USC to players: Don't attend party
LOS ANGELES -- USC athletic administrators have banned all football players from attending a trip to Las Vegas organized by current NFL player and former Trojans defensive end Everson Griffen this weekend for the Super Bowl, a school spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
Athletic director Pat Haden and vice president for athletic compliance David Roberts sent an e-mail to the team and the same e-mail to all student-athletes Thursday, saying they believed former USC linebacker Jordan Campbell was also behind the trip.
Campbell, the e-mail notes, is or was affiliated with 1st Round Entertainment. 1st Round Entertainment is an event-planning organization run by USC student Teague Egan, a former NFL agent who had his license revoked by the NFL Players Association in December after he was found to have given a free golf cart ride to USC tailback Dillon Baxter.
"Because of the NCAA rules concerning gambling, impermissible extra benefits and the conduct of agents, we believe that there is a significant chance that the eligibility of any student-athlete who participates in such a trip would be jeopardized," Haden and Roberts wrote in the e-mail, which was obtained by ESPNLosAngeles.com. "Therefore, you are not permitted to partake or participate in the Super Bowl Weekend trip that has been arranged and promoted by Mr. Griffen or Mr. Campbell under any circumstances."
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Griffen, a 2010 fourth-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, played in 11 games this season but did not record a sack. Campbell spent the 2010 season at the University of Louisville but did not play for the Cardinals.
Griffen and Campbell advertised and organized the trip through Facebook this week, in all inviting more than 2,000 people -- including a number of current and former USC football players. Campbell also is listed as being in charge of all buses leaving USC on Friday for Las Vegas as part of the trip.
In an e-mail reply to administrators, Griffen denied that Campbell or 1st Round Entertainment were involved in the promotion or planning of the event and requested the athletes be allowed to attend the trip.
"I would like to make it clear that this event has exclusively been financed for and arranged by myself, with no association to Jordan Campbell or 1st Round Entertainment," Griffen wrote on Facebook, adding that all trip participants are required to pay a $100 fee. "Because I have addressed all issues relating to NCAA violations, namely those described in the e-mail sent to your student-athletes, I must ask that you do not prohibit the student-athlete body from attending an event that is operating legally by all NCAA standards."
Shown Griffen's e-mail, the school spokesperson said USC had no further response. Griffen told ESPNLosAngeles.com Thursday night he alone was responsible for the trip.
"I'm a businessman," Griffen wrote in a text message. "I'm trying to start my promoting business, I'm not doing everything at all. Just bring everyone down to Vegas for superbowl weekend for 100 dollars.
"I'm not paying for anything."
Egan also issued a statement.
"I Teague Egan, and 1st Round Enterprises have 100 percent no association with Griffen and his Vegas party," it read. "The only conceived relationship possible is that he was a fraternity brother over two years ago. We in absolutely no way approve, promote, or represent Griffen's actions. I spoke to Dave Roberts by phone late Thursday afternoon to make sure the USC athletics office was aware of our disassociation and position."
Griffen, 23, has been arrested twice within the past week in Los Angeles. On Saturday, he was arrested for public drunkenness. Monday, he was pulled over by police and found to have an invalid license. He then allegedly assaulted an officer and attempted to run from police, after which he was Tasered and arrested for investigation on felony battery.
He is set to appear in court Feb. 25 on the felony battery charge.
Pedro Moura is co-author of the USC blog on ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.