Reason To Be Skeptical Of New USC Allegations?

When news broke this week that Tim Floyd personally handed money over to O.J. Mayo’s handler to help seal the deal to make him a Trojan, no one really batted an eye. Because, after all, it’s USC. Any hints of shady business are just taken as gospel.

O.J. Mayo and Tim Floyd

But shouldn’t more people be questioning the latest allegations, when the motives of the source — to say nothing of the facts themselves — are more than a little dodgy? One of Mayo’s USC teammates has some serious questions.

Chris Penrose was a walk-on before and during Floyd’s tenure, and served as a recruiting host; kind of a big brother to new players like Mayo. And he says that former Mayo associate Louis Johnson’s allegations that Floyd gave $1000 to Rodney Guillory are just plain ludicrous.

He’s saying it happened in broad daylight in Beverly Hills, a place where he could be recognized. That’s what doesn’t make any sense.

(Snarky aside: how stereotypically USC of him is it to assume that in a city of 4 million, everybody knows and cares about Tim Floyd?)

He’s saying it happened in Beverly Hills. If something like that were to go down, why would it be in Beverly Hills, which is right next to UCLA? I’ve seen Coach Howland walking up and down that street [Rodeo Drive] many, many times during the day. You have UCLA students walking down there all the time.

He does make a good point there. If there’s anyone who’d seize on USC violations, it’s those kids from Westwood. Penrose also pokes some holes in Johnson’s trustworthiness as a witness:

You have to look at the source. Look at the guy who’s saying all this. This guy [Johnson] has provided no direct facts, no evidence … We’re taking the word of a guy who’s leaching on to a 17- or -18-year-old kid, hoping to reap the benefits of O.J. Mayo playing in the NBA? Louis Johnson is like a guy whose girlfriend just left him for another guy. He’s so [angry], he’s trying to take down his girlfriend, ruin her reputation and the reputation of that guy she left him for. It’s just a scorched earth policy. He’s going down, and he’s taking everybody down with him.

Others have pointed out that the real scorched earth policy is the NBA’s age limit, which keeps kids from getting paid — or is supposed to, anyway — and taints everyone in their wake. But for all the issues with the rule, there’s plenty of freshmen every year who get through their one and done without a trail of accusations. And considering the NCAA, FBI and IRS are allegedly investigating Guillory and USC, I’m not about to automatically let them off the hook. But there’s something to be said for turning on your bulls**t detector when new allegations emerge.