In the case of USC coach Tim Floyd's recruitment of O.J. Mayo, it might come down to a case of he said vs. he said.
Louis Johnson, a former Mayo associate, has told federal and NCAA investigators that Floyd gave $1,000 in cash to a man who helped steer Mayo to the Trojans, according to Johnson's attorney, Anthony V. Salerno.
Floyd has yet to respond to the allegations, which first appeared in a Yahoo! Sports report.
"That's really the whole thing: who do you believe?" Salerno told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Tim Floyd had a motive to pay O.J. Mayo to get there. Louis really doesn't have any motives. He doesn't have an ax to grind against Tim Floyd."
Salerno said he thinks investigators believe Johnson's story. Johnson has told them that he accompanied Mayo's handler, Rodney Guillory, to a meeting with Floyd at a Beverly Hills cafe on Valentine's Day 2007, and that Guillory emerged with an envelope stuffed with $100 bills.
"I don't think they've expressed any indication that they don't believe him," Salerno said, referring to NCAA investigators. "And for what it's worth, I think the U.S. government, through the Justice Department, believes him too."
Johnson's account comes as USC deals with allegations that 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush received improper benefits for a sports marketing agent while at USC.
USC athletic department spokesman Tim Tessalone said the school could not comment on an ongoing NCAA investigation. Pac-10 spokesman David Hirsch said the conference would have no comment.
The NCAA does not comment about ongoing investigations.
As the latest report on Mayo's recruitment shook USC, there was a sense of relief at the University of Arizona, which had courted Floyd this spring.
Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood, speaking from Tucson, denied he had offered Floyd the job. But he said he had asked Floyd about the reports surrounding his relationship with Mayo.
"I asked him the question," Livengood said. "He said there's nothing to that. So end of question. We didn't go any farther. We didn't need to go any farther."