GAINESVILLE, Fla. — As Florida investigates a potential rules violation involving former Gators star Maurkice Pouncey, it's uncertain what the next move will be.
So far, public responses have been minimal after an ESPN.com report surfaced Monday that Pouncey allegedly received $100,000 from the associate of a sports agent a month before the 2009 season ended. An unnamed representative allegedly paid Pouncey between Florida's loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Dec. 6 and the Sugar Bowl win over Cincinnati on Jan. 1, ESPN reports.
If the allegations stick, a whole line of questioning unfolds regarding sports agents, whether Florida must vacate its Sugar Bowl victory, if any other players received similar benefits and whether twin brother Mike Pouncey, who is a rising senior at Florida, was involved.
There's currently no evidence suggesting any of that, and Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley indicates in a statement that there's no proof Pouncey taking money.
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“We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC,” Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. “At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida.”
Foley declined further comment. The Orlando Sentinel left a message with UF compliance director Jamie McCloskey and Lisa Webster, the Pounceys' mother.
After winning the 2009 Rimington Trophy given to the nation's best center, Pouncey left school a year early to become the 18th overall pick of the 2010 NFL draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was one of three Gators drafted in the first round and seven in the first three rounds, a school record.
Mike, who stayed in school to improve his draft stock, is expected to appear at Wednesday's Southeastern Conference Media Days session in Birmingham, Ala.
Pouncey's agent is Joel Segal, who also represents former USC running back Reggie Bush, the source of a lengthy NCAA investigation that resulted in a two-year bowl ban, four years probation and loss of scholarships after Bush received improper benefits.
Segal violated Florida state recruiting laws after sending money to a Florida State Seminoles football player in 1995. Segal also represents former Gators Riley Cooper and Percy Harvin.
Sports agent tampering in college football has been highlighted in recent weeks after reported NCAA probes into North Carolina and South Carolina. North Carolina announced last week that the NCAA is investigating an agent's potential involvement with several players, and the NCAA reportedly has questioned South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders about any affiliation with agents.
Long-time Florida fans know this trend is nothing new. In the late ‘90s, Tank Black allegedly paid several UF players before they left school.
Florida athlete agents laws are designed to protect schools from agents prematurely paying or contacting athletes. Violating those laws, including payment to an athlete before his eligibility expires, could result in a second-degree felony and a maximum of 15 years in prison for the agent.
Also uncertain is whether or not an agent or representative recruited Pouncey while not registered in the state of Florida. The Sentinel left a message with the University Police Department, which is investigating the case.
If Pouncey took money, Florida could be forced to vacate its 51-24 Sugar Bowl win over Cincinnati because Pouncey would have been an ineligible player. But Tim Tebow's brilliant performance against the Bearcats including 533 total yards, a Bowl Championship Series bowl game record—would likely stand since Tebow wasn't directly involved in the allegations.
If Pouncey took money, it's uncertain whether he purchased anything for brother Mike with the money and whether that would be constituted as an improper benefit.