Roundup: Report alleges five SEC players paid

The SportsXchange

Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that five Southeastern Conference football players violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits before they finished their college careers.

If proven to be true, the NCAA might have grounds to strip Alabama of its 2012 national championship.

Former Crimson Tide defensive lineman Luther Davis, according to the report, served as intermediary between agents and financial advisers to the five players, including Tide offensive lineman D.J. Fluker -- a key player on Alabama's 2012 national championship team.

The other players involved are Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State wideout Chad Bumphis.

In the Yahoo! report, Davis is linked to the five players by text messages, Western Union fund transfers, banking statements, flight receipts and other financial material. Yahoo! said it received records from a source with ties to NFL agents.

Davis declined to comment.

The three NFL agents and three financial advisers told Yahoo! they provided more than $45,500 to Davis. Four of the six said they did not know Davis was providing benefits to the five SEC players.

If proven by the NCAA, Alabama's national title might be endangered. USC vacated its championship following penalties related to extra benefits received by former tailback Reggie Bush during his career with the Trojans.

The report also might spell trouble for Tennessee and Mississippi State, which are both on probation until the summer of 2015 for previous rules violations in their respective football programs.

--The latest revelations from Sports Illustrated's investigative series on the Oklahoma State football program detail academic misconduct that included tutors completing assignments for players and inferior work receiving passing grades.

SI began its series this week with reports that NCAA rules were violated from 2001 to 2011 with Cowboys players receiving payment from the school and boosters for their performances on the field and for jobs in which the work was not performed.

Thirteen players, including defensive tackle Brad Girtman, wide receiver Artrell Woods, offensive line Jonathan Cruz indicated to SI that academic fraud was prevalent in the football program in order to keep players eligible.

One former assistant coach told the magazine that former receiver Dez Bryant, now with the Dallas Cowboys, had no business being in college. But Bryant received second-team All-Big 12 academic honors despite never going to class unless he was supervised by a football staff member, according to SI.

--USC did hold a players-only meeting after the loss to Washington State last weekend without their coach's knowledge, according to wide receiver Marquise Lee.

Coach Lane Kiffin said Tuesday that the meeting did not take place on Sunday, even though Lee had indicated to reporters after Saturday's game that the players would come together without coaches present. But Lee confirmed the meeting, the Los Angeles Daily News reported Wednesday.

"Kiffin don't know," Lee told the Daily News. "Players. Players. Kiffin don't know nothing about it. No coaches. We did have that meeting. ... Now (Kiffin) knows."

--After starting the season with an 0-2 record, Grambling fired coach Doug Williams, The News-Star reported in Monroe, La. The Tigers are coming off a 48-10 loss to FBS Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.

The former NFL quarterback played for legendary coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling in the 1970s and replaced Robinson after his retirement in 1997. Williams left the head coaching job after the 2003 season to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' personnel department, but he returned to the school in 2011.

Under Williams, Grambling had a 62-33 record and won four Southwestern Athletic Conference championships. The most recent title was in 2011. However, the Tigers slipped to 1-10 last season.

--Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds remains supportive of coach Mack Brown despite the Longhorns' early struggles this season.

"Mack's fine," Dodds told the American-Statesman on Wednesday morning. "I know we didn't play well Saturday. Mack will know if he should be coaching (at Texas) or shouldn't be. I know this is my responsibility, and I'm not shying away from it. The bottom line is I'm for the kids and the coaches."

Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz on Sunday and replaced him with Greg Robinson in the wake of Saturday's 40-21 loss to BYU. Dodds said he agreed with Brown's decision to make the change.
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