We will eventually move on from the latest blockbuster story involving the scandal tainted program across town. I have a feeling this story will die down in next day or two and then everyone will pretend as if nothing is wrong and we will get back to reading puff pieces in the LA Times about the expectations around Trojan football/basketball programs. No one is going to care about the cloud gathering over Figuroa.
Still before we move on wanted to pass on some more nuggets on the Timmeh/OJ handoff saga. Michael Lev from the OC Register interviewed Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports - one of the two reporters who broke the story - and came up with more interesting details. Of course the Trojans are out there attacking the credibility of Louis Johnson. Robinson had this thought in response:
Question: How credible are the accusations against Tim Floyd?
Robinson: I think Louis Johnson is very credible, (especially) in terms of all the people we interviewed over the course of the Bush thing. It’s one thing if a source brings this to just a journalist. It’s another thing when he has sat with people from the FBI, the Attorney General’s office, the IRS, knowing the agreement when he went in that if he lies he’s facing prosecution. We’re talking about a felony situation if he lied to the FBI. He also was not somebody who just brought it to the media but was willing to sit in front of all comers and take questions. It wasn’t like he just sat down and said, ‘This is what happened.’
He also has a treasure trove of receipts and financial documents to back up what he has said about Rodney Guillory. When you pair that with what he did in the first round (of interviews) when he spoke to ESPN … that, in total, makes him an extremely credible source.
Q: But isn’t Johnson writing a book about this? Couldn’t he just be seeking publicity?
Robinson: I believe he is writing a book. But when we spoke to him, there was never any quid pro quo that I’ll tell you this if you mention my book. He understood 100 percent that this wasn’t going to be any kind of PR deal for his book. I tend to believe the overriding factor of (possible) prosecution from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office stands as a far more credible point in his favor than this being a guy who’s out there trying to make money.
Meanwhile, in case folks were forgetting why the feds are involved in this investigation:
Q: Why is the federal government involved in this case?
Robinson: From what we have been told, a few reasons: (1) If you go back and look at the ESPN report, Guillory’s involvement with a guy named Tony Hicks who had set up a fraudulent sickle cell foundation and had a credit card taken out in Guillory’s name. That card (allegedly) was used to pay for thousands of dollars in clothing and other things for O.J. Mayo. So you’re dealing with straight-up fraud. That drew the interest of the federal authorities. (2) The amount of money Johnson alleged was going back and forth between BDA Sports and Rodney Guillory, and between O.J. Mayo and Rodney Guillory. (3) Several years ago, if you look at Myron Piggie and the Rush brothers, there were inducements, illegal benefits, all this stuff. The feds prosecuted Piggie for essentially defrauding universities. If you go back and look at the history of it, every few years they will prosecute a prospective agent to create a chilling effect.
How this investigation will ultimately end up depends on the kind of documentation NCAA is gathering from all their witness. I thought the following detail regarding one of the 17 individuals Yahoo! listed as people who NCAA has talked to was poignant:
Bob DeMartino: A memorabilia dealer and former business associate of one-time Bush marketing agent Mike Ornstein. DeMartino provided an eyewitness account of a cash payment from Ornstein to Bush’s family prior to the 2005 Heisman Trophy ceremony. DeMartino also provided an account of emails he sent to the USC athletic department warning them of Bush’s involvement with Ornstein, as well as copies of emails from Ornstein soliciting marketing deals for Bush during the running back’s junior season with USC.
I wonder if those emails were one way or two way correspondence involving the Trojan athletic department. Details like those just might be key to connecting to the mountain of circumstantial evidence that has been piling up for last few years.
Speaking, of a situation that is really telling here is what Johnson's attorney Anthony Salerno pointed out to AP:
Salerno said he wonders why Floyd has not disputed Johnson's account if it's false.
"Tim Floyd easily could have said, 'That's baloney, it's slanderous and not true, I never did that,"' Salerno said. "In my opinion, it's kind of damning, his being silent. It's not like this is a criminal case for him. It's not like this is a subtle allegation. It's black and white.
"Why doesn't he just come out and deny it?" Salerno said.
The ball is on your court Tim.