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USC basketball: Kevin O'Neill shares some details about call with NCAA infractions committee

February 23, 2010 |  9:00 pm

Kevin USC men's basketball Coach Kevin O'Neill discussed some aspects of his recent call with the NCAA's Committee on Infractions after practice Tuesday, including that he wasn't asked any questions during the nearly five-hour conference call. 

"I was available for questions, but they didn't have any," he said. 

As first reported by The Times on Monday, the call came Friday and kept O'Neill in Seattle as the team flew to Spokane, where it would stay before heading south to Pullman, Wash., to play Washington State the next day. 

O'Neill didn't join the team in Spokane until Friday night, and, as such, the team didn't have its normal shoot-around and walk-through that afternoon. 

"It was a different situation," O'Neill said. "It threw us off our routine somewhat, but that's the way it is."
O'Neill said he was "required to be on the phone call by the committee," which was in Tempe, Ariz., for three days hearing testimony from USC officials and others regarding allegations of major NCAA rules violations in both the Trojans' football and men's basketball programs. 
O'Neill is a first-year coach, and said that he'd "never participated in anything like that before" and that the call lasted for about five hours. It is common for new coaches to be asked to attend the meetings on behalf of the committee. As former committee chairman Tom Yeager told The Times last week, "it's almost like a 'Scared Straight' program."

Senior guard Dwight Lewis said it wasn't too strange without O'Neill on Friday.

"We just relaxed, hung out and tried to get our legs under us after that tough Washington game," he said. 
Along with O'Neill being absent Friday, assistant coaches Bob Cantu and Phil Johnson were absent the entire trip; both were in Tempe at the hearing. Gib Arnold was the only assistant coach with the team for the Washington trip.

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: USC basketball coach Kevin O'Neill. Credit: Kirby Lee / US Presswire