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Florida Gators say no evidence so far of Maurkice Pouncey wrongdoing

An anonymous tip claimed that center Maurkice Pouncey was paid by an unnamed agent before he played in UF’s Sugar Bowl victory Jan. 1.

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An anonymous tip claimed that center Maurkice Pouncey was paid by an unnamed agent before he played in UF’s Sugar Bowl victory Jan. 1.

GAINESVILLE — An internal review begun nearly six weeks ago has so far not produced evidence of NCAA violations in the Florida athletic program, UF officials said Monday.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley acknowledged Monday that the school has been in contact with law enforcement and NCAA and SEC officials as part of an internal review of potential NCAA rules violations.

The investigation stems from an anonymous tip UF officials received in June alleging that someone on behalf of an unnamed agent paid former All-American center Maurkice Pouncey possibly as much as $100,000 sometime after the SEC Championship Game in December.

Pouncey played in the Gators' Sugar Bowl win over Cincinnati in January, and acceptance of the payment would have made him ineligible. That could mean vacating the bowl win.

"We were made aware of some information in early June that we reported to law enforcement and we then shared with the NCAA and the SEC," Foley said in a statement released Monday. "At this time we have no information that has indicated that there are any compliance issues for the University of Florida."

Under a Florida law enacted after Florida's Tank Black agent scandal, agents or their representatives who provide illegal inducements could face a second-degree felony charge. Florida is one of 39 states with some types of laws that are supposed to regulate sports agents.

Florida has not been notified of any NCAA investigation concerning the matter.

Pouncey started every game except one in three seasons with the Gators and capped off his junior season with the 2009 Rimington Trophy, given annually to the nation's top center. He was a first-round pick (18th overall) of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL draft in April, becoming the Steelers' first offensive lineman taken in the first round since Kendall Simmons in 2002.

His twin brother, Mike, remains on the team and is a senior captain. Mike Pouncey is one of three Florida players expected to participate in SEC media days today in Hoover, Ala.

Maurkice Pouncey could not be reached for comment.

South Carolina: Athletic director Eric Hyman says the NCAA is investigating a possible rules violation of an unnamed Gamecocks program. He said the school will continue working with the NCAA. Tight end Weslye Saunders, identified by media reports as the target of the investigation, declined comment when reached Monday. "We're not going to look the other way like possibly Southern California did," football coach Steve Spurrier said. "We're going to abide by the rules."

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report, which used information from Times wires. Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3389.

Florida Gators say no evidence so far of Maurkice Pouncey wrongdoing 07/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 8:03am]
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