Ben Bolch LOS ANGELES TIMES reports this morning that “USC freshman guard O.J. Mayo may have violated NCAA rules by accepting complimentary tickets from Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony to Monday’s Lakers-Nuggets game at Staples Center.”
The tickets were $230 face value and located near courtside.
The Times really splashed this as “O.J. Is. SCREWED.” but the rules are a little fuzzy on this - and Mayo may not be in trouble (Anthony with Nuggets fans is a different story though).
As noted by the Times report, “NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.3 states that student-athletes may not receive ‘free or reduced-cost admission to professional athletics contests from professional sports organizations, unless such services also are available to the student body in general.’”
Anthony plays for a pro sports organization but does he represent the organization at all times in an official capacity. If you live north of Wilshire, you certainly think so. Other folks, probably not so sure. An NCAA compliance director for a west coast school told the Times that Mayo’s move is probably a secondary violation and that he’d have to donate the value of the tickets to charity.
It’s apparent that Bolch, though he doesn’t reveal the source, found out about the tickets in a casual conversation with Mayo. Mayo was relaxed enough to tout the fact that he got the tickets from Anthony and that he was so close to the floor that he “could talk to [television analyst] Reggie Miller and tease him about UCLA.”
Meanwhile, the circumstances of how Mayo got the tickets should thrill Nuggets fans, as he related that he acquired the ducats late Sunday night, the evening before Lakers-Nuggets at Staples Center, “I was talking to him like, ‘Man, you’re out pretty late. You’ve got a game tomorrow against Kobe [Bryant],’ He said, ‘Nah it will be all right.’ And then he asked, ‘You want to come to the game?’ And I was like, ‘Sure.’“