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USC Apologizes For Baseless Dillon Baxter Accusations

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Southern California has apologized to Florida, Alabama, Washington, Oregon and Fresno State for accusing those schools of breaking NCAA rules by contacting one of the Trojans' players without permission.

In a letter dated July 1 and addressed to Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, USC AD Mike Garrett said freshman running back Dillon Baxter confirmed to Garrett that the player "did not receive a call from your institution."

"I apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment this matter has caused to you and your institution," Garrett wrote in a hand-signed letter.

The letter to Foley was obtained by The Associated Press. Alabama, Washington, Oregon, and Fresno State also confirmed Wednesday that their athletic directors received apology letters from USC.

ESPN.com reported USC filed a complaint with the Pac-10 in June about several schools tampering with Baxter after the Trojans were hit with NCAA sanctions.

Pac-10 spokeswoman Danette Leighton told the AP in an e-mail that it was the conference's policy not to comment on enforcement matters.

USC received a two-year postseason ban, a loss of scholarships and was forced to vacate victories from the 2004 and '05 seasons for NCAA violations involving former star tailback Reggie Bush.

Because of the sanctions, USC upperclassmen are allowed to transfer without the usual NCAA restrictions, but only juniors and seniors can be contacted by other schools.

New USC coach Lane Kiffin got himself into trouble last year when he was at Tennessee for unjustly accusing Florida coach Urban Meyer of breaking NCAA recruiting rules. Kiffin later had to apologize to Meyer and the Gators.

Kiffin is in his first year at USC after spending one tumultuous season at Tennessee.

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AP Sports Writers Mark Long, Josh Dubow, Tim Booth and John Zenor contributed to this report.

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