KANSAS ATHLETIC officials are reviewing allegations that the former AAU basketball coach of Ben McLemore received cash payments aimed at steering the star freshman to a sports agent.
AAU coach Darius Cobb told USA Today he received $10,000 in two payments from Rodney Blackstock, the founder and CEO of Hooplife Academy in Greensboro, N.C.
Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger issued a statement Saturday saying that the university had received an inquiry about the relationship between the McLemore family and Blackstock. The information was being reviewed and officials would "process it" with the NCAA and the Big 12 Conference if necessary.
"We are not in a position to comment further at this time," Zenger said. A spokesman with the university declined further comment yesterday.
McLemore, a second-team All-America, is expected to be an NBA lottery pick in June after breaking the Jayhawks' freshman scoring record held by Danny Manning. McLemore averaged nearly 16 points for a team that went 31-6 and won a share of its ninth straight Big 12 championship, and he announced last month that he was leaving Kansas after one season.
In a release issued by Cobb through Coburn Enterprise, LLC in St. Louis, Cobb said Blackstock gave him money to give to the family in an effort to steer McLemore to him as a client. He said in addition to the cash, he also received expenses for hotels and travel to Los Angeles.
The statement issued Monday by Cobb said Kansas and coach Bill Self "had no knowledge or involvement dealing with this issue."
Tim Tebow, the backup quarterback cut last week by the New York Jets, as selected as America's most influential athlete, according to a survey released by Forbes.com. Tebow had the most influence on fans, according to 29 percent of respondents, finishing ahead of Michael Phelps (25 percent), Usain Bolt (23 percent) and Derek Jeter (22 percent). Forbes.com used surveys from Nielsen and E-Poll Market Research to determine the winner, and took into account Nielsen's measurement for a player's endorsement potential.
* The Vikings released punter Chris Kluwe, a move that had been expected ever since the team spent a fifth-round draft pick on punter Jeff Locke.
* Cleveland seventh-round draft pick Armonty Bryant was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. The defensive end was arrested Friday in Ada, Okla., near the stadium at East Central University, where he was a standout player. Last year, Bryant was arrested on a felony charge of marijuana distribution in a school zone. He pleaded no contest.
* Heisman Trophy winner Vinny Testaverde, of Miami, is among 12 former players who will join two coaches selected for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The rest of the class will be announced today.
FIFA provisionally banned outgoing executive committee member Chuck Blazer, of the United States, from all soccer-related activities for 90 days after he was accused of embezzling at least $21 million.
* Soccer teams face being thrown out of competitions or even relegated if their players, officials or fans are found guilty of racism or discrimination under strict proposals put forward by FIFA.
Philly File *
The Penn women's lacrosse team will face Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Friday at Georgetown.
* The La Salle men's basketball team will open against Morgan State, Nov. 22 in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.
* Penn State will face Vermont again in the second Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff at the Wells Fargo Center, 5 p.m. Oct. 26.
* The All-Atlantic 10 rowers include first-teamers Brittany Roth (Saint Joseph's) and Paige O'Sullivan (Temple) and second-teamers Emma Brown (La Salle) and Joanna Sutor (Temple).
* Defensive end Jesse Joseph (Northeast High, UConn) was selected by Montreal in the third round of the CFL draft.
Sport Stops *
Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring Nov. 24 against Brandon Rios at the Macau Venetian resort in China, promoter Bob Arum announced.