Former USC coach Tim Floyd, who abruptly left the Trojans' bench in June as allegations about the improper recruiting of O.J. Mayo surfaced, said Wednesday that his departure was related to his deteriorating relationship with athletic director Mike Garrett and had nothing to do with the allegations, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reported.
Floyd, now a New Orleans Hornets assistant, and Mayo, who played for Floyd at USC and now starts for the Memphis Grizzlies, shared a hug before the two teams tipped off Wednesday night in New Orleans.
That relationship was at the center of USC's internal probe into the Trojans' recruiting of Mayo, which led to the program's self-imposing of sanctions, including a postseason ban for this season and vacating all of USC's wins from 2007-08 -- Mayo's one season playing for Floyd and the Trojans.
Floyd resigned in June 2009 after allegations surfaced that he paid $1,000 to Mayo associate Rodney Guillory, who helped steer Mayo to USC.
"Why I left was not in any way an admission of guilt," Floyd said, according to the Times-Picayune. "It was a complete testament to a lack of support by my administration and how we were treated after four years of doing everything the right way. And that is what I've gone on record as saying.
"The day the story broke, my athletic director called me and asked me where I was," Floyd said, according to the report. " ... He asked me if I'd read the story. I said, 'Yes. And I did not do what I'm accused of doing.' Two, 'Where are you?' 'I'm in New Orleans.' The third thing he said was, 'You need to get your ass back to Los Angeles, so I can decide what I'm going to do with you.'"
"That did not register well with me, did not sit well with me, " Floyd added, according to the report. "I always said I would only stay at a place as long as I was wanted there. It was a situation where the athletic director was more worried about himself than our program. Everything we had done to establish that program as one of the top national-level programs in the country was being destroyed from within. Players being released, the treatment of our coaches, the treatment of me as the head coach. ... And at this point in my career, I didn't feel like I needed to stay there and deal with that. I felt I'd done enough over 33 years of being in this business to never have my integrity challenged and did not appreciate it."
Floyd said the relationship was so frayed that he did not speak with Garrett during his last six weeks on the job, according to the report.
"The last six weeks I was there, the only communication I had with my athletic director was through courier," Floyd said, according to the report. "A knock on my door at 10:30 at night with a courier I'd have to sign for something, send it back, then hire an attorney to respond to my boss. Or a knock on my office door, with a courier handing me a letter. Quite frankly, I didn't feel like the other coaches at that university were being treated like I was being treated, and it was all about the protection of the athletic director and his own institutional control investigation."
Garrett could not be reached for comment, the newspaper reported.
Earlier this month, Garrett said Mayo refused to cooperate with USC's investigation into allegations that he accepted improper gifts and benefits while he played for the school during the 2007-08 season.
"No, he has not participated," Garrett told ESPN's Shelley Smith. "But as you read in the paper, he says, you know, 'I love USC' and things like that so, that's about all I know about that."
In May 2008, on ESPN's "Outside The Lines," Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo and Guillory, accused Guillory of providing Mayo with improper benefits while Mayo played for USC.
Mayo, who has avoided commenting on the matter, declined to speak to the Times-Picayune Wednesday.
Mayo's agent, LaPoe Smith, has said Mayo did not take cash or gifts and "was totally in the dark about anything happening inappropriately at USC." He said Mayo, at the time one of the nation's most highly sought recruits, was not induced into attending USC.
On Jan. 3, USC announced that it had self-imposed sanctions on its men's basketball program for violating NCAA rules related to Mayo and his relationship with Guillory, a former runner for BDA Sports Management.
The sanctions, beyond this season's postseason ban and the vacating of wins from 2007-08, also include a reduction in scholarships, restrictions on recruiting, and returning money the school received from participating in the NCAA tournament.
USC is scheduled to appear at a Feb. 19 hearing before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. The NCAA is also investigating whether former Trojans running back and Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush received extra benefits during his sophomore and junior seasons (2004 and 2005).
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.