On Monday, Pat Forde of ESPN.com reported that the NCAA and Florida are investigating whether former Gators center (and Steelers rookie) Maurkice Pouncey received $100,000 between the 2009 SEC title game and the team’s January 2010 bowl game.
Now, Joe Schad of ESPN.com reports, via Twitter, that the Pouncey family “plans to deny any wrongdoing” on Tuesday.
Schad also explains that the letter sent to Florida tipping the program off to the potential problem was postmarked in Canada, and that it “contained photographic evidence of an alleged runner for an agent in social situations,” presumably with the Pounceys.
Still, Schad reports that the Pounceys have provided “phone, bank and credit card statements that do not show large payments.”
But Maurkice Pouncey bought an Escalade and jewelry after the draft. He claims that he paid for it with a deferred line of credit, and that at times he loaned it to his brother, Mike, who still plays for the Gators.
A separate source with knowledge of the Pouncey family tells us that, in the source’s opinion, it’s 99.99 percent likely that the Pounceys did not accept cash or other benefits from an agent before Maurkice’s eligibility expired.
Though there’s no NCAA ban on paying players after their college eligibility expires, the NFLPA prevents payments to induce players to sign with football agents. So it’s possible that Maurkice Pouncey actually was paid — if he was paid at all — after the bowl game. This would create no problems for Pouncey or the Gators, but it would create a problem for the agent.
Complicating matters is the ongoing presence of Mike Pouncey at Florida. If an agent gave cash or any other thing of value to the Pounceys after Maurkice left Florida, the gesture could create problems for Mike.