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USC officials expect Dillon Baxter to be reinstated

USC FOOTBALL FYI

Dave Roberts, USC's vice president for compliance, says the freshman tailback probably will be required to repay the value of a golf cart ride on campus. Baxter was suspended for the game against Oregon State.

November 20, 2010|By Gary Klein

Reporting from Corvallis, Ore. — Dave Roberts, USC's vice president for compliance, said Saturday that he expected suspended tailback Dillon Baxter to be reinstated after he repays the value of a golf cart ride on campus.

Baxter did not make the trip to play against Oregon State after school officials discovered that he had accepted a ride from other USC students, one of whom Roberts said is a registered financial advisor with the NFL Players Assn.

Roberts said a USC compliance director saw Baxter riding on a cart emblazoned with a logo for 1st Round Enterprises. Roberts said Teague Egan, who is listed as the chairman and chief executive of the company, was a USC student.

"I believe they hold themselves out as people who want to be in the business of representing athletes with professional sports teams," Roberts said. "Obviously, the sports representation is one that's problematic for us."

The company's website also lists former USC linebacker Jordan Campbell as an executive. Campbell left USC last summer for Louisville after the NCAA handed down sanctions that included a two-year bowl ban. The penalty included an exemption that allowed juniors and seniors to transfer without having to sit out a season.

Roberts said that Campbell was sitting out at Louisville but that USC had notified the school about the situation.

Roberts said Baxter told USC officials that he knew the students who gave him a ride.

"He's telling us that he did not understand that … at least one of them was a person registered with the NFLPA," Roberts said.

Baxter was late for, and did not participate in, practice Thursday after being hospitalized for an unspecified illness and dehydration.

"I think he went to the student health center that day," Roberts said. "I do believe the facts were he wasn't feeling well and that's one reason why he asked these people to give him a ride over. So my understanding is Dillon's view of it was he was asking for a ride from some friends."

USC is also investigating whether other players have had contact with Egan.

"We'll be covering all the corners and making sure that we're satisfied that we've identified any and all contacts this guy's had," Roberts said.

Gable carries

Baxter's absence, and an injury to starter Marc Tyler, who aggravated an ankle sprain, opened the door for reserve tailbacks Allen Bradford and C.J. Gable.

Bradford rushed for 11 yards in five carries, but it was Gable who stood out.

The senior from Sylmar High rushed for a team-high 57 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries. He also had 130 yards in kickoff returns, including a 56-yard return in the third quarter.

Armed and ready

Quarterback Mitch Mustain got his first meaningful playing time after Matt Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain just before the end of the first half.

Mustain has mostly been relegated to mop-up work, holding for kicks and running the two-point conversion team.

"It felt nice to be playing for something," said Mustain, who started eight games as a freshman at Arkansas in 2006.

Mustain completed eight of 17 passes for 60 yards. He was sacked twice and lost a fumble.

"I hope I get another shot at it," he said. "We'll see what happens with Matt, but I'm ready to go."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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