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USC, Washington looking into recruiting allegations

The SportsXchange

USC and Washington are investigating allegations that Tosh Lupoi, defensive line coach under former Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian, violated NCAA rules, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The Los Angeles Times first reported Wednesday night that USC and Washington were both investigating whether or not Lupoi paid for private tutoring and online classes for a recruit.

According to the Times, the allegations surround the recruitment of Andrew Basham, a former defensive lineman at Lynnwood High in Washington, who signed a letter of intent with the Huskies last February but did not qualify academically to enroll.

The newspaper reported that Mike Davis, a throwing coach who helped Basham win a state shot put title, said Lupoi gave him $3,000 to cover private tutoring for Basham through a test preparation company. Davis said he also received $1,500 from Lupoi to reimburse Basham's father for online classes Andrew could use to raise his grade-point average.

Lupoi called the allegations "untrue attacks."

"I look forward to an honest & thorough investigation,'' he posted on Twitter.

The Los Angeles Times reported that USC has determined Sarkisian, who was hired on Dec. 2 as the new Trojans' coach, had no knowledge of the alleged activity.

"We don't have concerns about Steve's involvement," David Roberts, USC's vice president for athletic compliance, said.

Lupoi was initially considered a candidate to follow Sarkisian from Washington to USC.

This is not the first run-in with the NCAA for Lupoi, considered one of the nation's best recruiters. CBSSports.com first reported in May 2012 that Lupoi was taken off the road during the spring evaluation period because of a self-reported, secondary violation.

Lupoi did not return phone calls from the Los Angeles Times seeking interview requests for the story. Informed by text message that there were allegations he delivered cash on at least two occasions to a go-between to reimburse expenses for tutoring and online classes for Basham, Lupoi said in a text:

"Well that's certainly false. I deny such allegations of violating NCAA rules w/ the recruitment of Andrew Basham."

Lupoi, who played football at California from 2000 to 2005, joined Sarkisian's Washington staff in 2012 after serving as Cal's defensive line coach for four seasons and gaining a reputation as a recruiter. Sarkisian thinks the situation could keep Lupoi from landing a job.

"I learned of the allegations this past Friday and I was obviously surprised by them," Sarkisian said. "I think this potential allegation could effect not only Tosh's future at USC but moving forward anywhere."

Sarkisian has hired three former Washington assistants -- Johnny Nansen, Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon.
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