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USC Cleared by Pac-10 After Probe Into Class

Academics: No NCAA violations are found in wake of allegations of preferential treatment for athletes.


The Pacific 10 Conference has sent a letter to USC officials saying a yearlong investigation into allegations of preferential treatment of athletes in the classroom did not turn up an NCAA violation.

David Price, associate commissioner of the Pac-10 and chief investigator, confirmed Thursday that the letter had been sent and said the probe involved interviews with "33 or 34" members of the class, "Tutoring Elementary, Secondary or University Students," plus athletic department academic-support personnel.

"We ran the gamut," said Price, adding that he was assisted by USC's faculty athletic representative, Noel Ragsdale. "We found inconsistent and contradictory testimony."

He added that some individuals contradicted their own stories.

A Times investigation had found that in the spring semester of 1995, 30 of the 40 students in Professor Vernon Broussard's class had been athletes, that all but one had gotten A's and that two of the A's had gone to athletes who did not attend class.

It also found that academic-support people associated with the athletic department had improperly steered athletes into the class.

An internal probe of the class at USC had turned up no wrongdoing, but another was ordered by Richard Ide, the school's vice provost for undergraduate studies after The Times' investigation in March 1996. At that time, USC placed the class under closer scrutiny and, after spring semester 1996, discontinued it.

"That did not factor in the investigation," Price said. "It might have, if there had been a penalty phase, but there was none because we did not find a violation."

Bob Lane, USC's general counsel and point person of the school's own investigation, said that its report concurred with that of the Pac-10.

"I'm pleased with the fact that they have decided to take no future action in the matter," he said.

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