USC Basketball clears Chimezie Metu to play despite allegations

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images /

USC Basketball cleared Chimezie Metu to play against Utah on Saturday after the forward was named in a Yahoo! Sports report alleging payments from a former NBA agent to college basketball players.

The twists and turns of the FBI probe into college basketball continue for USC Basketball as the Trojans unexpectedly cleared Chimezie Metu to play despite his link to new allegations which surfaced on Friday.

The junior forward will be allowed to play against Utah on Saturday, and presumably going forward.

“USC’s Office of Athletic Compliance launched an immediate investigation to determine the eligibility of Chimezie Metu, who was among those noted in a media report about payments by agents to college basketball players or their family members,” athletic director Lynn Swann said in a statement. “Based on available documents and a number of interviews, we determined that Chimezie is eligible to play in today’s game at Utah. If additional information becomes available, we will act accordingly.”

Metu’s name, along with two dozen others, appeared in Yahoo! Sports report on Friday related to the ongoing investigation of fraud and bribery in college basketball. An “adviser” to the player was listed on an expense report allegedly receiving advances totaling $2,000, supposedly on the players behalf.

Nor was Metu the only Trojan linked. Teammate Bennie Boatwright was also included in the allegations. However, he won’t be playing for USC either way.

“Bennie Boatwright, who also was included in the media report, is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Regardless, USC’s compliance staff will look into the allegations related to Bennie,” Swann’s statement said.

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Metu and Boatwright are the second and third USC players who have been swallowed up by this scandal. De’Anthony Melton was suspended for the entirety of the 2017-18 season due to his link. In fact, it’s the Trojans’ handling of his case which makes the decision regarding Metu so surprising.

After assistant coach Tony Bland was arrested and Melton was implicated, though unnamed, in the initial FBI investigation, USC held him out as a precaution. When the investigation finished, the Trojans opted to shut him down for the rest of the year.

USC was expected to take a similarly cautious approach with Metu, and Boatwright, but it seems the Trojans are more willing to risk vacated wins going forward.

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On the court, that means USC will keep their leading scorer active as they look to secure a third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Without Metu, hopes of the postseason would be greatly diminished.