Isiah Wiley loses scholarship

Updated: August 27, 2012, 11:56 AM ET
By Pedro Moura | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- USC cornerback Isiah Wiley has been ruled academically ineligible for the 2012 season and has been taken off athletic scholarship, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin confirmed Friday.

Wiley, a senior, was a returning starter for the Trojans but had not practiced in fall camp because of questions about his academic status. Kiffin said that lessened the impact of his absence.

"The blow is not as big, I think, because of the way we went about it," Kiffin said. "We had kind of moved forward, as you can tell, by not having him here in camp."

Wiley started the final six games of the 2011 season for the Trojans and played a key role against Stanford and Oregon. He had 11 tackles against the Cardinal and a fumble recovery in the win over the Ducks.

A junior college transfer, Wiley originally signed with the Trojans as a 2011 early enrollee but had to delay his entrance to USC until that summer. But he quickly became a special-teams contributor and then seized the starting spot midway through the season when two other cornerbacks were injured.

With Torin Harris out with a hamstring injury, redshirt sophomore Anthony Brown steps into the starting role for the Trojans' season opener against Hawaii.

Wiley, a Louisiana native, did not return calls seeking comment Friday. He has not used his redshirt season, so he could technically come back and play for the Trojans in 2013, but he would have to pay his own way for the next two semesters to do so.

More likely, he'll transfer to another junior college and redshirt while attempting to get his grades in order or drop down a level and play his last season for a school willing to accept him.

Kiffin also announced Friday that linebacker Marquis Simmons and cornerback Brian Baucham are eligible to compete this season. Baucham had been practicing off and on in camp, but Simmons had been held out of practices while his academic status was up in the air.

Kiffin said he spoke with Simmons extensively on Friday and hoped the fourth-year junior would take the episode as a "wake-up call." Although not a starter, Simmons has been a key special-teamer for the Trojans when healthy.

"Anytime that your numbers are where ours are at, every small win we can get is big," Kiffin said.

With Wiley off scholarship, USC is now able to extend scholarships to all three walk-ons who had been given them in previous seasons and still meet the NCAA-mandated limit of 75.

Kiffin had said earlier this week that some of the three were taken off tentatively while other players' situations were resolved.

USC is now waiting only on the status of incoming freshman Darreus Rogers, a receiver from Carson, Calif., who has yet to be cleared for competition by the NCAA.

If Rogers is not permitted to join the Trojans this fall, USC could offer its last scholarship to another walk-on, such as Kyle Negrete, who punted for the team last season without a scholarship.

Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com

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