Four former SEC football players and one current SEC player received illegal benefits before completing their college careers, according to records obtained through a Yahoo! Sports investigation.
Former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, former Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis and current Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch were all implicated in the report stemming from financial and text message records belonging to former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis. Yahoo! Sports found that Davis acted as middleman between the NFL agent community, financial advisers and a few big-name college football stars.
From the report:
Davis declined to comment for this story. However, Yahoo Sports was able to authenticate text message records, Western Union fund transfers, banking statements, flight receipts and other financial material linking both Davis and the five college football players. Yahoo Sports also found that three NFL agents and three financial advisers engaged Davis in transactions totaling $45,550. The three agents were Andy Simms, Peter Schaffer and John Phillips. The financial advisers were Jason Jernigan, Mike Rowan and Hodge Brahmbhatt.
If the NCAA could prove that Davis helped filter benefits to eligible college football players following his own college career, that would violate NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124, which prohibits athletes from receiving benefits from agents or marketing representatives. That could have substantial impact on Alabama, as Fluker, who was a starting offensive tackle on the Crimson Tide's 2012 national championship team, could be retroactively ruled ineligible. Tennessee and Mississippi State are also currently on probation for previous NCAA infractions. Alabama, Tennessee and NCAA officials had no comment when contacted by Yahoo! Sports. Mississippi State said in a statement: "Mississippi State constantly educates our student athletes about agent related issues. 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."