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Tag:Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation
Posted on: September 19, 2011 6:10 pm
 

Gamecocks receive NCAA Notice of Allegations

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The same day their neighbors to the north announced their response to an NCAA Notice of Allegations, South Carolina has announced that the Gamecocks have received their own NOA. And the details don't look good for the Gamecocks.

According to the NOA (PDF), the owner of the Whitney Hotel in Columbia -- described in the NOA as a "representative of the institution's athletics interests" -- provided some $47,000 in improper benefits to various Gamecock football players in the form of discounted hotel suites. The suites were charged to multiple players at a cost of just $14.59 per day, and with several players' having their already-reduced rent deferred, the players also stand accused of receiving "impermissible loans."

With the violations occurring throughout the 2009 season, it seems likely Carolina will have to vacate their seven wins that year.

That's only the start of the bad news for Carolina. The Student-Athlete Mentoring Foundation and Steve Gordon -- also described as a "representative of the institution's athletics interests" -- have been charged by the NOA with providing some $8,000 "impermissible recruiting inducements." Gordon and the S.A.M.'s involvement has already led to the suspensions this season of Florida's Sharrif Floyd and the Gamecocks' Damiere Byrd.

Between those two allegations and others (which include a pair of track athletes also receiving benefits at the Whitney), Carolina has been charged with "failure to monitor" and are "considered to be potential major violations." It also won't help the Gamecocks' case that the NOA also considers the Gamecocks subject to potential "repeat violator" status.

The Gamecocks will go in front of the NCAA's Committee on Infractions in Los Angeles this coming February 17 and 18. At that meeting Carolina officials will either agree with or dispute the allegatiosn and self-impose any sanctions they deem necessary.

As for the bottom line -- what sanctions the Gamecocks will self-impose and which additional ones the NCAA might tack on -- it's too early to make anything more than an educated guess. But combining the $55,000 price tag with repeat violator status and the failure to monitor charge could be a toxic brew for the Gamecocks ... and one that we feel means a postseason ban or major scholarship reductions, if not likely, can't be ruled out, either.
Posted on: September 9, 2011 3:18 pm
 

NCAA suspends Gamecock WR Byrd for four games

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The NCAA apparently doesn't think much of the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation.

A day after the Florida defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd was suspended two games for his involvement with the Delaware-based S.A.M. (a decision which drew down as much furious wrath from Will Muschamp as it's possible to get in a single prepared statement), South Carolina freshman wide receiver Damiere Byrd was suspended four games for his association with the same organization.

Byrd sat out the Gamecocks' win over East Carolina because of S.A.M.-related concerns over his eligibilty and will also miss Carolina's games against Georgia, Navy and Vanderbilt. He will return for the Gamecocks' Oct. 1 home game against Auburn.

Like Floyd, Byrd will have to make a $2,700 repayment of "recruiting inducements and impermissible benefits" to charity before the NCAA will restore his eligibility. Unlike Floyd, however (who the NCAA found to have not received his benefits from a Florida booster), some of Byrd's were reportedly offered by a Gamecock booster. According to a statement by the NCAA, those booster's benefits "included lodging, transportation and meals during multiple unofficial visits to the University of South Carolina. It also included several parties at the booster’s home and gift cards."

S.A.M. president Steve Gordon told Columbia newspaper The State that while Byrd took Foundation-sponsored trips, Byrd's family -- including father Adrian Byrd, the S.A.M vice-president -- paid for them rather the Foundation itself.

Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman called Byrd an "outstanding individual" who "had no idea that being part of the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation would in any way affect his college eligibility." Hyman suggested the program might appeal on Byrd's behalf, but that Byrd would remain ineligible while the appeal was heard.

A consensus four-star recruit from Sicklerville, N.J., Byrd made waves throughout fall camp and was in line to join the Gamecocks' receiving rotation (though a starting job in the veteran unit remained unlikely). A redshirt following the suspension is possible.


Posted on: September 8, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: September 8, 2011 5:56 pm
 

Gators' Floyd suspended two games by NCAA

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

When Florida announced just before kickoff Saturday that defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd had been declared ineligible by the NCAA, their assurance that Floyd's "issue" was "not related to sports agents, University of Florida boosters or his recruitment to Florida" suggested that he might return to the lineup sooner rather than later. That suggestion has been proven correct.

The NCAA announced Thursday that Floyd will have his eligiblity reinstated following a two-game suspension and the repayment of $2,700 in benefits to charity. Assuming Floyd makes the payment, he will miss this week's game against UAB but be eligible to return for Florida's Week 3 SEC opener against Tennessee.*

According to the NCAA statement, Floyd was declared ineligible by Florida "for violations of NCAA preferential treatment rules, including receiving $2,500 cash over several months from an individual not associated with the university."

That individual has been reported to be a man named Steve Gordon, president of an organization titled the Student Athlete Mentoring Foundation. Involvement with Gordon and his organization has led to eligiblity issues for both Floyd and South Carolina freshman receiver Damiere Byrd. " "We don’t steer players (to specific schools), and the proof is in the pudding," Gordon told Columbia (S.C.) newspaper The State. "All I know is they are punishing Damiere and Sharrif for something they didn’t do."

To some extent, the NCAA seemed to agree, reducing Floyd's suspension from four games to two for "mitigating circumstances." Their statement explains:
In its decision, the reinstatement staff cited the totality of Floyd’s circumstances, including his personal hardship that led to the impermissible benefits being provided to the student-athlete by someone other than a legal guardian or family member.
Even that doesn't sound like it was enough for Florida. Gator AD Jeremy Foley released a statement stating that the Gators were "comfortable" with Floyd's eligiblity status, " yet the NCAA staff interpreted that there were violations."

He described Floyd's upbringing as "an environment where he didn’t have the things most of us take for granted ... In the absence of parents, there were kind people, in no way affiliated with the University of Florida, who were not boosters or sports agents, that helped him along the way."

While Byrd was unlikely to become a major contributor so soon for the Gamecocks, Floyd had reportedly been a terror in Gator practices throughout the offseason and was set to start at either tackle or end. He was named a CBSSports.com preseason All-SEC selection and should give Will Muschamp one more weapon on what already shapes up as one of the SEC's best defensive line.

So if Muschamp walks with just a little more pep in his step today, we won't blame him.

*On CBS, we just think you should know.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com