Tim Floyd was introduced as men's basketball coach at Texas El Paso on Tuesday while his previous employer, the University of Southern California, awaits the findings of an NCAA investigation into his actions when he was coaching the Trojans.
Floyd resigned from his post at USC last June after allegations he gave money to an associate of former Trojans star O.J. Mayo. He had been working as an assistant coach with the NBA's New Orleans Hornets.
Floyd, who had guided USC to three consecutive NCAA tournaments, has repeatedly denied breaking college rules. He did so again at his introductory news conference at UTEP, adding that he had left USC "because of lack of support."
USC in January imposed sanctions on its basketball program, forfeiting games, instituting a ban on postseason play this season and restricting scholarships and recruiting for what it described as booster involvement in the recruiting of Mayo.
In February, Floyd testified at an NCAA Infractions Committee hearing that will determine whether the school's athletic program will be further penalized. The committee is expected to release its findings in about a month.
The NCAA has in the past punished individual coaches it found broke rules by issuing a "show-cause" penalty. Schools wanting to hire such an individual are required to appear before a committee to discuss the terms of the coach's employment.
Citing anonymous sources, ESPN.com reported that UTEP officials were assured before hiring Floyd that he was not facing NCAA sanctions.
Floyd did not return a phone call from the Los Angeles Times seeking comment, but his Texas-based attorney, Jim Darnell, said, "We do not have any official or unofficial word from the NCAA."
UTEP spokesman Jeff Darby said he "wasn't sure where that information came from."
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said any "talking about what the penalties may or may not be until that report comes out is pure speculation."
Experts say it's highly unlikely that the NCAA would notify an individual or a school about such a situation before an infractions report is released.
"I have never heard of the NCAA giving an institution a heads up as to what's in an infractions report," said Michael Buckner, a Florida-based attorney and private investigator who for 10 years has worked with individuals and institutions throughout the NCAA investigation process.
Mike Glazier, who heads the Collegiate Sports Practice group at the Kansas office of Bond, Schoeneck & King, has spent the last 20 years working with universities during the NCAA investigation process.
"I'm not aware of any procedures that would provide an individual with the status of an infractions report without notifying all parties involved," Glazier said.
Buckner said it is possible that a current draft of the report exists and that UTEP has "some kind of inside source" with knowledge of it.
USC has not received notification of what the report may state, according to an official close to the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly.