Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Kiffin denies knowing of Garza payment
By Pedro Moura
USC coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday that he did not know anything about former assistant Willie Mack Garza's alleged payment to recruit Lache Seastrunk in 2009 while the two were at the University of Tennessee, as Yahoo! Sports reported Monday night.
Garza, who worked under Kiffin at Tennessee and at USC, resigned earlier this month, citing "personal issues unrelated to USC." In the Yahoo! report, street agent Will Lyles claimed that Garza had wired him $1,500 to cover the cost of airfare for an unofficial visit to Tennessee for Seastrunk, an apparent NCAA violation.
"All I can say is that the alleged incident, I had no knowledge of, or knowledge of a relationship at all," Kiffin said. "I have always been committed, wherever we've been, to doing things the NCAA right way and operating with the NCAA. That's all I got on it."
Seastrunk signed with Oregon in the class of 2010 but transferred to Baylor last month and is sitting out this season. Kiffin, who had been under NCAA investigation for potential recruiting violations while with the Volunteers, said he could not go into any detail on why he didn't know about Garza's alleged payment.
"I can't respond in any way to any of those questions," he said. "I said what I said about not knowing anything about it or anything having to do with that relationship or any of the things that are alleged."
Kiffin said he did not know whether it was normal for head coaches to be unaware of what their assistants were doing on the recruiting trail.
He was also asked if he'd be surprised if the NCAA re-opened an investigation against him and his staff dating back to his time at Tennessee. Previously, the athletics governing body had ruled that Kiffin's staff had committed only secondary violations.
"That's not for me to judge," Kiffin said.