Players: Spurrier vowed no charges

By Times wire
Published August 9, 2005

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Brian Brownlee and Woodly Telfort, two ex-South Carolina football players facing charges involving thefts at Williams-Brice Stadium in November, claim in court documents that coach Steve Spurrier told the team no one would face criminal charges if the stolen items were returned.

Brownlee and Telfort were charged with felony grand larceny in January. Brownlee confessed to taking two laptop computers, each valued at $4,000, and two computer projectors, worth about $1,675 and $850, according to an arrest warrant. Telfort admitted taking a $4,000 laptop.

The items were taken after players were told they would not be going to a bowl game as punishment for an on-field brawl with Clemson.

Hemphill Pride, an attorney for Brownlee and Telfort, said Monday that the players want the charges dismissed.

Spurrier issued a statement saying the school's attorney had asked him not to comment because of the pending criminal trial: "When the time is appropriate, I'll answer any questions relative to this matter."

Telfort said he relied on Spurrier's promise when he returned the stolen laptop, according to court documents. Brownlee claimed he returned the items he took to former administrator Harold White before Spurrier's promise. After university president Andrew Sorensen learned the scope of the thefts, however, Brownlee and Telfort were arrested, according to court filings.

NCAA: Rampant violations at FAMU

TALLAHASSEE - Florida A&M was cited for a lack of institutional control after an NCAA investigation found rampant violations regarding student-athlete eligibility and a failure by former football coach Billy Joe to adequately monitor his program.

The NCAA's notice of allegations listed 184 instances between 1998-99 and 2004-05 in which students throughout the athletic program were allowed to participate without meeting eligibility requirements. "Key personnel ... lacked acceptable levels of expertise and knowledge of these regulations resulting in an inadequate certification system and a number of improper certifications of its student-athletes," the report said.

Most of the eligibility violations occurred under then-compliance director Jonathan Evans, who is no longer at FAMU.

The school had earlier made public the results of its self-report and volunteered to strip scholarships in almost every sport, including 28 in football, and impose a one-year postseason ban on men's basketball.

The violations regarding Joe and the football program related mostly to exceeding daily and weekly practice limitations and allowing a noncertified graduate assistant to participate in off-campus recruiting.

This comes two months after Joe and two assistants were fired by the school, which cited alleged NCAA rules violations as the reason. Joe has since sued the school.