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USC AD Garrett apologizes for false recruiting accusations

USC athletic director Mike Garrett has apologized to the athletic directors of all five schools that were falsely accused of trying to recruit Trojans freshman Dillon Baxter last month after the NCAA's Committee on Infractions issued sanctions to USC that included a two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions.

On June 11, ESPN reported that Baxter told USC's compliance department that five schools -- Alabama, Florida, Fresno State, Oregon and Washington -- had contacted Baxter without USC's permission. The Committee on Infractions announced the sanctions on June 10. Officials at Alabama, Florida and Oregon immediately and vehemently denied that any of their coaches had contacted Baxter, who was a standout at running back during USC's first spring practice under coach Lane Kiffin. In a letter obtained Wednesday by SI.com and dated July 1, Garrett wrote to Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley that Baxter said during a follow-up investigation that Florida did not call him.

Washington spokesman Jeff Bechthold confirmed Wednesday that Huskies athletic director Scott Woodward received the same letter. Oregon spokesman Dave Williford confirmed his department also had received an apology letter from Garrett. Fresno State spokesman Steve Weakland confirmed that Bulldogs athletic director Thomas Boeh also received a letter. The Mobile Press-Registerreported Wednesday that Alabama athletic director Mal Moore also received one.

"I have spoken with Mr. Baxter and he has now confirmed that he did not receive a call from your institution," Garrett wrote. "Therefore, USC has no intention of pursuing this matter further.

"I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused you and your institution."

When the accusation was made, several of the accused schools responded forcefully. Oregon coach Chip Kelly was especially adamant that no one on his staff had contacted Baxter. "No one from Oregon has talked or spoken with Dillon Bazter since his official visit in January," Kelly said in a statement released June 11.

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