In recent years, the NCAA has been hit with a rash of lawsuits relating to findings and information gathered during the enforcement process. The NCAA has defended against claims for antitrust (Gaines v. NCAA), tortious interference with a contract (Harrick v. NCAA), and defamation (Keller v. NCAA). Most recently, the NCAA fought off University of Alabama boosters following the 2002 infractions case in which Logan Young, Wendell Smith, and Ray Keller (not named specifically) were labeled “rouge boosters.” In the same vein, Rodney Guillory has filed suit against the NCAA seeking $25 million in damages.
As was widely reported, Rodney Guillory was an associate of O.J. Mayo (current NBA player and former University of Southern California men’s basketball player). Mr. Guillory has known Mayo since he was a seventh (7th) grader growing up in West Virginia. Prior to Mayo’s enrollment at USC, the NCAA investigated their relationship and deemed Mayo eligible to compete at USC. After only one (1) season of competition at USC, Mayo declared for the NBA draft and was selected in the first (1st) round by the Memphis Grizzlies. Shortly thereafter, in May 2008, Louis Johnson, a former associate of Mayo’s, indicated that Mr. Guillory received more than $200,000.00 from a California sports agency and, subsequently, funneled some of the money to Mayo in the form of cash, clothes, and a television while he was an enrolled student-athlete at USC during the 2007-08 season. Shortly thereafter, the NCAA investigated these assertions (along with a variety of other matters relating to Reggie Bush), which ultimately led to USC imposing sanctions on its men’s basketball team and the resignation of head coach Tim Floyd.
In June 2010, the NCAA Committee on Infractions released its public report relating to infractions committed by USC. Mr. Guillory claims that the public report defamed him, negligently misrepresented matters relating to him, and caused a false light invasion of privacy. Specifically, Mr. Guillory claims the public report falsely refers to him as a USC “booster” and a “handler” and indicated he gave Mayo improper benefits while he was enrolled at USC. Mr. Guillory was purportedly accused of “giving Mayo automobile transportation, basketball skills instruction, dinner at no cost, free clothing and other inducements.” In contrast, Mr. Guillory stated “the report fail[ed] to mention the ‘automobile transportation’ was a ride in Guillory’s car, the meals at no cost were home-cooked meals, the basketball instruction was not pre-arranged nor paid for by anyone, and the clothing provided to Mayo [was] leftover ‘freebies’ from various basketball camps.” As a result of the NCAA’s alleged conduct, Mr. Guillory claims his reputation was injured.