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USC says Marqise Lee denies signing autographs for pay

College SportsFootballNCAAOrange BowlBowl Championship SeriesESPN

USC says star wide receiver Marqise Lee did not break NCAA rules by signing autographs when he was in Miami in January at some of the same functions as Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

USC released three statements Tuesday pertaining to the situation.

Dave Roberts, USC's vice president of athletic compliance, said the university had "received an inquiry that floated Marqise Lee's name and the autograph signing situation in Miami that has been in the news lately."

While there, attending the Bowl Championship Series title game and events where college football award winners were honored by the Orange Bowl Committee, Lee signed several photographs for a person who said he was a fan and collector.

Roberts said some of those photos have since been offered for sale.

Lee said he "believed that the individual who asked me to sign the photos was a fan and collector. I did not ask to be paid, I was not offered anything, I did not get anything and I did not authorize my autographs to be sold."

Roberts said USC had investigated and determined no NCAA rule had been broken. He added that USC was "in the process of sending a cease-and-desist letter to the individual demanding that he stop selling any photos signed by Lee."

Coach Lane Kiffin said he was confident USC's compliance office had thoroughly researched the matter, adding that he was "completely confident in their report."

The NCAA is investigating whether Manziel, Texas A&M's star quarterback, was paid for signing hundreds of autographs last January.

Also Tuesday, an East Coast autograph broker told ESPN that he paid Manziel $7,500 for autographs. The broker provided cellphone videos that showed Manziel signing autographs but not accepting any money. He said the signings took place in January in New Haven, Conn.

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