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Finally, some clarity on USC backing away from Sidney

While there have been many rumors as to why Renardo Sidney did not end up at USC, we have never really any solid info as what those rumors were about. While that continues to be true, the LAT has gathered enough to be willing to write a lengthy piece on Sidney, and perhaps there has to be some truth in their story.

The question has been what scared both USC and ucla away from this kid. We may finally have some answers...

Bruins and Trojans sources both say they were wary of potentially intense NCAA scrutiny prompted by these issues: Despite what was perceived as a limited income, the family moved multiple times and resided in upscale homes during Sidney's high school years; and stepfather Renardo Sr. directed a club basketball team with financial backing that was unclear beyond a relatively modest shoe company sponsorship.

Plus there was this: A source intimately familiar with Sidney's recruitment said a university official thought the stepfather had strongly hinted that he expected to be compensated if his son signed with the school.

Maybe he insinuated it, maybe he didn't, but it was enough for ucla to back out and enough for USC to take a second look. The bigger alleged issue that raises eyebrows is whether the Sidney's living within their means:

Renardo Sr. and Patricia, in person and through a spokesman, declined repeated requests to be interviewed for this story. But the family's lawyer, Donald Jackson, said last week that there was never a request for payment, noting, "That would be a violation."

Jackson, who is based in Montgomery, Ala., also said of the player, "There have been no violations of NCAA amateur regulations in this young man's life."

Details about the Sidney family's finances were "irrelevant" and "no one's business," the lawyer said, adding, "It is not the place of the NCAA to question someone's earning capacity or claim someone is living beyond their means."

I actually said something similar almost two years ago...

I'm not sure if I would be happy if the school started checking up on the financial behaviors of the parents for the sake of compliance. I am NOT suggesting that the NCAA, should Bush's actions expose wrong doing without SC knowing about it, should force USC to monitor parents behavior but it is also not too far of a stretch. I personally think that that would be impossible and I can think of no school that would endorse it nor have the resources let alone the will to do it.

But it is easy to see how some would demand that sort of solution to attempt to keep players within the rules of compliance. Any attempt to monitor the families of players to ensure enforcement of the rules invades the privacy of those who walk the straight and narrow.

I get it, the schools do have a right to protect their business, that's what this is...a business. But to what extent to they get inquire about the financial dealings of a recruit's family? USC was uncomfortable enough with all the questions surrounding Sidney that they pulled their offer. How they came to that conclusion - what information they had or questions they asked - is a whole other matter.

The warning signs are apparently there, as the article goes on to chronicle, including how Renardo Sr. got himself hired by Reebok after being a patient transporter in a local hospital (I can assure you that is a major leap up the employment and social ladder). Also, the numerous moves in a short period of time made by Sidney's family, along with a number of unanswered questions about a charitable organization that they allegedly set up and the supposed lack of a paper trail for the documentation required to square away such an organization with the IRS.

There is also a connection from the Sidney family to LA Basketball organizer Pat Barrett, and there is a whole background segment on him. He's been in the news recently in regards to trying to get Kevin Love signed up with an agent...I could go on and on.

This reads as a trainwreck waiting to happen, and with SC already gun shy over the Bush and Mayo investigations, it's not surprising that they pulled out of the Sidney Sweepstakes.

It's easy to say thank God now but this could have been a real nightmare. Miss. St. jumps into this with both feet and with both eyes WIDE open. So wide open that Miss. St. hired sports atty. Mike Glazer to evaluate the situation.

Mississippi State, which landed highly recruited prep basketball star Renardo Sidney last week, has enlisted sports attorney Mike Glazier to help evaluate Sidney's status, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported Monday.

The news comes on the same day a Los Angeles Times story said that Sidney, considered the No. 7 recruit in the country by ESPN Scouts Inc., was eventually considered a risk to recruit by USC and UCLA.

"We use him fairly regularly for any sensitive issues," Mississippi State athletic director Greg Byrne told the Clarion-Ledger of Glazier. " He's got a great background and ability to give us counsel and directiron on a wide variety of subjects. Just because of a high profile nature of Renardo Sidney, we felt it was appropriate to have him involved just to make sure we were doing everything we could to best protect us, Mississippi State, and Renardo Sidney."

Use him fairly regularly?

Wow! I can take that a number of ways but I will leave it right there. It's their issue now and I will not believe that their fan base has little to no concern. If they care about their school and their hoops program they will be as concerned as USC and many of their hoops fans were over this.