USC football: Lane Kiffin scheduled to appear at NCAA hearing
USC football Coach Lane Kiffin is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Saturday, facing allegations that stem from his short tenure at Tennessee but which might lead to penalties that could affect the Trojans.
Kiffin’s appearance in Indianapolis is part of a broader hearing into Tennessee’s athletic department, which was the subject of a 22-month investigation that led to the firing of basketball coach Bruce Pearl and the resignation of athletic director Mike Hamilton.
Kiffin has declined to comment.
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and David Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance, will attend the hearing. Haden said this week that, if asked, he would tell the Committee on Infractions that Kiffin has been “nothing but compliant” during his time at USC.
“It’s a bit part, not a starring role,” Haden said.
The NCAA alleges that football staff members made 16 impermissible phone calls to recruits from Jan. 3-9, 2010, and that the calls were made after the staff was informed the month before that the calls were impermissible.
Kiffin also is accused of permitting a recruiting intern to make impermissible off-campus contact with high school staff members after Tennessee’s director of football operations told him that the intern was not permitted to enter a high school's property while accompanying a coach on a recruiting trip.
Former assistant David Reaves, Kiffin's brother-in-law, is alleged to have requested that impermissible telephone contact be made with recruits by a third party — reportedly Tennessee hostesses.
If Kiffin is penalized, the punishments could include limits on his recruiting at USC and, possibly, suspension from games.
Last month, the NCAA rejected USC’s appeal to reduce some of the most severe sanctions levied against the school as a result of an investigation that centered on former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush.
Florida-based attorney Michael Buckner has represented coaches and schools in NCAA hearings. Buckner, a USC graduate who was not part of USC's legal team, said the Committee on Infractions could be unpredictable.
“If they are going to treat Coach Kiffin like they did USC, Coach Kiffin is going to have a very, very bad day,” Buckner said.
-- Gary Klein
Photo: USC Coach Lane Kiffin watches his team warm up prior to a game against California on Oct. 16. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times