NCAA sends Gamecocks wake-up call over hotel bill

It appears the Gamecocks have rolled up one heck of an expensive hotel bill.

The NCAA has sent a letter of inquiry to the University of South Carolina regarding impermissible benefits and recruiting inducements totaling $55,000, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Much of the sum involved 10 football players and other USC athletes of staying at the Winfrey Hotel at a reduced rate not available to the general public.

The hotel tab, which an NCAA investigation determined to tally $47,000, made up the majority of the financial damage. About $8,000 came from the Delaware-based SAM Foundation, which is operated by a pair of USC grads and allegedly provided a dinner cruise and other accommodations to recruits visiting campus.

The charges are considered serious and could result in infractions involving this season for the sports involved, primarily football, basketball and track. Although USC officials are not scheduled to meet with NCAA investigators until February, the allegations date back to the summer of 2010 and could be imposed retroactively.

“I assure you that we will continue to take all aspects of this investigation very seriously,” USC President Harris Pastides said in a statement. “We are prepared to continue to work with the NCAA to resolve any issues.”

The school’s response, which was requested by the NCAA to come on Dec. 14, will allow the Gamecocks to suggest self-imposed penalties and show that steps have been taken to correct any wrongdoings.

USC football coach Steve Spurrier will be among the group that will meet with the NCAA. He acted quickly last summer when word of the investigation first leaked out, ordering all his players to move out of the hotel at once and repay and outstanding balances before they could rejoin the team.

The Gamecocks are currently ranked No. 10 in the nation and are a perfect 3-0 following last week’s victory over Navy. They host to also-undefeated Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. Saturday.

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