USC speaks to NCAA investigations

6/11/2009 - USC Trojans

USC broke its silence Thursday night on the NCAA investigations into violations relating to former athletes Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, if only to defend itself against recent stories that it was seemingly hiding its head in the sand while major allegations against the athletic department were being tossed around in the media and elsewhere.

The statements came from Todd Dickey, USC senior vice president for Administration, and Mike Garrett, USC's athletic director, and the general gist is that that school is actively participating in the investigations and is fully cooperating with the NCAA and the Pac-10.

"We have already interviewed approximately 50 people and spent many hundreds of hours investigating these allegations," Dickey said in the statement. "We have no idea how long this investigation will continue, and no one is more anxious to bring this process to a conclusion than we are -- but we remain committed to getting to the truth."

Dickey said that, contrary to some reports, "USC has participated in every interview -- except those few from which we were excluded. Our exclusion from these interviews mainly stemmed from demands from those making allegations against our student-athletes, insisting that no one from USC be present."

He added that USC has refused media inquiries and remained silent because the case is on-going and NCAA and privacy rules require the university to remain silent.

Dickey did controvert previous reports regarding USC's attempts -- or lack thereof -- to contact Lloyd Lake, a would-be agent who claims he provided Bush with money and gifts, and Louis Johnson, who's been the primary source for allegations against O.J. Mayo.

Said Dickey in the statement, "USC repeatedly asked to participate in the NCAA's interview of Mr. Lake. However, Mr. Lake and his attorneys refused to allow the University to participate in either his interview or the interviews of his relatives. It is correct that USC sent a letter to Mr. Lake's attorney requesting an interview -- which was later obtained by the Los Angeles Times -- but neither Mr. Lake nor his attorney agreed to that request."

As for Johnson, Dickey said, "The statement that USC has not interviewed Louis Johnson is also false. Mr. Johnson has twice been interviewed jointly by USC, the NCAA, and the Pac-10."

Meanwhile, Garrett said that he was eager for the cases to resolve themselves.

"No one wants to find out what happened -- to get to the truth more than me," he said in the statement. "But there is a process -- and that process is dictated by the NCAA rules and making sure that the investigation is conducted in a manner that will ensure that we indeed do get to the truth."

Ted Miller covers college football for ESPN.com