An internal investigation of the University of Southern California men's basketball program found NCAA violations that occurred during the 2007–2008 season. And, in an effort to quell any punishments from the NCAA, the university handed its mired-in-turmoil hoops team severe penalties of its own.
USC banned its men's basketball team from play for this post-season and reduced the number of scholarships available for the team for the 2009–2010 and 2010–2011 school years, the Daily Trojan reports. USC will refuse invitations to any post-season tournament, whether it's the Pac-10 conference tournament or the NCAA tournament, the National Invitational Tournament, or the College Basketball Invitational. Furthermore, USC will cut the number of coaches allowed on the recruiting trail by one and limit the amount of hours that USC coaches can spend recruiting by 20 this upcoming off-season. And in maybe the biggest punch in the gut for the seniors from the 2007–2008 team, USC will vacate all 21 of its victories and return the money the team received for playing in the Pac-10 and NCAA tournaments.
The school's investigation found that heralded freshman guard O. J. Mayo received gifts from USC booster Rodney Guillory while Mayo attended USC. The Guillory-Mayo relationship came to light when one of Mayo's former confidants, Louis Johnson, said that Guillory funneled some $200,000 in cash that he received from an area sports management agency to Mayo, the Los Angeles Times reports.
With the findings and punishment delivered, USC hopes to avoid any further NCAA-imposed sanctions on its men's basketball program. It doesn't help that USC is also dealing with accusations that current football player Joe McKnight and former player Reggie Bush received improper gifts.
"USC takes allegations of NCAA rules violations very seriously. When allegations were made regarding our men's basketball program, we immediately began an investigation and worked closely with the NCAA and the Pac-10 in an attempt to ascertain the truth," USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett said in a statement. "When we've done something wrong, we have an obligation to do something about it, and that is exactly what we are doing here."