USC investigating charges that tutors did papers for football players
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ USC officials are investigating allegations that tutors composed and typed academic papers for Trojans football players.
``We appointed a faculty committee in early October to investigate charges made by a USC employee about academic and ethical improprieties,″ USC provost Lloyd Armstrong Jr. said Friday in a statement. ``That committee has been conducting a series of very thorough interviews and is about three-fourths of the way through the process.″
Armstrong said neither he nor athletic director Mike Garrett will comment on the findings until the investigation is complete.
``We take seriously any accusations made concerning issues of academic integrity and we’re doing everything in our power to see that all concerned have a fair hearing,″ Armstrong said.
Wide receiver Mike Bastianelli will not be allowed to play for the second game in a row this weekend because he admitted that Dr. Christopher Cairney, an employee of the university’s Student Athlete Academic Services, typed and composed part of a paper for him when Bastianelli was a freshman two years ago.
Cairney, who denies the allegations that he gave Bastianelli improper assistance, charged in a Sept. 2 memo to the USC athletic department oversight committee that tutors were providing too much help to football players and violating the ``spirit and the letter of the NCAA constitution.″
Copies of the memo were obtained by both the Los Angeles Times and by The Associated Press.
Cairney, placed on paid administrative leave by the university on Sept. 8 for what he described as another departmental matter, said he considers the Bastinelli issue retaliation for the memo he wrote.
``My main concern is for Bastianelli. I don’t feel that he should be penalized for department infighting,″ Cairney said Friday. ``People are trying to fire salvos at me to protect their own jobs.
``If I hadn’t sent the memo, Bastianelli would be playing now and I feel really bad about that.″
In another memo obtained by the Times and also by The AP, tutor Noel Looney on Sept. 22 claimed he had seen tutors doing work for football players ``during the entire academic year of ’96-’97.″
``After Janice E. Henry (an advisement counselor in the SAAS) was authorized to provide advisement services restricted to student athletes that are in the football program, I have witnessed on several occasions that specific tutors that were hired and directed by Janice have been seen typing papers for USC student athletes that are participating in our football program,″ Looney wrote in the memo sent to Cairney and expressing support for Cairney’s allegations.
Henry did not immediately return a call to her office by The AP.
The USC investigation presently is an internal matter. The Pacific-10 Conference would become involved if it was determined that there were NCAA rules violations.