September 11, 2013 10:24:24 PM
STARKVILLE - A national report suggests with evidence former and current football players from three different Southeastern Conference schools received impermissible benefits.
Players from Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi State were named in a Yahoo Sports report (http://sports.yahoo.com/news/ncaaf--documents--texts-reveal-impermissible-benefits-to-five-sec-players-202513237.html) claiming players received benefits from former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis, who is believed to be an intermediary between several college football stars and NFL agents and financial advisers.
MSU officials have confirmed to The Dispatch the school has enlisted the services of attorney Mike Glazier as legal counsel in this matter. Glazier, head of law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King's Collegiate Sports Practice Group, has served as legal counsel for the MSU athletic department in its last two significant NCAA investigations involving football player Will Redmond and basketball player Renardo Sidney.
The Dispatch has also learned MSU officials informed the SEC office of the matter Wednesday afternoon and will continue to communicate with them if further facts are determined.
"Mississippi State constantly educates our student athletes about agent related issues," MSU athletics compliance director Bracky Brett said in a statement Wednesday. "We've also worked closely with the Mississippi Secretary of State's office in recent years to strengthen the Mississippi Uniform Agent Act. As always, we will do our due diligence to evaluate any potential concerns."
The MSU football program is already on probation through the 2015 season, serving a small scholarship reduction and facing a loss of four recruiting visits by the NCAA. A NCAA investigation revealed in June a former booster assisted Memphis area recruit Will Redmond in purchasing a automobile at a discount and other financial benefits. Redmond, now a sophomore defensive back, was reinstated after paying back $2,660 in benefits, forfeiting a year of eligibility and being withheld from the first five games of the 2013 season.
Here's a summary list of things involving Mississippi State in the Yahoo Sports report:
- The website report provided copies of receipts for the purchase of airfare and a itinerary from Davis of a meeting taking place at Little Dooey's restaurant in Starkville. According to the Yahoo Sports report Davis' records included a receipt showing airline tickets from Birmingham, Ala. to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., worth $1,259.40 were issued to Davis, Cox, Bumphis and former MSU defensive back Johnthan Banks, the website reports.
- According to the Yahoo Sports report, the names of Bumphis and Banks also appeared on a printed recruiting itinerary that included a passenger list on a private flight that made a stop in Starkville on July 3, 2012. The passengers listed were Davis and three others with ties to NFL talent representation: Isaac Conner, an agent from the Allegiant Athletic Agency (known as A3), and two Nashville attorneys associated with Conner - Ronald Stewart and Andre Johnson.
- The flight to Starkville reportedly proceeded the trip to Little Dooey's and Conner confirmed the recruiting trip to Yahoo Sports, and said the meeting was an introduction set up by Davis to meet Bumphis, Banks and Mississippi State defensive tackle Josh Boyd. Conner said Bumphis and Boyd were in attendance but Banks did not show up.
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