According to USC Trojans athletic director Pat Haden, freshman running back Dillon Baxter will be reinstated Wednesday by the NCAA for Saturday's game against the rival Notre Dame Fighting Irish just one week after accepting a golf-cart ride from an NFLPA certified agent. Haden told reporters Tuesday that Baxter made a $5 donation to a local charity as repayment for the lift, which, in the minds of the folks in Indianapolis, apparently classifies as an "extra benefit."
The paperwork was filed Tuesday.
"You would anticipate that he's going to be eligible," said Haden in a story published by Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. Baxter did not travel to last week's game at Oregon State after a school compliance official saw him take a ride from USC student Teague Egan, chairman and CEO of 1st Round Enterprises and a certified contract adviser with the NFLPA.
The discovery was subsequently relayed to USC Vice President of Compliance David M. Roberts, where the decision was then made to declare Baxter ineligible, preventing him from making the trip to Corvallis, Oregon. Despite the suspension, however, Egan and 1st Round Entertainment, which has also listed former USC linebacker Jordan Campbell as an executive, denies any wrongdoing.
"We did nothing wrong, broke no rules and have never given any players anything," Egan said in a statement published by the Daily Trojan on Nov. 21. But USC officials disagree with Egan's declaration.
According to the school, Roberts and senior associate athletic directors Mark Jackson and J.K. McKay met Egan, prior to Thursday's incident and told him that a golf cart ride would constitute an NCAA violation. "Approximately one week [before Baxter's golf cart ride], USC officials saw Egan in a golf cart on campus and met with him to inquire into his contacts with USC student-athletes," Roberts told Pedro Moura of ESPN Los Angeles. "At that time, Egan was asked not to provide any transportation or other benefits to student-athletes."
Egan, apparently, did not take heed to the warning. "To me, a golf cart ride wasn't an extra benefit, since I give 15-20 rides a day to all my friends to and from class," Egan said. "The question is would they consider riding on the handle bars of a bicycle against the rules? Say we all wanted to go to the movies together, would we have to take separate cars, and the player ride by himself? ... I wouldn't even buy a player's ticket to that movie. But a ride?"
Golf-carts ride weren't the first contact Egan had with players, though.
Photos revealed Sunday on SB Nation's Conquest Chronicles, showed USC players in attendance at a May 2009 party at the J Lounge hosted by Egan and 1st Round, raising questions regarding the relationship between Egan and players. Egan claims to have "befriended" many current and former USC athletes, namely Campbell.
Schools officials, however, claim that the players' attendance did not result in a violation of NCAA rules.
"Both parties were open to all USC students, said Roberts in a statement published by Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times. "Our investigation revealed that USC student-athletes who attended the functions paid the same posted cover and refreshment charges that were paid by all attendees."
Baxter, who was enrolled in high school at the time, was not in attendance, and told school officials over the weekend he did not know that Egan was an agent. Egan officially became registered with the NFLPA in October 2010.