Back in July, we wondered, "Who's lying in the curious case of Dillon Baxter?" The guilty party, as it turns out, looks to be Baxter himself. Suspended for USC's season opener for reasons that went coquettishly unexpressed by both Baxter and his coaches, Baxter's name has been bandied about by a vague source as the busted player in an equally vague student housing "controlled substance" report. [game show host voice] But that's not all!
Weeks before that went down, it turns out, there was this highly captivating document, obtained by the File Blog, that showed Baxter's been in hot water for a while now:
The File has learned that one of the things Baxter would rather not talk about is a letter he wrote in June that details precisely how he hoaxed his coaches into thinking he was being improperly recruited. The letter, obtained under a freedom of information request, was included in a package of correspondences that USC athletic director Mike Garrett sent to five counterparts before his firing in July, apologizing for the embarrassing incident.
Baxter says he got the idea for the stunt on June 10 -- after the NCAA hit USC with four years of probation and a ban from two bowls [...] Baxter says he was talking with friends at different schools about "what I wanted to do" when he decided to tell USC's coaches that he was getting interest from outside. He went to the team's receivers coach, John Morton, and boasted that he had offers from Washington, Florida, Michigan, Alabama and Fresno State. "From that point, the situation got blown out of proportion," Baxter writes.
We've all done stuff like this, and a lot of us probably did it at Baxter's age. At times, a lie has a way of spinning itself out of control without any real assistance on the part of the liar. Unfortunately, there was an athletic department involved in this case, one hanging on Baxter's every word.
And so ends this bizarre coda to the Mike Garrett era. But it doesn't have to end unhappily. Doesn't Baxter's characterization of the events of the summer have a bit of cinematic flair? Have you ever had to sit through one of those romantic comedies where all the problems presented could just be solved by the right person speaking up at the right time? I smell a sitcom! Somebody whisk this kid over to ABC's studios on the double, and remind the suits at the pitch that we can make this on the cheap, on account of we can't even pay the kid. I'm amazed no one's thought of this before.