In early June, administrators for the USC Trojans accused five schools – the Florida Gators, Alabama, Oregon, Washington and Fresno State – of illegally contacting running back Dillon Baxter about a transfer to their respective universities.
Less than a month later, USC athletic director Mike Garrett was forced to send letters to each school apologizing for the previous accusations and attempting to make amends for “any inconvenience or embarrassment” that was caused.
ESPN’s Shaun Assael has since uncovered a letter of admission from Baxter, who fessed up to misleading his university about what exactly happened in June.
“I misspoke when I said coaches had contacted me from other schools,” Baxter wrote in a letter to the school. “I am truly sorry for all of the chaos I have caused and it was not my intention to implicate other schools and their coaching staffs.”
Baxter began his letter by explaining that he spoke with friends at the implicated institutions, not coaches or administration officials. While he claims he did not understand the rules, many – including USC – appear to believe the whole situation was a hoax and that Baxter purposely misled them.
That is part of the reason that he has been suspended for the team’s opener against Hawaii on Sept. 2. “I’ve done a couple things, and things happen, and I made a mistake,” Baxter told reporters last week. “But I’m going to move on from here on out.”
USC head coach Lane Kiffin called Baxter’s one-game opening-season punishment “an extremely strong message and a very severe punishment for a player that may potentially be the most skilled player on our whole roster.”