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September 11, 2013

Alabama, Mississippi State, Tennessee all face questions over payments to players

When you've got Charles Robinson on the case, it is a whole new ballgame:
Five Southeastern Conference football stars violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits prior to completing their collegiate careers, a Yahoo Sports investigation has found. The benefits – which in some cases came from multiple individuals – were conveyed to University of Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State University defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State wideout Chad Bumphis.
Only Maurice Couch remains in college.

While there is some time to go before we know final resolutions, this is a well documented case, with text messages and bank records. You can always issue denials when you are fighting against words. Denials ring hollow when the media and NCAA are pouring over Western Union receipts.

The biggest part of this story is that Alabama may be facing vacating its 2012 SEC and BCS championships. Fluker was a starter on 'Bama's vaunted offensive line last year. If he is found to have been ineligible, it wouldn't be a stretch for the NCAA would have to force them to vacate their wins from 2012. The bigger issue for the Tide is that former player Luther Davis is the bag man in the scheme. It wouldn't shock me to see the NCAA go after them for lots of those status type things that have the words 'failure to maintain' in them, and ends with multiple years on probation.

Tennessee may have to vacate their SEC win from last year, too.

For UT and Mississippi State, they are currently on probation. Any hint the athletics department or coaches knew or should have know could mean serious penalties for either program.

For those of you wondering how any other conference would stop the SEC's run of dominance? This is the sort of thing that will do it.

See also
-Yahoo!Sports accuses five SEC players of taking improper benefits (Team Speed Kills)
-Fluker among five players alleged to have recieved benefits (Bama Hammer)
-DJ Fluker's twitter account (from April), courtesy of Saturday Down South:


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