While details are scant, it appears another, some would say unexpected, football program could find itself — as neutered as they are — in the NCAA crosshairs.
First reported by Scott Garrard of 1280 the Zone in Salt Lake City and subsequently confirmed by ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy, the BYU athletic department is investigating allegations that Cougar football players were on the receiving end of impermissible benefits. No specific players have been connected to the allegations, although one former staff member — Duane Busby, who left as Director of Football Operations in late March after 19 years with the program — has been mentioned in connection to what’s for now merely speculation.
That speculation includes the unnamed players receiving, the SBNation.com website Vanquish the Foe writes, “free or discounted housing, iPads, and free meals.” The Salt Lake Tribune wrote that Busby “provided heavily discounted or rent-free housing, free meals and other gifts to selected players he favored, mostly offensive players and skill players.”
The only statement from the school on the developments is that “BYU is aware of the allegations and has been conducting a thorough review of the matter.”
The next step will be for BYU, at the conclusion of its internal probe, to send those findings, along with any self-imposed sanctions, to the NCAA. What The Association decides to do will depend on what’s contained in the report.
UPDATED 6:09 p.m. ET: From the Provo Daily Herald, addressing former BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman:
On 1280 the Zone radio station, Scott Garrard played a clip with an interview with Cody Hoffman’s manager, Sam Leaf, in which Leaf confirmed that Hoffman had been contacted “a couple of months ago” by BYU and asked to come in to answer some questions about possible improper benefits being given to certain players.
Leaf said Hoffman refused, saying he was focused on moving on to the NFL. Leaf said he was confident that Hoffman had not received anything illegal but Leaf had no comment when asked if Hoffman had heard of others who were involved.