You guys aren’t gonna believe this, so you better sit down. Are you sitting down?
Yeah, well, here goes: O.J. Mayo might have received gifts and cash during his one year of playing basketball at Southern Cal. In other words, O.J. Mayo played one year of basketball at USC.
Louis Johnson, who was a part of Mayo’s inner circle until recently, said Mayo accepted around $30,000 in cash and gifts during the past four years from Rodney Guillory, a 43-year-old Los Angeles event promoter. In addition to cash, the gifts included a flat-screen television for Mayo’s dorm room, cell phone service, a hotel room, clothes, meals and airline tickets for Mayo’s friends and a relative, according to Johnson, others with knowledge of the gifts and store receipts.
When Mayo was in high school in Ohio and West Virginia, Guillory was receiving monthly payments from the Northern California sports agency Bill Duffy Associates. Johnson said 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.
In exchange for the payments and gifts, Mayo entered a verbal agreement to allow BDA to represent him when he turned pro, Johnson told “Outside the Lines.”
Even 20 years ago, it was inconceivable that the Olympics would allow professional athletes to compete in their games. Yet today, we not only allow them to compete, but expect them to do so. The NBA’s age limit, which prevented Mayo from getting a legitimate check and subjecting him to this underground influence, was a step in the wrong direction.
Here’s hoping a time will come where these guys can get market value for their services without pretending to be students, and soon.