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USC football: Tailback Marc Tyler suspended for season opener, possibly longer

July 18, 2011 | 12:49 pm

Tyler_640 USC tailback Marc Tyler has been suspended for the Sept. 3 season opener against Minnesota, and possibly longer, for the latest in a string of off-the-field incidents, the school announced Monday.

Tyler, a fifth-year senior who was USC's leading rusher last season, was recorded by TMZ.com outside a nightclub last week and made comments that embarrassed the university.

The video came in the aftermath of two April incidents in which Tyler allegedly spat on one female USC student while intoxicated and inappropriately touched another at a bar near campus. Tyler appeared before the school's Office of Student Affairs and has said that he is awaiting word about possible discipline. In the meantime, he said he had enrolled in a counseling program to deal with alcohol-related issues.

"I was very disappointed when I learned of Marc Tyler's inappropriate comments that were captured by the media last week," Coach Lane Kiffin said in a statement. “That is not the way that we expect our players to represent USC and our team.

“I have consulted with Athletic Director Pat Haden and I am suspending Marc for our upcoming season opener and potentially further, and in the meantime I am also suspending him from all team activities.

“Although Marc may find this punishment severe, it is imperative we continue to have a high standard for player behavior," Kiffin said. "Marc needs to work hard to show us that he can meet the standards of being a USC football player.”

Tyler could not be reached for comment. In a statement released through the school, he said:

“I want to apologize for embarrassing USC, my teammates and coaches. I am disappointed that I let down all the people who have supported me as I have been working through some personal issues. After meeting today with Mr. Haden and Coach Kiffin, I realize how my behavior and my statements, even though I was joking, can reflect poorly on so many people.

“As a veteran player, I should know that my job is to be an example for the younger guys. I accept my punishment and I regret that I will miss the opening game of my senior year.  I am committed to doing everything the right way so that I can be reinstated to the team.”

Haden said the school had “very high expectations” for all athletes.

“While the vast majority of our student-athletes act appropriately, Marc did not and stepped way out of line,” Haden said in a statement. “He did not represent himself, his university or his team the way we expect. Marc has a lot to do to prove he belongs on our team. We hope Marc learns from this and comes back a changed and better person.”

More later at latimes.com/sports.

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-- Gary Klein

Photo: USC tailback Marc Tyler picks up big yards as he is tackled by Cal's Chris Conte last October. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

[Note: An earlier version of this article misspelled Kiffin's name in one reference.]

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