A Reminder Never to Believe a Word Lane Kiffin Says

Shockingly, it turns out Dillon Baxter wasn't contacted illegally by other schools.

On June 10, the NCAA released its sanctions on the USC program.

On June 11, word leaked out of USC that new freshman Dillon Baxter had been contacted illegally by Florida, Alabama, Oregon, Washington, and Fresno State. It made no sense for any of those schools to have done so as A) Baxter is not a junior or senior and therefore couldn't leave without penalty, and B) as an early enrollee, Baxter couldn't leave without penalty even if the school released him from his LOI as it just did with Seantrel Henderson.

All of the accused schools issued swift denials except for Fresno, who presumably didn't think it worth its time to do so. Baxter also conveniently lost his phone shortly after informing the compliance director of the alleged illegal contact, though phone records with his carrier could easily determine who called him and when.

At least part of that story is a complete lie as the New York Times' Pete Thamel is reporting that USC AD Mike Garrett (side note: how has he not been fired yet?) has sent a letter to Florida apologizing for falsely accusing the school of contacting Baxter. AL.com says Alabama received its apology letter too. I personally would expect to see the other three schools receive their apologetic form letters soon.

The whole thing regarding Baxter seemed fishy from the start, especially given Lane Kiffin's shenanigans surrounding Nu'Keese Richardson's recruitment. It was also rather fortuitous timing that the illegal contacting of Baxter came to light a day after the massive sanctions were announced.

There's no proof that Kiffin orchestrated this Baxter episode (and there likely never will be), but can there be any doubt? The five schools accused of the contact were the reigning national champion, the one Kiffin targeted most while at Tennessee, the reigning Pac-10 champion, the school where his former co-offensive coordinator at USC coaches, and a smaller in-state school thrown in to make it seem less hand-crafted. If you asked me to make a list of schools that Kiffin would be most likely to falsely accuse of something, all but Fresno would definitely be on the list.

Al Davis called Kiffin a "flat-out liar" when he fired him in Oakland. He lied about Urban Meyer committing a violation when calling Richardson. He boasted of having run his program free of legal incidents several days after Nysher Oliver had been busted for shoplifting. He promised after taking the USC job that he wouldn't actively recruit Tennessee's players, even though Tyler Bray confirmed that Ed Orgeron was doing that almost immediately after the move was announced. He promised Henderson that the NCAA sanctions wouldn't be that harsh when he had no way of knowing for sure.

At this point, just assume anything that comes out of that program is a lie. You'll end up proven right more times that not.

UPDATE 12:30 PM

Oregon's apology letter is in the mail.

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