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Documents, text messages reveal impermissible benefits to five SEC players

Documents, text messages reveal impermissible benefits to five SEC players

Five Southeastern Conference football stars violated NCAA rules by receiving extra benefits prior to completing their collegiate careers, a Yahoo Sports investigation has found. The benefits – which in some cases came from multiple individuals – were conveyed to University of Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, Tennessee defensive end Maurice Couch, Mississippi State University defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Mississippi State wideout Chad Bumphis.

Fluker, Bray and Cox are all currently on NFL rosters. Bumphis was recently released by the Miami Dolphins. Couch is a senior starter for the Volunteers this season. 

The identities of these players were revealed in a web of financial and text message records belonging to former Crimson Tide defensive end Luther Davis. The records were turned over to Yahoo Sports by a source with ties to the NFL agent community who alleged that Davis was acting as an intermediary between several high-profile college football stars and multiple NFL agents and financial advisers.

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.

Simms, Schaffer, Phillips and Rowan each confirmed giving money to Davis – but each said they had no knowledge of, and did not instruct Davis to provide benefits to players. Jernigan declined comment. Brahmbhatt declined comment through his attorney. Another agent who was listed on a travel itinerary in Davis' records, Isaac Conner, said Davis was a point of contact to reach multiple SEC players but denied any knowledge of Davis' financial dealings.

A defensive end for the Crimson Tide from 2007-10, Davis acted as a "concierge" between budding NFL draft picks, agents and financial advisers following his college career, five sources told Yahoo Sports. Davis signed with the Buffalo Bills as an undrafted free agent in 2011, but has not been on an NFL roster since being released in training camp prior to that season.

All told, the records show agents and financial advisers moved at least $45,550 to Davis between September 2011 and December 2012. During that same timeframe, records also show at least $12,700 in cash, airfare, living expenses or other receipts moving from Davis to the five players. In addition to that amount, Yahoo Sports also obtained a line-item invoice of 49 transactions from February 2013 that Davis emailed to Fluker's onetime financial adviser Hodge Brahmbhatt. Within the email, Davis listed $33,755 in expenditures under the subject line "D.J. Fluker Invoice."

Read the full story on Yahoo! Sports

 

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