USC's Kevin O'Neill denies tampering charges from Rutgers

Jeff Eisenberg
April 11, 2010

As USC awaits the ramifications of the NCAA's investigation into its lack of institutional control, the last thing the Trojans want is to give their critics more ammunition with another violation.

Maybe that's why USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill was so quick to adamantly deny tampering charges that Rutgers reportedly will file regarding the potential transfer of guard Mike Rosario.

"I can assure you that nobody on my staff, nor myself, has talked to him," O’Neill told the Orange County Register late Friday night. "He has not contacted us. I don’t know what that’s all about"

Rosario, the first McDonald's All-American ever to sign with Rutgers, has led the Scarlet Knights in scoring each of his first two seasons. The New Jersey native reportedly intends to transfer as a result of Rutgers on-court struggles and coaching upheaval, and USC would be a logical destination considering close friend and former high school teammate Jio Fontan will become eligible for the Trojans after the fall semester next season.

According to the Gannett New Jersey report, Rutgers intends to try to prevent Rosario from transferring to Kansas or Florida in addition to USC. Rosario, who averaged 16 points a game last season, has not yet obtained his release.