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Lane Kiffin denies knowing of alleged payment by ex-USC assistant

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USC Coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday he had no knowledge of a former assistant allegedly reimbursing a talent scout for airfare to pay for a prospect’s unofficial visit to Tennessee in 2009.

Yahoo! Sports reported Monday that former USC assistant Willie Mack Garza allegedly wired $1,500 to Texas-based Will Lyles for an unofficial visit Lache Seastrunk and his mother made to Knoxville, Tenn.

Garza resigned at USC a few days before the season opener because of "some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address, " Garza said in a statement.

“All I can say on that is that the alleged incident, I had no knowledge of, or knowledge of a relationship at all,” Kiffin said after practice. “I have always been committed, wherever we’ve been, to doing things the right way and cooperating with the NCAA so that’s all I’ve got on it.”

Kiffin was the subject of an NCAA investigation that delved into the Tennessee athletic program. Last summer, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions ruled that although secondary violations had occurred in the football program, Kiffin would not be punished.

USC recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron, who held the same title at Tennessee, also said he had no knowledge of Garza's alleged payment.

Asked if it was common practice for assistant coaches to operate on their own without knowledge of the head coach or recruiting coordinator, Kiffin said, “I don’t know. I don’t know what people do.”

Asked if he would be surprised if the NCAA revisited his time at Tennessee, Kiffin said, “That’s not for me to judge.”

More later at latimes.com/sports.

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-- Gary Klein

Photo: Lane Kiffin. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

 
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