The legendary character of Faust first appeared as a part of German folklore in the late 1500's, and over the centuries it has recurred frequently throughout literature, art, music and cinema. He is believed to be the first figure who made a deal with the devil.
Faust was motivated by a greedy desire for short-term gain, but in the end he paid the ultimate price. In modern-day terms, this kind of moral compromise is commonly referred to as a "Faustian bargain".
Guillory called himself a sports promoter, but Floyd knew exactly who he was. In 2000, Guillory was working as a runner for an agent, and he provided illicit benefits (including plane tickets) to USC's
Despite this past, Floyd told Guillory he would love to have Mayo and Walker play for USC. So Guillory came to his office and got Mayo on speaker phone. Mayo told Floyd he wanted to come to USC, but when Floyd asked for his cell phone number Mayo declined to give it to him. Despite that red flag, Floyd still wanted Mayo to come to USC. (Mayo and Guillory were unable to fulfill their promise to bring Walker along as well; he spent two years at Kansas State before bolting for the NBA.)
It has taken three years for this drama to play itself out, but on Tuesday it reached its predictable conclusion when Floyd not-so-voluntarily terminated his four-year tenure at USC, claiming he no longer had the required enthusiasm for his job. But the real impetus for Floyd's resignation is an ongoing NCAA investigation that is digging into allegations that Guillory provided Mayo with improper benefits that were given to Guillory by NBA agent
Guillory's former associate also told NCAA investigators, as well as the FBI and IRS, that he personally witnessed Floyd giving $1,000 in cash to Guillory on a Beverly Hills street corner. Floyd has declined to publicly address that charge because of the NCAA investigation has not concluded.
When the claims against Guillory were first reported by ESPN in an
To be fair, the allegations against Guillory are just that -- allegations. Both he and Floyd are entitled to the presumption of innocence until the NCAA wraps up its investigation. And even if the charges against Guillory are borne out, that does not mean that Floyd knew what Guillory was doing. But therein lies the larger problem: Floyd didn't have to know the specifics of what was going on because if there was dirty work to be done, Floyd knew that Guillory could do it for him. Meanwhile, Floyd could ostensibly keep his hands clean.
This is the discomfiting reality of today's college basketball recruiting world, which is driven almost totally by NBA agents. As I've said before, agents are to college basketball what steroids are to baseball: They're cancerous and they're everywhere, and everyone knows what's going on -- yet no one is doing anything about it.
In the old days, if a coach wanted to do an underhanded deal to get a player, he might approach a friend or university booster to get some cash into the right hands. Nowadays, coaches can sit back and maintain plausible deniability while the runner/street agent/flesh peddler makes the transaction. If the boosters of yesteryear were motivated by a desire to see their favorite teams win, the Rodney Guillorys of today simply want their players to be with college coaches who will protect their interests so they can eventually deliver the players to the agents who have been providing the cash all along.
It's a shame Floyd's career is ending like this. He is a likeable guy who can flat-out coach, which is why despite this cloud hanging over him, he was still in demand for prominent job openings this spring. Memphis showed a strong interest after
Nor did Floyd help his cause by pursuing
On a certain level, it's hard to blame Floyd for recruiting O.J. Mayo. Almost any coach in the country would have taken the kid, Guillory or no Guillory. When
Nor would it seem fair if USC football coach
Still, recruiting can be an ugly racket, and plausible deniability does not absolve coaches from the consequences of their decisions. Tim Floyd could have turned away Rodney Guillory three summers ago, but instead he made his Faustian bargain. Now, he's paying the price. The devil, it turned out, was in the details.