Reporting from Tempe, Ariz. — After a nearly four-year investigation that expanded from one sport to another and involves some of the most prominent names in its storied sports history, USC finally goes before the NCAA infractions committee Thursday.
The 10-member committee convenes to determine whether alleged violations in USC's football and basketball programs took place and, if so, whether they constituted a lack of institutional control.
"My understanding is this one might be a pretty long deal," Tom Yeager, a former NCAA infractions committee member, said of the hearing.
USC has already self-imposed sanctions against its basketball program for violations that occurred during O.J. Mayo's one-season stay with the Trojans in 2007-08. The school also faces allegations about its football program that were first reported in 2006. Athletic Director Mike Garrett, the university's compliance director and faculty athletic representative, attorneys, and school President Steven Sample are expected to be among USC's contingent at the hearing. Former basketball coach Tim Floyd plans to attend, his attorney said; former football coach Pete Carroll also is expected to appear.
The NCAA investigation began in March 2006, when reports surfaced that the family of Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush had lived in a San Diego area home that was owned by a would-be marketer who planned to be part of a group that represented Bush when he turned pro.
Bush also is alleged to have received thousands of dollars in cash and benefits while playing for the Trojans. Bush has said that neither he nor his family did anything wrong.
The Mayo inquiry began in May 2008 after a former associate told ESPN that the star player received cash and other benefits from Rodney Guillory, an event promoter who helped guide Mayo to USC.
USC officials and the NCAA have declined to comment specifically about the case or the hearing. USC's stature as one of the most successful programs in college sports will not influence how the committee treats the case, infractions committee chairman Paul Dee said.
"Every school thinks it is high profile," Dee said. "There is no difference."
Below is a timeline of events that led to USC's appearance before the NCAA infractions committee: