NCAA probes USC athlete

Monday, July 19, 2010 6:14 PM
Last updated Thursday, July 22, 2010 11:04 PM
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COLUMBIA  — South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman says the NCAA is investigating a possible rules violation of one of its athletic programs.

Hyman released a statement on Sunday night saying the school has cooperated and will continue working with the NCAA on its inquiry, although did not detail what program was being investigated.

Tight end Weslye Saunders has been identified by various media reports as the target of the investigation. Saunders would not discuss his conversations with the NCAA when reached by phone Monday.

"I don't want to talk right now," he told The Associated Press.

Coach Steve Spurrier told The (Columbia) State that he has no knowledge of Saunders breaking any rules.

"All I know is they had talked to him, and talked to some players at North Carolina. That's all I know," Spurrier told the paper. "Whatever comes (of it), we'll just have to wait and see.

"We're not going to look the other way like possibly Southern California did," Spurrier continued. "We're going to abide by the rules."

Last month, the NCAA hit Southern California with a two-year bowl ban, four years of probation, loss of scholarships and forced the Trojans to forfeit an entire year's games for lack of institutional control for providing improper benefits to athletes.

Hyman, who was out of the office, said through a spokesman Monday he did not want to expand on his earlier statement.

Calls and messages to Spurrier, returning from a celebrity golf tournament in Nevada, were not immediately returned. Calls to Saunders' father, Barry, a news columnist at a Raleigh, N.C., newspaper, also were not returned.

The NCAA has been investigating the North Carolina football program.

Saunders is a 6-foot-5, 280 pound senior from Durham, N.C. He was South Carolina's third-leading receiver last season with a career-best 32 catches and three touchdowns. Saunders considered jumping to the NFL, but decided to play his senior season with the Gamecocks.

Saunders was suspended briefly in January for missing the team's first meeting of the offseason. However, he was reinstated by Spurrier about a week later.


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