Ex-Florida Star Maurkice Pouncey Denies Taking $100K Payment
"I did not accept $100,000, it is an absolutely ridiculous claim. I have completely cooperated with the investigation and answered any and all questions put to me,'' Pouncey said in a statement released through his Gainesville attorney, M. Stephen Stanfield.
Florida and the NCAA are investigating an allegation that Pouncey was paid $100,000 between the Southeastern Conference title game and the Sugar Bowl last season, ESPN.com reported earlier this week.
The offensive lineman was selected 18th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year's NFL Draft. His twin brother, Mike, will be a senior at Florida this season.
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley has said the university became aware of the allegation in early June. He said the school reported the information to the NCAA, the SEC and the university's police department.
Gators coach Urban Meyer commented on the matter Wednesday at SEC's media day:
"We've known about that allegation ... it's been a while. Like five to six weeks. When you get those accusations, you simply go to the compliance people and say, 'this is what we got,' and you handle it. I always like to go to the source ... I went right to Maurkice. [Meyer asked] 'Did this happen?' He said 'no.' That family has been very honest with me in my dealings with them for four years."
Pouncey's twin brother, Mike, also spoke at the event.
"It's not true," said the senior-to-be. "I feel bad. It ruined somebody's name. We pride ourselves on having a good clean name."
Later, he added: "We're dealing with it right now; we're trying to get through it. It sucks that our name has to be thrown under the bus right now because we're not the type of family to break the rules. We're going to get through it."
Pouncey's agent is Joel Segal, but the allegation is not necessarily tied to him. If the allegation is proven true, however, Pouncey could be ruled ineligible for the Sugar Bowl game and Florida might have to vacate that victory over Cincinnati among other potential penalties.
The investigation is one in series lately involving sports agent-related inquiries in college football.
North Carolina announced last week that the NCAA is investigating its football program. The NCAA is looking into a possible rules violation involving South Carolina tight end Weslye Saunders.
And Alabama coach Nick Saban told ESPN.com that university compliance officials are trying to determine if defensive end Marcell Dareus violated NCAA rules by attending an agent's party in Florida.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.