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Now There's a New USC Investigation : College football: Texas recruit said Trojans will 'do anything . . . and bend the rules.'

August 11, 1995|MARYANN HUDSON and ELLIOTT ALMOND | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

A week after the Pacific 10 Conference initiated an investigation involving USC star wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, a recent high school star has accused the football program of recruiting irregularities.

Clarence Martin, a star defensive lineman from Oceanside El Camino High who chose Texas over USC, told the Austin American-Statesman at practice earlier this week that USC players offered to give him shoes and jackets and that the school will "do anything to get players, and bend the rules."

Martin also said that David Robinson, the Trojans' tight-end coach and son of Coach John Robinson, made illegal overtures.

John Robinson said Thursday that the school, when told about the newspaper story, had initiated and completed an internal investigation into the charges and sent its findings to the NCAA. The school said it will also notify the Pac-10.

"The incident involved the exchange of used personal clothing between one of our players and the recruit," Robinson said in a statement.

Martin, when contacted by The Times on Thursday, denied making the allegations.

"That didn't even come out of my mouth," Martin said. "It is something the [Austin] paper wrote and none of it's true. I am already here [at Texas], why would I try to rag on some other school?"

Kirk Bohls, the American-Statesman sportswriter who wrote the story, told The Times on Thursday night that he had taped the majority of the interview with Martin. He said the interview lasted about 20 minutes and that Martin had initiated the conversation about USC's recruiting practices. Bohls played the tape for Times reporters, who were able to confirm the statements printed in the American-Statesman.

Martin told The Times that he had already signed at Texas when he traded with USC defensive tackle Darrell Russell, a longtime friend, for a couple of USC jerseys last December.

"I was up there [at USC] to visit him [Russell] and he gave me two shirts and I gave him a pair of my slacks," Martin said. "We grew up together in San Diego."

Martin said Thursday that he decided not to attend USC because he did not feel comfortable there, not because of questionable recruiting.

"My [Texas] coaches told me that the reporter set me up . . . " Martin said.

USC also is awaiting the outcome of a Pac-10 investigation into allegations that Johnson, a senior, took money from an agent. Johnson told Pac-10 investigators that he received $200 from Tim Shannon, a Laguna Hills agent and former USC football player, while attending West Los Angeles College in 1993.

But Johnson said he received the money because he and Shannon have been friends for 16 years. If so, officials probably will determine there was not a violation.

Under NCAA rules, athletes who are found to have accepted cash or other gifts from sports agents can lose their eligibility.

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