APNewsBreak: SC spent $535,000 in NCAA case

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By PETE IACOBELLI, Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina spent more than $535,000 to defend itself in its recent infractions case with the NCAA.

The school said Wednesday it spent $535,667.50 in connection with the NCAA investigation. Last Friday, the governing body placed South Carolina on three years of probation and said it failed to properly monitor its athletic department. But the NCAA did not impose additional penalties outside those the school placed on itself in its December response to the NCAA's allegations.

The NCAA found Gamecock athletes received more than $59,000 in improper benefits for staying at an area hotel at a reduced rate and for their involvement with a mentoring group.

The information was released in response to a freedom of information request from The Associated Press.

University spokeswoman Luanne Lawrence said the NCAA investigation costs were paid by funds from the USC Educational Foundation using an athletics account and with private funds.

There was no breakdown of costs immediately available.

The university hired attorney William H King III with the Alabama-based law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White to represent the school before the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

The school took a delegation of 11 people, including football coach Steve Spurrier, out to Los Angeles in February for its NCAA committee hearing.

The NCAA found several South Carolina athletes lived at The Whitney Hotel a few miles from campus, paying less than $15 a night each for a two-bedroom suite. The NCAA also said some athletes were allowed to defer payment, in essence receiving impermissible loans from the hotel, which the NCAA said was a booster for the university.

The NCAA also cited South Carolina for its involvement with the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation, out of Delaware. The NCAA said South Carolina received more than $8,000 in extra benefits.

The foundation's president, Steve Gordon, and treasurer Kevin Lahn were both graduates of South Carolina and ruled boosters by the NCAA for their role in the recruiting of receiver Damiere Byrd.

Lahn also paid for a $3,350 dinner cruise on nearby Lake Murray for several prospects that was attended by track coach Curtis Frye and 16 members of his program.

Spurrier was not named in any of the violations.

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