USC’s Floyd resigns

Photo Tim Floyd coached Southern Cal for four seasons.
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Tim Floyd has resigned as the head coach of the USC men’s basketball team.

In a move that was first reported by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, Miss., Floyd made the university aware of his intentions in a letter Tuesday. The move comes less than one month after a Yahoo! Sports report detailing an alleged $1,000 payment from Floyd to a known “runner” with ties to former Trojans guard O.J. Mayo. Such a payment would constitute a major violation of NCAA rules. Floyd didn’t address the allegation in his letter to USC athletic director Mike Garrett, which was obtained by the Clarion-Ledger and also released by USC in a statement.

“As of 1 p.m. today, I am resigning as head basketball coach at the University of Southern California,” the letter said, according to the Ledger. “I deeply appreciate the opportunity afforded me by the university, as well as the chance to know and work with some of the finest young men in college athletics. Unfortunately, I no longer feel I can offer the level of enthusiasm to my duties that is deserved by the university, my coaching staff, my players, their families, and the supporters of Southern Cal. I always promised myself and my family that if I ever felt I could no longer give my full enthusiasm to a job, that I should leave it to others who could. I intend to contact my coaching staff and my players in coming days and weeks to tell them how much each of them means to me. I wish the best to USC and to my successor.”

The USC athletic department confirmed the move in a statement later Tuesday. “Athletic Director Mike Garrett accepted Mr. Floyd’s resignation and said that he will quickly begin the search for a new head basketball coach,” the statement read. Garrett was quoted as saying, “I accept Tim’s decision and wish him well.”

The resignation comes after heavy offseason losses for the basketball program. USC saw four players with remaining eligibility declare for the NBA draft, as well as the defection of recruit Noel Johnson, who asked to be released from his letter of intent following the Yahoo! Sports report. It also marks yet another twist in the NCAA’s investigation into the USC football and men’s basketball programs.

Floyd failed to return multiple calls after a May 12 Yahoo! Sports report in which Louis Johnson, a former member of Mayo’s inner circle, alleged the coach had given Rodney Guillory $1,000 in cash. Guillory, a man with known ties to sports agencies and who had been tied to previous NCAA investigations, is the man who reportedly delivered Mayo to the USC basketball program.

In separate interviews, Johnson described for the NCAA and multiple federal agencies – including the FBI, IRS and U.S. Attorney’s office – a meeting in Beverly Hills between Floyd and Guillory on Feb. 14, 2007. In those interviews, Johnson alleged that Guillory told him they were going to pick up money from Floyd. After dropping Guillory off and greeting Floyd outside a strip of street cafes, Johnson said he circled the block in Guillory’s vehicle and then picked him up again after approximately 15 minutes. Upon re-entering the vehicle, Johnson alleged that Guillory produced an envelope containing $100 bills, and described the amount inside as “a grand.”

Johnson also told Yahoo! Sports that Floyd and Guillory exchanged multiple cell phone calls while determining where the meeting would occur. Guillory refused to speak to Yahoo! Sports when approached at his residence prior to the May 12 report.

The NCAA declined to comment on the status of its investigation into the USC football and men’s basketball programs. The probe began in April of 2006, after a Yahoo! Sports report documented that Heisman Trophy-winning running back Reggie Bush and his family received cash, gifts and a house from would-be marketing agents. The NCAA investigation widened to include the men’s basketball program in May of 2008, when Johnson told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” of alleged extra benefits given to Mayo by Guillory. Sources interviewed by the NCAA have also told Yahoo! Sports that in recent months, the probe has begun to focus more on the compliance aspects of USC’s athletic program.

“The University is cooperating fully in the continuing investigation with the NCAA and Pac-10 into all allegations of NCAA and Pac-10 rules violations at USC,” USC vice president Todd Dickey said in a statement Tuesday. “The university, the NCAA and Pac-10 have jointly conducted interviews of approximately 50 witnesses. No conclusions have yet been reached. … At this point, it would be both inappropriate and premature to comment further.”

Floyd, 55, went 85-50 over four seasons at USC with three NCAA tournament appearances.

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Updated Tuesday, Jun 9, 2009