This is what happens when the NCAA starts poking around your school. They come around to get information on one item and then end up turning over stones to see what else they can find. Investigators initially came to Columbia to ask USC tight end Weslye Saunders about his potential involvement with a sports agent. They returned this week to ask him a few more questions. They also had a few questions for some other players on the team. Specifically, they want to know about the living arrangements of at least three players on the team.
The State’s Joe Person reported this:
The NCAA is investigating the living arrangements of several South Carolina football players at a Columbia hotel, according to two sources close to the situation.
Investigators in town this week have questioned players about staying at the Whitney Hotel, a seven-story property located along the Devine Street shopping corridor in the Shandon area.
Tight end Weslye Saunders, who has been the focus of the NCAA’s investigation of USC, is one of at least three players with rooms at the Whitney, The State confirmed.
Offensive tackle Jarriel King and defensive tackle Travian Robertson also have rooms in their names at the hotel. Calls to the three players’ rooms on Thursday were not answered.
The players have been living in the Whitney for several months, according to two sources. If the NCAA determines they received a rate lower than what is available to the general public, it could be ruled an extra benefit.
It is hard to say what is going to come of all of this. If a violation did in fact take place the NCAA could simply demand the players reimburse the hotel for the discounted rate and have the whole matter dropped. It is too early to say what, if anything, is going to happen. You can bet USC’s compliance department is working double duty to make sure everything is in order. It looks like the NCAA is taking a pretty hard look around Columbia.