Following Wednesday's practice in Tuscaloosa, Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban addressed the media regarding new allegations that one of his former players, along with other SEC teams' players, is accused of receiving extra benefits.
"I have full confidence in our leadership that we are going to do whatever we need to do to handle the situation appropriately, and I know that we will," Saban told the media. "I don't know anything about any current players that would have any circumstances relative to this, so there's no since in asking about that."
The controversy comes as a national online sports site claims it has documented evidence that implicates former University of Alabama football player D.J. Fluker and other current or former SEC football players of receiving improper benefits while enrolled in college and playing NCAA governed sports as amateurs.
Yahoo Sports is citing documents and text messages it received that it says reveals impermissible benefits to five SEC players.
Those players include:
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
Mississippi State wide out Chad Bumphis
Three of the five players are now playing in the National Football League. A fourth was recently released from an NFL team and the fifth is still with his collegiate team.
Each team says it is looking into the allegations.
[ON THE WEB: Yahoo Sports report "Documents, text messages reveal impermissible benefits to five SEC players"]
The report includes numerous documents, which if legitimate, could indicate violations of the NCAA's bylaws prohibiting amateur athletes from obtaining benefits from agents.
As a worst case scenario, the NCAA could rule Fluker was essentially a professional player, not an amateur, the Tide's BSC National Championship for 2012 could be vacated and Alabama could face further sanctions like probation and loss of scholarships.
Since the NCAA's enforcement staff is not as robust as it used to be, such worst case scenarios are unlikely to happen.
The University of Alabama Athletics Department does not appear to be blind sided by the allegations. When reached for comment on the report, University of Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle issued a statement saying"
"We have been aware of some of the allegations in today's story and our compliance department was looking into this situation prior to being notified that this story was actually going to be published. Our review is ongoing. We diligently educate our student-athletes on maintaining compliance with NCAA rules, and will continue to do so."
"For the high-profiled players we've had around here, I am very pleased with the way most of them, for the most part, have managed their circumstances and their situation and focused on what they need to do for the University of Alabama," Saban said.
Saban is moving on to focus on upcoming games. "I made a statement," Saban said, adding very sternly, "don't ask me any more questions about this."
The NCAA has not publicly reacted to the article nor has it made any indication if it will open any investigations into implicated athletic programs.
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