College football notebook

Miami may face violations

Players with booster ties could miss games

QB in question
Associated Press / August 26, 2011

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Miami’s internal investigation has determined eight football players, including quarterback Jacory Harris, are believed to have committed NCAA violations by associating with booster Nevin Shapiro and have been declared ineligible, said a person with knowledge of the process.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity yesterday because no one is authorized to discuss the ongoing investigations by the university and the NCAA. The person did not divulge how many current players have been linked to Shapiro, a convicted Ponzi scheme architect who is serving a 20-year prison sentence for bilking $930 million from investors.

Simply being declared ineligible now does not necessarily mean a player would miss any time this season. The Miami Herald first reported the decision to declare the players ineligible.

Under NCAA rules, when a school finds violations have occurred, the athlete typically is declared ineligible and the NCAA begins a reinstatement process. The NCAA will also decide if that player needs to miss any games. And the clock is running: Miami opens the season at Maryland Sept. 5.

“The school must declare the student-athlete ineligible and then can seek reinstatement,’’ NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said.

All of the current Miami players implicated by Shapiro in a story published by Yahoo! Sports practiced yesterday and have been on the field throughout the investigation process.

LSU fight reports differ Two employees of the bar where LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and three teammates are accused of injuring four people in a parking lot brawl said that one of the victims “threw the first punch’’ shortly after he had been escorted outside by staff.

In an interview with the AP, John Peak, general manager of Shady’s Bar in Baton Rouge, La., and door manager Jordan Neldare offer versions of the bar fight that differ from details in a police report released yesterday.

There have been no arrests and no charges filed in the incident, but police have said one of the alleged brawlers had three fractured vertebrae, which is serious enough to bring felony second-degree battery charges against whoever caused those injuries.

Both bar employees said Andrew Lowery, who has been identified by police as one of the victims, was asked to leave the bar around 1:30 a.m. last Friday when he appeared to be harassing a young woman. Within minutes of walking into the parking lot, Lowery was in the midst of the fight, the bar employees said.

“What we do know is that Lowery threw the first punch,’’ said Peak.

Lowery told investigators he was running to the aid of an unknown man who had been pulled from a pickup truck by men he believed were LSU football players. Lowery told police he was assaulted by several people - including Jefferson and LSU linebacker Josh Johns - who punched and kicked him repeatedly.

The report said police were later contacted by a 19-year-old woman named Victoria Long, who said she witnessed several LSU players beating Lowery and saw Jefferson kick Lowery in the face.

Police have identified Jefferson, Johns, offensive lineman Chris Davenport, and receiver Jarvis Landry as people of interest in the fight.

The fourth-ranked Tigers will be without junior receiver Russell Shepard for their season opener, Sept. 3 against No. 3 Oregon. Shepard was suspended for the game for violating university and NCAA codes by discussing an NCAA inquiry with a teammate who was scheduled to be interviewed about the same matter.

A&M talking move again Texas A&M president R. Bowen Loftin announced another step in what many believe is the university’s steady march to leave the Big 12 Conference and, perhaps, join the Southeastern Conference. The school formally notified the Big 12 that it is considering leaving and wants to know the process if it does. Loftin’s letter to Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said it should not be considered notice that the Aggies have already decided to leave. The SEC declined comment . . . Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said freshman receiver Joe Craig will miss the first three games of the season as punishment for a fight with a female on the Tigers’ track team in June.