Thursday, September 20, 2018

Kevin Knox named in Yahoo story on potential NCAA violations

Kentucky's Kevin Knox, a former Tampa Catholic basketball standout, was named in a Yahoo Sports story about the possible NCAA violations involving prominent players and schools.

Yahoo obtained documents from a federal investigation detailing the expenditures of Andy Miller and his ASM sports agency for everything from cash advances up to tens of thousands of dollars to meals for big-time high school prospects and their families. The list includes at least 20 Division I-A colleges, including Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan State, N.C. State, Texas, USC and Alabama, and more than 25 players, including current standouts such as Michigan State's Miles Bridges and Duke's Wendell Carter, and former college players such as Maryland's Diamond Stone, Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon and Washington's Markelle Fultz.

Knox, who is Kentucky's leading scorer, is one of the players/families mentioned as meeting or having meals with Christian Dawkins, a former associate at ASM Sports. Other players named include former Bartow standout Tony Bradley, who played for North Carolina, and Alabama's Collin Sexton, who played with Knox in last year's McDonald's All-American Game.

ESPN reported late Friday that Arizona coach Sean Miller is on tape talking with Dawkins about paying $100,000 to ensure that star freshman DeAndre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.

Kevin Knox Sr. said he has never met or contacted Andy Miller or Dawkins, adding he wasn't worried about his son's eligibility being impacted. He had no further comment.

The Knox family flew to Lexington on Friday and will be there for the Wildcats' home game against Missouri on Saturday.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said neither he nor his staff used any agents to provide financial benefits to student-athletes. He said the school will conduct an internal review and cooperate with authorities.

An Erik Murphy is also mentioned in the documents — presumably a reference to the former Gators center. Murphy received a $200 loan, according to Yahoo documents. Murphy played for Florida from 2009-13, and the balance sheet is dated December 2015, so it's possible the loan came after his UF career. He spent some of the 2013-14 season with the Chicago Bulls and now plays overseas.

Murphy, 27, wrote on Twitter that he accepted $260 "from my agent during predraft workouts post graduation from UF."

Former Florida State guard Malik Beasley is also listed in the documents obtained by Yahoo. They cite a $37.81 dinner and what appears to be a $600 loan to him in March 2016, just after he declared for the NBA draft (the Nuggets picked him at No. 19 overall).

Texas said Friday that it is withholding junior guard Eric Davis from competition, and San Diego State provisionally suspended senior forward Malik Pope.

In October, NCAA president Mark Emmert formed a committee to clean up basketball's latest scandal involving unsavory methods that coaches, agents and shoe company representatives use to make inroads with high-profile high school recruits.

On Friday, Emmert issued a statement in response to Yahoo's story: "These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules."

Meeting with an agent is allowed so long as the player agrees not to sign with the agent or accept extra benefits, such as meals paid for by the agent or agency, before turning pro. The amounts, even if small, could be a violation under NCAA rules.

In May, the NCAA emailed a memorandum to coaches, athletic directors and compliance administrators in men's Division I-A college basketball about players' eligibility regarding combines, agents and workouts.

One of the seven key points was that if a player accepts benefits from an agent, a prospective agent or any individual acting on behalf of the agent (e.g. runner), he would lose his eligibility. Still, if Knox had a meal paid for by Dawkins or ASM, he could be cleared, depending on the amount. An amendment to an NCAA bylaw on extra benefits says that a student-athlete's eligibility will not be affected if the value is less than $100 and he or she repays the amount to a charity.

Knox is averaging 15.4 points per game and is one of 30 players on the Naismith Trophy watch list, awarded annually to the top player. His goal is to turn pro after his freshman season.

RELATED: NBA or bust: Kevin Knox's lifelong push for the pros

Staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report, which included information from Times wires.

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