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September 20, 2011

Spurrier: I follow rules



After not speaking about it on Monday night, Steve Spurrier knew he was going to get asked about it on Tuesday.

So he answered.

"It involved what it said and involved the booster involvement," Spurrier said about the NCAA's letter of allegations, which was delivered to South Carolina on Monday. "They did mention the name of one of our coaches, G.A. Mangus, not that he had broken any rules, but he had a prior relationship with the guys up there in the Philly, New Jersey area, so that's why his name was mentioned.

"I hope we're not in serious trouble. I don't think we're going to be. You work these things out and do what they say. That's what our university is doing."

The letter alleges that USC had a failure to monitor within its compliance department when the NCAA discovered that 10 football players had been living at The Whitney hotel at a reduced rate, and on pay deferment plans. While compliance director Jennifer Stiles signed off on the agreements, which would seemingly put USC's program in the clear, the players were technically receiving impermissible benefits. If they competed in any games - and one player, who stayed at The Whitney for over a year, played in 12 of the 13 games in 2009 - that could put the wins the player participated in in danger of being vacated.

Nothing will be settled for quite some time. USC has until Dec. 14 to answer the letter and present the NCAA's requested material, and then a group including Spurrier, Stiles, athletic director Eric Hyman, Mangus, faculty representative Zach Kelehear, track coach Curtis Frye and assistant men's basketball coach Mike Boynton will appear before the Committee on Infractions in February.

Frye and Boynton will attend due to the other allegation in the letter, which deals with the Student-Athlete Mentoring Foundation and its leaders. Steve Gordon and Kevin Lahn, USC graduates and the co-founders of S.A.M., were alleged to have provided impermissible benefits to several recruits, knew Mangus from his coaching stops before USC and would contact coaches like Frye and Boynton to gauge their interest in recruiting athletes in the foundation.

Spurrier, who has always been very proud of his spotless NCAA record as a head coach, would not comment on whether or not he knew Gordon or Lahn, and whether or not he knew about Mangus' relationship with the two. Despite the letter alleging that the two provided several recruits with benefits, only one - wide receiver Damiere Byrd, who was given a four-game suspension this year - ever came to USC.

"Has my name been mentioned doing anything wrong? Huh? Has it?," Spurrier retorted. "My name's not on that sheet. I follow the rules as closely as I possibly can and if I ever break one, I turn myself in."

Spurrier pointed out that he turned himself in during the recruitment of current left tackle Kyle Nunn, when he visited Nunn at Sumter High School. Asking an innocent question about whether or not Nunn was going to play high-school basketball that year, Nunn replied yes and that he had a game that night; Spurrier knew right away that he had committed an accidental secondary violation of seeing a recruit on the day he plays a game.

"That's the one violation that's on my record here," Spurrier said. "That's what you call an accidental secondary violation, and I don't know of any coach who doesn't have one of those."

Spurrier has been requested to appear before the infractions committee, something he says he doesn't mind doing since he did it when he first took over at Florida in 1990. The Gators were being investigated for allegations under former coach Galen Hall and were found to be guilty of the coach financing a child-support payment for a player. That cost the Gators the chance to be official SEC champions in 1990, although they had the best record in the league.

"I realize these kind of things can happen," Spurrier said. "I don't think it's embarrassing to get a letter. I think some stuff can happen. Unfortunately, it happened and we'll try to handle it the very best we can."

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