HOOVER, Ala. — Talk of rogue agents enticing college football players with cash and parties continued to sweep through SEC Football Media Days on Thursday.
Georgia is the latest school where the NCAA is conducting an inquiry on campus, less than 24 hours after reports of players from Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina allegedly attending a party hosted by an agent in Miami surfaced.
Junior receiver A.J. Green is believed to be the Bulldogs player in question, but he denies having been to Miami.
“I have my circle, and I know who to trust and who not to trust,” Green said. “I’m at the point of my life right now that I don’t need to make any new friends. I’ve got to keep that same circle I’ve had since Day 1 and not let anybody in that.”
When pressed further, Green said he had been instructed by the NCAA not to comment.
“No. Like I said, I still can’t comment on it,” he said. “It’s not my place to comment on that. I don’t feel like I need to.”
The party was held in South Beach during Memorial Day weekend; the name of the agent in question has yet to surface.
The NCAA first inquired about the party after North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin mentioned the trip on his Twitter account.
Austin could be suspended for his senior season due to alleged violations involving benefits from agents and marketing representatives.
South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders and Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus admitted they attended the party, but both said they didn’t do anything wrong.
Saunders “went with several players on a trip to Miami,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Thursday. “I guess the question is, who paid for it? Who paid for what they did while they were there? When the investigation is finished, I guess we’ll find out about all the guys.
“I’ve talked to him briefly. He told me he’s done nothing wrong. We’ll let it play out.”
Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban raised eyebrows Wednesday when he referred to agents as pimps and said middlemen recruiting players with cash and parties was “entrapment of young men.”
The NCAA told Georgia coaches and players not to comment about the inquiry, but Mark Richt did offer his opinion about the growing concern over illegal contact and benefits between agents and players.
“If there was an easy answer with the agents, I think we would have solved it,” he said. “If there are certain rules and everyone abides by them, there are no problems. It’s when you have people breaking the rules that you have a problem. I don’t know the answer. I am not going to claim to know it. We are going to educate our men and appeal to them. We want them to do the right thing for themselves and the university.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.