Baxter was deemed ineligible and did not accompany the team Friday on its trip to Oregon State after USC’s compliance office learned he accepted a ride in a golf cart from student Teague Egan on Thursday. Egan is the chairman and CEO of 1st Round Enterprises, according to the agency’s Web site.
Article Tab : USC coach Lane Kiffen, right, has talked to his team regarding contact with 1st Round Enterprises.
USC coach Lane Kiffen, right, has talked to his team regarding contact with 1st Round Enterprises.
The Web site lists Jordan Campbell, a USC linebacker from 2007-09, as a “partner” in the agency, in its entertainment division. The agency does not have any sports clients at this time, according to the site. But Egan’s bio states he has “befriended many athletes on the USC football team.”
Campbell transferred to Louisville in June after falling out of favor with the new coaching staff. He was eligible to play immediately because USC is on NCAA probation. The school’s status with the NCAA makes the Baxter situation and any other ties to 1st Round potentially problematic.
“We have to play this as close to the vest as we can,” USC athletic director Pat Haden said.
David M. Roberts, USC’s vice president of compliance, said his department will interview current members of the team in the coming days to determine whether they had any contact with Egan and his agency. Coach Lane Kiffin already has addressed the squad.
“We are looking into all aspects of it,” Roberts said Saturday before USC faced Oregon State at Reser Stadium. “We do know that obviously they have spoken with Dillon Baxter. We’re looking into what other names may be involved. We’re in the process of finding that out now.
“Obviously we’ll take further action this coming week to make sure there are no other contacts between these people and our players. We’ve advised the players. Lane’s been very good about that. We’re hoping that’s going to be the end of it and that the NCAA will understand that we acted proactively and quickly.”
USC could face further sanctions if players entered into written or verbal agreements for future representation or accepted benefits, per NCAA bylaws. The school is on probation for four years after former star tailback Reggie Bush and his family allegedly accepted about $300,000 in extra benefits from a would-be sports marketer.
Another key factor in this case could be what was said between Egan and the football players he claims to have befriended.
“Theoretically, if someone acted as an adviser and they (the players) were getting advice, that could be an issue,” Roberts said. “If they’re just talking to somebody and that’s all they’re doing is talking … that’s not going to be a problem.”
A member of Roberts’ staff spotted Baxter in the golf cart Thursday; the cart had a “1st Round” logo on it, Roberts said. Baxter arrived late to practice Thursday and did not participate after being hospitalized because of an illness. Roberts said Baxter might have asked for the ride because he was ill, but that Baxter did not realize Egan was registered as an agent with the NFL Players Association. Because of that, the ride was determined to be an extra benefit in violation of NCAA rules.
USC reported the Baxter incident to the NCAA on Friday. Baxter must repay the value of the ride – estimated at $5-$10 – and once that has been documented, the school is hopeful that the freshman will be reinstated.