The UCLA/USC rivalry is always a good one—and it just got a little more interesting.
USC Trojans’ assistant coach Ken Norton Jr. accused UCLA for using his name for recruiting purposes. Norton is saying the Bruins are telling recruits that he will be joining their staff if current Bruins defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker leaves for a head coaching job. Walker is considered a top candidate for the New Mexico State head coaching vacancy.
In a statement released today, UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel denies the accusation saying, “I have not told any recruits that if DeWayne left, Kenny would be the defensive coordinator at UCLA and neither have my assistant coaches.”
Neuheisel is not new to recruiting violations nor he is new to other NCAA violations.
In 2002 the Colorado Buffaloes were placed on two years probation due to 53 NCAA violations. 51 of them were occurred while Neuheisel was their head coach (1995-1998) and many of them were recruiting violations.
In 1999, while head coach at Washington, Neuheisel was investigated for improper recruiting tactics, improper contact with his former Colorado players (trying to talk them into transfer to Washington), and engaging a Washington recruit in a basketball shooting contest, which the NCAA deemed an improper tryout. The Pac-10 accepts self-imposed penalties by Washington for two of the violations.
In 2003 Neuheisel was fired as Washington head coach after the NCAA investigates his involvement with NCAA basketball betting. He confirms he bet on the NCAA tournament by entering a tournament pool the past two years with friends.
With this latest accusation by Ken Norton, you can be sure it has perked the NCAA’s interest and they’ll be keeping an eye on the situation.