USC's Dillon Baxter reinstated
LOS ANGELES -- The NCAA has reinstated Southern California freshman tailback Dillon Baxter for this week's game against rival Notre Dame, Trojans coach Lane Kiffin said Wednesday.
USC athletic director Pat Haden had said Tuesday that he expected the NCAA would do so on Wednesday. Haden said Baxter made a $5 donation to a local charity as repayment for a golf-cart ride across campus he took from a certified agent.
USC filed the paperwork with the NCAA Tuesday.
"The hope is that he continues to grow and mature," Kiffin said Wednesday. "He's still young, a true freshman, and he'll just make better decisions, even though I'm sure a lot of people will look at this one as something that could happen to anybody. He wasn't necessarily in the wrong, but it doesn't matter. He's already put himself in a position where there isn't any room for poor judgment."
Baxter was held out of last week's game at Oregon State after a school compliance official saw him take a ride with USC student Teague Egan, chairman of 1st Round Enterprises. Egan is certified by the NFL Players Association.
"We know we have a student who is a registered agent," Haden said. "I don't know how the NFLPA allows that to happen, but he's a registered agent."
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The school investigated the matter and forwarded all its findings to the NCAA, Haden said. USC officials became aware that Egan was an agent and warned him not to provide transportation or other benefits to USC athletes a week before the incident, a development first reported by ESPNLosAngeles.com's Pedro Moura.
"I explained to [Egan] when he was in here the other day, 'These guys may be your friends, you can have friends, but once you become an agent, it's an entirely different relationship,'" Haden said. "'You have to know that and they have to know that.'"
USC coach Lane Kiffin warned the team last week against accepting any extra benefits from Egan or other agents. Former USC linebacker Jordan Campbell, now at Louisville, was listed as an executive of the firm, but his photo and bio have since been removed from the website. Louisville officials are looking into Campbell's involvement.
Baxter, a freshman, is the Trojans' No. 3 rusher with 254 yards and a touchdown on 57 carries.
"He gives us some things that other guys don't," Kiffin said. "It's been an up-and-down season for him, and some of that is his fault, and some our fault. ... The last two days, he has done a really good job of preparation and execution with everything going on. With that behind him, hopefully he can have a good week of work."
USC is under NCAA probation until June 2014 and in the first season of a two-year bowl ban because of extra benefits provided to former tailback Reggie Bush and former basketball guard O.J. Mayo. The Baxter incident is the first NCAA infraction to become public since Haden was hired this summer to succeed Mike Garrett.
"There may be some things we don't know yet, but everything we found out we have disclosed," Haden said. "We are going to be transparent. There's just no hiding the ball at this point. That's one of the reasons I was hired."
Mark Saxon covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com.