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Friday, February 9th 2007

More Trouble For USC

Was the #2 high school football player part of a recruiting violation? Joe McKnight said he spoke with Reggie Bush, but such would be an NCAA violation.

During the Wednesday news conference, McKnight said Carroll set up a conference call so he and [his high school coach J.T.] Curtis could talk to Bush and ease concerns USC might face sanctions.

Everyone says he just misspoke. Literally everyone. But how can you misspeak about talking to someone?

Curtis told the Times on Thursday that he spoke to Carroll during McKnight’s recruitment, but not on a conference call with McKnight or Bush. He also said McKnight told him “Coach Carroll was talking to Reggie on the speakerphone and Joe was able to listen and hear Reggie Bush’s side of the story,” the newspaper reported.

Even that might not be kosher. But it looks even worse when you change the story:

After being informed of Carroll’s denial Thursday night, Curtis called McKnight and later said the recruit never heard Bush on a speakerphone.

“He said when they came in his house, the discussion was brought up about probation and that’s when the conversation came up that they had talked to Reggie, but Joe was not there,” Curtis said. “He said, ‘I was not on the speakerphone. I never called him and he never called me. I want to make it clear I never spoke to Reggie and he never spoke to me. I just messed it up. I shouldn’t have said it that way (at the news conference).”‘

Granted when Coach Curtis spoke initially, he was putting words in McKnight’s mouth. Apparently he had not spoken to McKnight since the story broken. The story he relayed about McKnight hearing Reggie on the other end is presumably months old and might be mis-remembered or just inaccurate. Still, it doesn’t look great.

McKnight is vehemently insisting that what he meant was that Carroll came to his house and they discussed possible sanctions. As guidance Carroll relayed the content of a recent conference call he had had with Reggie Bush on the subject, to assuage McKnight’s fears on the topic. But McKnight was not personally part of that conference call.

Everything done at USC is BIGGER and garners more media coverage. Still…