Former Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman DJ Fluker is among five Southeastern Conference players alleged to have received improper benefits, according to a bombshell report by Yahoo Sports reporter Charles Robinson.
From the extensively documented report:
A Yahoo Sports investigation found that Davis provided benefits to at least five players during their collegiate careers, including Crimson Tide offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, University of Tennessee defensive lineman Maurice Couch, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Mississippi State University wideout Chad Bumphis and Mississippi State defensive end Fletcher Cox. 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.
A column by Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel says it may not matter, because the NCAA likely won’t do much about past players and there’s no direct connection to coaching staffs:
The NCAA won’t be able to get enough people to talk. They won’t be able to access the paper trail. It’s possible they won’t even muster much of an effort. There isn’t a direct tie to the coaching staffs. The schools involved, Alabama, Mississippi State and Tennessee, will solemnly declare their concern, even though the latter two are already on probation for previous things that produced solemn concern. Maybe Volunteers defensive lineman Maurice Couch, the only still-eligible participant, gets hit a little, but that’ll be it.
Either way, this is a big story that nobody on the Alabama coaching staff wanted to have as a distraction heading into this weekend’s game against Texas A&M. On his radio program, Paul Finebaum called the release of the report today curious, and opined that it was no coincidence.