Six Athletes Suspended For Allegedly Taking Cash
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Davis and five other Texas Christian University football players have been suspended from play for taking illegal cash payments from a booster, the university’s head football coach said today.
The six, besides the star running back, are defensive player Egypt Allen, linebacker Gerald Taylor, defensive end Gary Spann, strong safety Marvin Foster and defensive tackle Darron Turner, said coach Jim Wacker. Taylor is a junior and the others are seniors.
The players ″turned themselves in″ after a team meeting Thursday, Wacker said.
During the meeting, Wacker said he discussed ″the importance of honesty and integrity″ and afterward one of the six approached the coaching staff and confessed to taking cash payments. Later, the other five players also told the staff they, too, had taken payments, he said.
The players were suspended immediately for Saturday’s game against Kansas State University.
Wacker said he would have to wait until university officials consulted with Southwest Conference officials and the National Collegiate Athletic Association before deciding whether the suspensions would be permanent.
He said the payments ″never would have been discovered had they not turned themselves in.″
Davis, a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, which is given annually to the nation’s top college football player, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram he did not want to discuss details of the matter.
″It hurts,″ he said. ″That’s all I know to say. I had no idea this would lead to something this serious. My brothers and sisters tell me the sun will rise tomorrow, but I don’t know how I can go out and face the public. ...
″I’m not ready to talk about it right now, but I don’t think a lot of mud should be slung because of it.″
Davis led the nation in rushing average per carry at 7.64 yards in 1984. He finished the season with 1,611 yards rushing on 211 carries.
He finished third in the nation in rushing average per game at 146.5 yards. He was sixth in the nation in scoring with 17 touchdowns.
Davis finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting at the end of last season.
Wacker said the six suspended players were recruited before he arrived at Texas Christian from Southwest Texas State. He said he had been assured that no illegal payments were being made to athletes.
″We thought we had shut it (illegal recruiting) off,″ he said. ″Obviously, we hadn’t.
″I believe since we’ve come, we haven’t recruited one player illegally,″ he said.
He said the six would remain on athletic scholarships, even if they never returned to the Horned Frog team.
The coach said he could not divulge any information about the source of the payments pending the investigation.
Southwest Conference Commissioner Fred Jacoby said he had not talked to TCU, but ″we’re caught in a series of them (rules violations) right now.″
″It appears to me that each institution (in the SWC) will want to and must do a better job of working with the booster groups,″ he said.
According to NCAA rules, if a school knows that a player has received money from an athletic department supporter, it is the school’s obligation to declare the player ineligible.