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Originally published Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 9:18 PM

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Report: 5 top SEC players received improper benefits

College football programs from the talent-rich Southeastern Conference are having to defend themselves in the wake of allegations of money being funneled to players.

Seattle Times news services

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College football programs from the talent-rich Southeastern Conference are having to defend themselves in the wake of allegations of money being funneled to players.

Yahoo Sports reported Wednesday that five SEC players received improper benefits during their college careers, including former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, casting yet another dark cloud over college sports.

The players were Fluker, who started on two national-championship teams, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and defensive lineman Maurice Couch, Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and wide receiver Chad Bumphis.

The report cited text messages and financial records of former Alabama defensive end Luther Davis and an unnamed NFL source who said Davis was a go-between for the players with NFL agents and financial advisers.

All three schools issued statements saying they are investigating the allegations.

The report comes on the heels of Sports Illustrated articles outlining alleged widespread misconduct within the Oklahoma State program, including academic fraud and illegal payments, dating to 2001 under coaches Les Miles and Mike Gundy.

More than a dozen Oklahoma State players admitted to academic misconduct over the past decade, including receiving exam answers in advance, passing classes for little or no work and using tutors who completed work for them, according to an SI article released Wednesday. The article was the second of five planned by the magazine.

Oklahoma State said it has notified the NCAA about the allegations and launched its own investigation.

Former Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, now with the Cleveland Browns, called the allegations “comical” and said he did not see any wrongdoing during his time at the Big 12 school. He said the players quoted weren’t credible because they had been kicked off the team.

Notes

• Quarterback Braxton Miller’s status is still uncertain for Saturday when No. 4 Ohio State travels to face California. Coach Urban Meyer said Miller got in a little work at practice but then had to return to rehabbing his injured left knee.

• Clemson wide receiver Charone Peake has been lost for the season after tearing a knee ligament in practice this week.

• Grambling State fired head coach Doug Williams after the Tigers lost the first two games of the season. Grambling was 1-10 last season under Williams.

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