Jontre Kirklin

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LSU: Cash ‘may have been given’ to players by OBJ

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In the latest edition of Dumb Story That Keeps Getting Dumber, LSU has now conceded that money given to Tigers players after Monday night’s title game win may have been actual money.

To recap: in the moments following Monday night’s win, former Tiger Odell Beckham, Jr., was videotaped giving LSU players the ol’ $100 handshake. (He also sent the entire team custom shoes before the Texas A&M game and Beats headsets before the title game, but one’s a big no-no and the other’s okay. Because NCAA.)

LSU initially pretended the cash was pretend, an explanation that blew up upon the tiniest bit of investigation, as John summarized earlier today:

 

“It was a joke,” LSU associate athletic director Robert Munson said Tuesday. “The bills were fake bills.”

A day after that claim, however, Scott Gleeson of USA Today wrote that “LSU was investigating to see if all the bills were indeed fake and planned to interview both players.” For what it’s worth, Joe Burrow answered the following when asked on a podcast if he was given cash by Beckham:

Umm… yeah. I’m not a student-athlete anymore, so I can say yeah.

Now, in a statement just released Wednesday afternoon, LSU said this:

We are aware of the situation regarding Odell Beckham Jr. interacting with LSU student-athletes and others unaffiliated with the team following the championship game Monday night. Initial information suggested bills that were exchanged were novelty bills. Information and footage reviewed since shows apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes. We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position. We are working with our student-athletes, the NCAA and the SEC in order to rectify the situation. 

While it appears most players given the cash were players whose eligibility either expired the second the clock hit zero or guys who are leaving early, junior wide receiver Jontre Kirklin, not a draft prospect, was seen accepting cash.

Hopefully, this inanity highlights the absolute absurd status quo we have within big-time college football, where all the adults involved in Monday night’s game were getting rich but the actual players will be scapegoated if they accept so much as a $100 bill.

WATCH: Odell Beckham Jr. hands out cash to LSU players following title win

Odell Beckham LSU
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At least when it comes to Odell Beckham, it pays to be an LSU football player.

Ahead of his alma mater’s College Football Playoff championship game appearance against Clemson, Odell Beckham sent members of the LSU team new Beats headphones as well as a motivational message.  That did not constitute an NCAA violation.

Following his alma mater’s resounding win over Clemson that earned the football program it’s first national championship since 2007, Odell Beckham was seen gleefully handing out wads of cash to at least two LSU football players.  Does that constitute an NCAA violation?  The Association will be the judge, we assume.

The first player in the video is Justin Jefferson, a junior wide receiver expected by some to leave LSU early for the 2020 NFL Draft.  The second on the receiving end of a proverbial “$100 handshake” is Jontre Kirklin, a junior wide receiver who is expected to return to the Tigers in 2020.

Here’s to guessing that this isn’t the last of this story, however innocuous the gesture was, that we’ll hear about in the coming hours and days.

One final note: OBJ was in rare celebratory form on the night as, in the raucous postgame locker room, he stated he is going to sell Jefferson’s game-used cleats for a sizable chunk of change.