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UA dodges fallout over Floyd’s alleged cash for Mayo

The Associated Press


The Associated Press

In the case of USC basketball coach Tim Floyd’s recruitment of O.J. Mayo, it might come down to a case of he said vs. he said.

Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo’s, has told federal and NCAA investigators that Floyd gave $1,000 in cash to a man who helped steer the star player to the Trojans, according to Johnson’s attorney, Anthony V. Salerno.

Whatever happens, there was a sense of relief at the University of Arizona, which had courted Floyd this spring before hiring Xavier coach Sean Miller.

UA athletic director Jim Livengood denied he had offered Floyd the job. But he said he had asked Floyd about the reports and his relationship with Mayo.

“I asked him the question,” Livengood said. “He said there’s nothing to that. So end of question. We didn’t go any farther.”

Floyd has yet to respond to the allegations, which first appeared in a Yahoo! Sports report.

“That’s really the whole thing: who do you believe?” Salerno told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Tim Floyd had a motive to pay O.J. Mayo to get there. Louis really doesn’t have any motives. He doesn’t have an ax to grind against Tim Floyd.”

Salerno said he thinks investigators believe Johnson’s story. Johnson has told them that he accompanied Mayo’s handler, Rodney Guillory, to a meeting with Floyd at a Beverly Hills cafe on Valentine’s Day 2007, and that Guillory emerged with an envelope stuffed with $100 bills.

“I don’t think they’ve expressed any indication that they don’t believe him,” Salerno said, referring to NCAA investigators. “And for what it’s worth, I think the U.S. government, through the Justice Department, believes him, too.”

Johnson’s account comes as USC deals with allegations that 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush received improper benefits from a sports marketing agent while at USC.

If the NCAA can prove Floyd paid Guillory for delivering Mayo to USC, that would be a major violation. The Trojans could be forced to forfeit victories, and could face recruiting restrictions and lose scholarships.

USC athletic department spokesman Tim Tessalone said the school could not comment on an ongoing NCAA investigation.

Mayo played one season at USC, leading the Trojans to a 21-12 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. He was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies with the third overall pick. He was runner-up for the NBA’s top rookie award to Chicago’s Derrick Rose.

Salerno said he wonders why Floyd has not disputed Johnson’s account if it’s false.

“Tim Floyd easily could have said, ‘That’s baloney, it’s slanderous and not true, I never did that,’” Salerno said. “In my opinion, it’s kind of damning, his being silent. It’s not like this is a criminal case for him. It’s not like this is a subtle allegation. It’s black and white.

Pima relay team shines

Citizen Staff Report

The Pima Community College women’s 3,200-meter relay team set a meet record with a time of 9:20.93 at the two-day Region I Championship in Mesa.

The team of Brittany Delker (Desert View High), Danielle Higgins (Benson), Cherise Price (Catalina) and Leandra Treusch (Catalina Foothills) already had qualified for the national junior college championships May 21-23 in Hutchinson, Kan.

Monica Honyumptewa (Hopi) won the 10,000 meters in 44:59.47, while Priscilla Urquides (Tucson High) took second in the 400 hurdles (1:08.16). Both qualified for the nationals meet.

On the men’s side, Jeremiah Korn (Sahuaro) earned a regional title in the men’s hammer throw of 151-7 and a spot in nationals.

Korn qualified for the national meet earlier this season in the shot put.

Matt Lundstrom (Mountain View) took second in the 10,000 meters (33:25.48) to also qualify for nationals.

Both Pima squads were in third place going into Thursday’s final day of Region I competition.

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