Saturday, February 20, 2010
Floyd calls appearance before NCAA committee 'right thing to do'
By Ted Miller
TEMPE, Ariz. -- After nearly eight hours in front of the NCAA infractions committee, former USC basketball coach Tim Floyd, carrying a folder overflowing with hastily gathered papers, walked out of a conference room at the Marriott "The Buttes" resort and shared a handshake and what appeared to be a warm exchange with new Trojans football coach Lane Kiffin.
Floyd hopes the hearing and the handshake afterwards aren't his last contact with college coaching, which is one of the reasons he attended the hearing.
Former USC basketball coach Tim Floyd met with the NCAA infractions committee for nearly eight hours on Saturday.
"It's the right thing to do," he said.
Floyd, now an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets, was shortly hustled away by his lawyers, Jim Darnell and David Scheper, into a waiting elevator.
Floyd appeared before the committee because ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported in May, 2008, that his former player, O.J. Mayo, accepted cash and gifts from Rodney Guillory, who was connected to Bill Duffy Associates Sports Management. Moreover, Floyd was alleged to have provided a $1,000 cash payment to help steer Mayo to USC, according to a Yahoo! Sports report.
His lawyers said their intention was to present their side of the case and clear Floyd's name. They said they felt the hearing was fair. While they wouldn't talk about what went on behind closed doors -- or whether things got contentious -- they admitted there were some unexpected twists.
"Over eight hours there are always surprises," Darnell said. "But nothing that big of a deal."
As far as their odds of success, Darnell said he didn't have "the slightest idea."
"I'll know that in two months," he said.
USC already admitted wrongdoing with the basketball program and sanctioned itself, including a ban on postseason participation, a reduction of scholarships and vacating all of its wins from 2007-08.
While the details aren't available -- USC's status as a private institutions allows it to keep NCAA allegations from public scrutiny -- it's fair to say USC's version of events and Floyd's version don't match.
In fact, in recent interviews with the LA Times and New Orleans Times-Picayune, Floyd talked about how he believed USC athletic director Mike Garrett made him the program's scapegoat.
"Mike's reputation took precedence over the truth," he told the newspapers.
Floyd and his lawyers left at 3:30 p.m., local time, but the hearings continued.
Former football coach Pete Carroll was interviewed on Thursday. Current running backs coach Todd McNair, who allegedly was aware of former running back Reggie Bush's dealings with a couple of would-be sports agents, was interviewed Thursday and all day Friday.
When the committee is finished with USC, it will reconvene -- at an "undisclosed location," NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said -- to evaluate the testimony and reach a verdict.
That could last well into the evening, and it remains possible that the committee won't be able to finish its business.
But, when the elevator doors closed behind Floyd, the last of the star witnesses departed.