SBD/Issue 161/Collegiate Sports

Former Associate Claims Mayo Took Gifts, BDA Sports Involved

Former Associate Says Mayo Took
Cash, Gifts From Agency While At USC
Louis Johnson, a former associate of former USC G and top NBA Draft prospect O.J. Mayo, told ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” Sunday that Mayo “received thousands of dollars in cash, clothes and other benefits in apparent violation of NCAA rules while he was still in high school and during his one year in college,” according to ESPN.com. When Mayo was in high school in Ohio and West Virginia, L.A.-based event promoter Rodney Guillory “was receiving monthly payments” from BDA Sports. Johnson said that BDA “provided Guillory with around $200,000 before Mayo arrived at USC, and that Guillory used most of the money to support his own lifestyle but also gave a portion of it to Mayo.” Johnson said that “in exchange for the payments and gifts, Mayo entered a verbal agreement to allow BDA to represent him when he turned pro.” Mayo said that he had “no knowledge of money going from BDA to him.” BDA in a statement said agent Bill Duffy “met O.J. for the first time shortly before O.J. selected BDA as his agency. Neither [agent] Calvin Andrews, Bill Duffy, nor any other BDA employee engaged in any conduct that could have remotely jeopardized O.J. Mayo’s eligibility. Everything in the recent report that suggests otherwise is false.” Duffy added, “We didn’t give O.J. one dime. … We’ve got 80 clients who we put our heart and soul working for and we’re not in a position where we have to buy clients” (ESPN.com, 5/11). In L.A., Ben Bolch writes, “Supplying expense receipts and money transfer orders to corroborate his account, Johnson said Guillory was acting as a representative for [BDA].” Johnson said that he and Guillory “traveled to several of Mayo’s high school games” when Mayo was a senior at Huntington High in West Virginia “to build a relationship on behalf of BDA Sports Management in hopes that the phenom would eventually sign with the agency.” Former Reebok, adidas and Nike exec Sonny Vaccaro “did not believe Mayo was complicit in any misconduct.” Vaccaro: “He’s a bright kid. I would be shocked if something was happening and he was part of it” (L.A. TIMES, 5/12).

SCHOOL TIES: Sources said that USC "was wary of Guillory's involvement but realized any attempts to completely ban him might jeopardize Mayo's commitment." In L.A., Scott Wolf writes USC's compliance office "banned Guillory from receiving tickets to Trojans basketball games for the 2007-08 season." But Guillory and Johnson were "present in the locker room at USC games the year before Mayo arrived, and Guillory frequently visited the basketball offices" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 5/12). ESPN.com’s Pat Forde wrote USC “should be crushed by the NCAA, the Pacific-10 and its own administration.” Forde: “You can plead ignorance once -- and even that was almost impossible to believe -- in the case” of former USC RB Reggie Bush. But “plead it twice? Um, no.” You “take the Bush allegations, add a side of Mayo and ask the question: Has there ever been a more textbook definition of ‘lack of institutional control?’” (ESPN.com, 5/11).

AGE LIMIT: YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel writes as “brazenly dumb as the entire O.J. Mayo/USC fiasco is, the entire circumstance was created when [NCAA President] Myles Brand decided to sell the NCAA’s soul to [NBA Commissioner] David Stern’s 19-year-old age limit.” Brand “welcomed the one-and-done phenom for whatever ratings bump they provide. In doing so, he stomped on everything his organization claims to stand for -- education, amateurism, fairness, et al. He made the likes of O.J. Mayo inevitable” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/12).

REPORT CARD: CBSSPORTS.com’s Gary Parrish writes of the “Outside The Lines” piece on Mayo, “Just a brilliant and thorough job of reporting” by ESPN’s Kelly Naqi (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/12). In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones added, “There is no doubt about this: Naqi continues to set the standard for investigative sports reporting. I’d hate to see her knocking on my door with a microphone and a camera, but I love seeing her on my television. Simply put, she’s the best in the business” (TAMPABAY.com, 5/11).

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