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Ex-Players Allege Yeoman Paid Them

March 17, 1986| Associated Press

HOUSTON — Former University of Houston football players say Cougar Coach Bill Yeoman and his assistants doled out thousands of dollars to top players in violation of NCAA regulations, the Houston Post reported in weekend copyright stories.

The Post reported Saturday that two wide receivers--David Roberson and Lonell Phea--who played in the late 1970s and early 1980s have signed affidavits stating they received more than $26,000 between them over a four-year period.

The Post said six other players who played in the early 1980s confirmed reports of cash disbursements to players.

Jay Goldberg, the school's sports information director, told the Associated Press on Sunday that the university would be conducting its own independent, outside investigation.

"We are and that's all we're going to comment on right now," Goldberg said.

Athletic Director Tom Ford also said the school's Intercollegiate Athletic Council would be convened to consider the matter.

Yeoman declined to comment on the claims and referred all questions to Ford.

"It's your story. Write what you want to," Yeoman told the Post.

On Sunday, the paper reported that Roberson was allowed to remain in school and play football even though he was placed on athletic suspension for five of his nine semesters at the university.

Phea was quoted as saying that top athletes regularly enrolled in only nine hours per semester, less than the minimum required for status as a full-time student, and that he and other athletes were encouraged to take less-demanding classes.

"But they kept us in school," Phea said. "Coach Yeoman wanted me for nothing but football. He didn't have no use for me other than that. I ain't took no math or English since the first year I was there. But they couldn't afford to let me go down because I was one of the key players."

There is a four-year statute of limitations for the NCAA to punish a school for violations.

The cash payment violations alleged by Roberson and Phea fall outside of that statute, but NCAA enforcement official Bob Minnix told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that if a current coaching staff is involved, the NCAA would conduct an investigation "to some degree."

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