Posted September 11, 2013

Report: Agents provided illegal benefits to five SEC players

NCAAF
Tennessee defensive tackle Maurice Couch is included in a Yahoo Sports report. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch is included in a Yahoo Sports report. (Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

A Yahoo Sports investigation has found five Southeastern Conference football stars violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits prior to completing their collegiate careers. The five stars tied to receiving illegal benefits were Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis.

Fluker, Bray and Cox are playing in the NFL. Bumphis was released by the Dolphins. Couch is a senior starter at Tennessee.

The link between three NFL agents and a financial adviser and the five players reportedly was former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis. Yahoo Sports reports a source with ties to NFL agents alleged that Davis was working as an intermediary between several high-profile college football stars and multiple NFL agents and financial advisers.

The three NFL agents and financial adviser told Yahoo Sports they provided money to Davis while Davis was providing benefits to the five SEC players.

SI SPECIAL REPORT: The Dirty Game

Yahoo Sports reports text messages document the ties between Davis and the agents, including Andy Simms, Peter Schaffer and John Phillips, and financial adviser Mike Rowan.

Simms, Phillips and Rowan confirmed Davis was a point of contact in their efforts to recruit at least one college player – and in some cases several players – who were expected to be selected in the NFL draft. However, Simms, Schaffer and Rowan said that while they provided money to Davis, they did were not aware of his financial dealings, nor did they not instruct him to provide impermissible benefits to players.

A sixth player –Crimson Tide safety Mark Barron – was also discussed in text message records obtained by Yahoo Sports, including an exchange following the 2011 season where Davis and Simms talk of attempting to recoup $8,000 from the player. At the time of the texts, Barron was a junior and preparing to leave Alabama as an early entry into the NFL draft. Text messages also reference Alabama defensive tackle Josh Chapman and Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks.

Yahoo Sports reports Simms, Schaffer, Phillips and Rowan were identified in financial and text message records turned over by a source alleging Davis was an intermediary between agents, advisers and SEC football players. Schaffer was identified in bank records linked to Davis. Financial advisers were also identified in monetary transactions with Davis.

All told, Yahoo Sports found that three agents (Simms, Schaffer and Phillips) and three financial advisers (Rowan, Jernigan and Hodge Brahmbhatt) moved at least $45,550 to Davis between September 2011 and December 2012. During this period, records authenticated by Yahoo Sports also showed Davis doled out at least $12,700 in benefits to the five players. Text messages and email exchanges turned over to Yahoo Sports also discuss more than $40,000 in additional benefits allegedly tied to some of the players and their family members.

Simms, Schaffer, Phillips and Rowan each independently said Davis had expressed a desire to be a manager or “concierge” for NFL players, and had offered to put them in touch with potential NFL draft picks.


9 comments
Cool
Cool

Well look at this... Yahoo sports decides to investigate more than just one school.  Yahoo sports decides that maybe there is a problem with the whole system and chooses not to pay a hack "journalist" to focus on just one school.   No five day long story, no sensationalism, just reporting some facts without even naming one dead player as a bad guy.  I think I like Yahoo Sports... I think SI Sports has a lot to learn.

TerrapinStation87
TerrapinStation87

When I was younger, so much younger than today I never needed anybody's help in any way; but now these days are gone- I'm not so self assured. Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

JonEdwardBrenneman
JonEdwardBrenneman

"Simms, Schaffer and Rowan said that while they provided money to Davis, they did were not aware of his financial dealing"  Classic CYA.  Of course - hard to explain Simms conversations about recouping money from a player since he had no idea what Davis was doing with the tens of thousands of dollars they were giving him. 

espnrefugee0218
espnrefugee0218

The problem is college football.  The NFL needs a minor league system and just like minor league baseball, minor league hockey, the nba D league etc.  There is no avenue for aspiring amature football players other than college football and its just a joke.  Nobody in the public cares about these violations from any school.  Kids get paid, so what? All I want to do is watch football on saturday mornings

buzzman69
buzzman69

Isn't this the same "crime" that USC committed and pretty much had the football program destroyed? Anyone think the NCAA will do anything to these SEC schools?

dixie
dixie

Why do you think the SEC does so well recruiting?  Sex, money, and mo money!

jmb.2244
jmb.2244

@espnrefugee0218 could not agree more.... great idea, but will never happen - too many people, making too much money on college football as it is currently constituted.... and the NFL has a free minor league system -why would they want to pay for one?  

donald5
donald5

@buzzman69 There was a coach involved with USC.  It is a big difference when a coach facilitates or is shown to be aware of it like it was at USC.  Doesn't look like this report shows that there are any coaches involved here.  

Cool
Cool

@buzzman69 I am not so sure that the NCAA penalties are what "destroyed" USC.  I think the combination of Carrol leaving and Kniffen coming in had more to do with the "destruction" of USC.