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USC to stage 'summit' dealing with agent-related issues

The invitation-only conference, scheduled for Tuesday at the Galen Center, appears to be the latest attempt by USC to demonstrate a 'culture of compliance' after NCAA sanctions.

February 08, 2011|By Gary Klein

USC, which has been trying to be proactive in efforts to repair its sullied image in the face of NCAA sanctions, will play host to a conference Tuesday at the Galen Center aimed at fostering a better understanding about issues regarding agents.

The invitation-only event, an "Agent Awareness, Education and Eligibility Summit," will bring together representatives from the NCAA, the Pacific 10 Conference, the Southeastern Conference, the NFL, the NFL Players Assn. and several agents, according to a Monday news release from USC.

The meeting appears to be the latest move by USC to demonstrate to the NCAA that it has adopted the "culture of compliance" that Pat Haden pledged when he succeeded Mike Garrett as the school's athletic director last August.

Haden, USC President Max Nikias and David Roberts, USC's vice president of athletic compliance, visited NCAA headquarters last September to introduce themselves to NCAA officials.

"Obviously, the issue of college student-athletes dealing with agents is a hot-button topic," Haden said in a statement announcing the summit. "We at USC know that firsthand. We decided to organize this summit so that all of us at USC can pick the brains of our peers throughout the Pac-10 and also hear from those on the firing lines at the NCAA and Pac-10, at the NFL and within the agent community.

"Our goal is to gain valuable input in this area as we move forward here at USC, and also to provide a constructive dialogue and exchange of ideas between all of the participants."

USC was the subject of a four-year NCAA investigation that centered on former football player Reggie Bush, former basketball player O.J. Mayo and their involvement with agents and would-be agents. School representatives appeared last month before the NCAA's Infractions Appeals Committee to argue for a reduction in sanctions that were levied last summer. A ruling is expected by March.

Last season, Trojans tailback Dillon Baxter also was ruled temporarily ineligible after he accepted a ride on a golf cart from a USC student who was an agent. The student, Teague Egan, was later decertified by the NFLPA but is appealing the ruling.

Last week, Haden and Roberts sent an e-mail to all USC athletes warning them not to attend a Las Vegas Super Bowl party trip organized by former Trojans football players Everson Griffen and Jordan Campbell. Campbell, according to the e-mail, "is or was" affiliated with an entertainment company owned by Egan.

"Because of the NCAA rules concerning gambling, impermissible extra benefits and the conduct of agents, we believe that there is a significant chance that the eligibility of any student-athlete who participates in such a trip would be jeopardized," the e-mail read. "Therefore, you are not permitted to partake or participate in the Super Bowl Weekend trip that has been arranged and promoted by Mr. Griffen or Mr. Campbell under any circumstances."

Griffen reportedly canceled the trip, posting on his Facebook page that "the NFL has made the decision this event has got to much media coverage and we are not allowed to bus people to Vegas."

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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