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Walters' USC Comeback Is Delayed by New Probe

College football: Anonymous call to NCAA results in tailback's suspension being extended to include Saturday's game at Houston.

September 20, 1996|EARL GUSTKEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The yearlong suspension of USC tailback Shawn Walters was extended another week Thursday, days before he was to have played against Houston on Saturday.

USC, saying an anonymous caller had told the NCAA of new accusations against the senior tailback, said it would hold Walters out of the Houston game while it investigates the new charge.

He was suspended for the equivalent of one full season last year after he was charged with taking up to $15,900 from Oxnard sports agent Robert Troy Caron. That suspension ended with last Saturday's USC-Oregon State game, and Walters was to have played Saturday in the Astrodome.

Trojan Coach John Robinson seemed angered by the timing of a possible new charge against Walters, but added: "His slate has to be clean before he can come back."

The tip, USC sources said, is related to the Walters-Caron case, and possibly to a former Walters roommate, Melvin Nunnery, who was believed to have delivered money from Caron to Walters.

"Someone waited until the very week he was eligible to play again to come forward with something he said happened during the 1995 season," Robinson said.

One team source said it was possible the matter could be resolved in a day or two, that Walters might be cleared to play Saturday.

However, in a brief news release issued Thursday afternoon, USC general counsel Robert Lane indicated the USC investigation "should be concluded in the next two weeks."

Robinson emphasized it was USC's and not the NCAA's decision to sit Walters down one more game. The team has a bye the weekend after Saturday's game.

Walters, who was not at practice Thursday, attended Tuesday's USC football luncheon and seemed delighted to be back on the playing roster.

He said then he had been cleared to play by the NCAA on Monday, adding that his family had raised $1,500, a kind of down payment on the $3,416 the NCAA agreed he needed to pay to make restitution for his dealings with Caron.

All the money is to be donated to a charity of Walters' choice. He said he will pay off the balance during the school year.

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