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December 22, 2005

Leinart reinstated after violation

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LOS ANGELES - USC quarterback Matt Leinart's eligibility has been reinstated after he violated an NCAA rule by appearing in a promotional segment for ESPN, an NCAA spokesman said.

The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner was reinstated Tuesday after Southern California petitioned the NCAA.

The school declared him ineligible earlier this month after the segment aired on the cable network. It was recorded after the Trojans' victory over UCLA in the final game of the regular season.

"Whenever we are aware that media outlets ask student-athletes to do these kinds of tags we immediately cut them off," said Tim Tessalone, USC's sports information director. "Unfortunately, this one slipped by."

NCAA spokesman Kent Barrett said Leinart's actions were "unintentional and inadvertent."

Leinart had been barred by USC from participating in media activities until after Christmas, Tessalone said.

Leinart, who returned for his senior year to try to lead his school to a third straight national championship, was named sportsman of the year by the Sporting News on Tuesday.

Top-ranked USC will face No. 2 Texas in the Rose Bowl for the national championship.

For more coverage of the USC Trojans, check out USCFootball.com.

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