On the same day the NCAA handed down sanctions to USC, Trojan freshman sensation Dillon Baxter informed his school’s compliance department that five schools — Florida, Alabama, Oregon, Washington and Fresno State — had illegally contacted him.
Four of those five schools — with Fresno State being the lone exception as far as we know — issued very swift and very public denials that anything untoward had happened as it concerns Baxter. It’s been nearly four weeks since the accusations first surfaced, and in the interim there’s been nothing but crickets chirping on this story’s front.
Until now, of course.
According to Pete Thamel of the New York Times, USC athletic director (for now) Mike Garrett sent a letter to Florida officials apologizing for the reports, saying they were untrue. Garrett also apologized for “any inconvenience or embarrassment” the situation has caused Florida.
There was no mention as to whether the same letter was sent out or was planned to be sent out to the other four schools involved, or if this apology was specific to the Gators.
Somehow, though, we get the feeling that this won’t be the last we’ve heard of this story in the coming hours and days and that letters to the remaining schools are forthcoming.
And then either Baxter or USC’s compliance department — or both — will have some serious explaining to do.
UPDATED 10:31 p.m. ET: As expected, reports are beginning to trickle in of other schools receiving a letter of apology from USC.
According to Gentry Estes of the Mobile Press-Register, Alabama has received the same written-form mea culpa from Garrett as their SEC counterparts Florida did.
“I have spoken with Mr. Baxter and he has now confirmed that he did not receive a call from your institution,” Garrett wrote to Tide athletic director Mal Moore. “Therefore, USC has no intention of pursuing this matter further.
“I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused to you and your institution.”
Again, somebody from USC has some serious explaining to do as to how this became a situation in the first place. And a simple “oops, our bad” will not suffice.