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More on Dillon Baxter

10/25/2011

LOS ANGELES -- Much-hyped USC running back Dillon Baxter no longer is a member of the team but is still enrolled at the school, coach Lane Kiffin announced Tuesday.

Baxter, a sophomore, did not make the trip with the Trojans to South Bend for USC's game vs. Notre Dame last week, instead heading home to San Diego for the weekend. He skipped a practice last week because of what was called a "family issue," and arrived late to another session because of what was called an "academic issue."

"The decision has been made for Dillon Baxter to focus on his academics," Kiffin said in a statement Tuesday. "As he does so, he will not be part of our football program.

"However, we will continue to support him with our academic services department."

During the weekend, Kiffin declined to add more context to the situation or to comment on Baxter's status, first immediately after the Trojans' 31-17 win over Notre Dame and then during his weekly conference call with the media on Sunday, when he said he'd wait to address Baxter's status until it was "finalized," leading to rampant speculation that the second-year player would transfer to another school.

See the full story here.

After practice Tuesday, Kiffin was again asked about Baxter's status and he largely refused to say anything of relevance. But he did explain a bit of why he was so insistent about not answering anything relating to him.

"This is all about no distractions, and this is why we're not answering questions about him," Kiffin said. "We don't want our players or coaches dealing with it.

"Our team has had great focus over the last couple of weeks on the road, and the last thing that we want to do is get distracted, and so we're focused on what we're doing right now, which is preparing to play maybe the No. 1 team in the country right now."