the Mayo investigation.
"We just don't know right now," an official told the Daily News.
Mayo has repeatedly denied allegations of accepting money and gifts in violation of NCAA rules.
"My family hasn't accepted anything, so I'm just waiting for the NCAA to do what they have to do to prove that I haven't done anything wrong," Mayo told the Los Angeles Times last week, "... but I know for a fact that I haven't accepted anything."
The National Basketball Players Association is investigating BDA Sports Management to see whether the organization gave money to Mayo to secure him as a client, Robert Gadson, the union's director of security and agent administration, told ESPN earlier this week.
The NBPA prohibits agents from giving money or items of value to athletes to influence their choice of representation.
Mayo, who declared for the NBA draft in April, hired Calvin Andrews of BDA Sports Management to be his agent.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.