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BOOSTER SAYS HE IS VICTIM IN PROBE

Sep 18, 2002

By IAN GUERIN
BIRMINGHAM POST-HERALD

Logan Young, the former University of Alabama booster accused by the NCAA of paying money to a high school football coach, maintains his innocence in the alleged rules violations that ended with major sanctions placed against the Crimson Tide football program.

After the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee on Tuesday upheld February sanctions against the University of Alabama, Young said he will do what he has to do in order to be exonerated of the accusations against him.

"I assure you plenty is going to happen in the next several months," Young said. "This thing's got a long way to go. It's just getting started on my end. That's just the way it is. The proof will come out in the next several months."

The NCAA accused Young, 61, of paying $115,000 to former Trezevant (Memphis) High School Coach Lynn Lang to persuade Means, an ex-star defensive lineman at Trezevant, to play at Alabama. A federal indictment charging Lang with conspiracy, attempted bribery and extortion said either Lang or former Trezevant assistant Milton Kirk made contact with coaches or boosters from Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Memphis, Mississippi and Michigan State regarding money or gifts in exchange for Means' signature on a letter of intent. According to the indictment, the coaches conspired to get $100,000 each as well as new sports utility vehicles.

After saying he didn't receive his share of the money, Kirk alleged Young of Memphis was the source of the money given to Lang through a middleman. Kirk, who pled guilty earlier this year to one count of being a co-conspirator, is expected to testify against Lang in federal court. Lang's trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 18 in Memphis.

The NCAA didn't wait for the results of the trial to lower the hammer on Alabama. The University of Alabama eventually disassociated Young from the school's athletics program, along with two other boosters who were alleged to have had improper contact with former UA recruit Kenny Smith of Stevenson. UA cannot accept financial donations from Young, nor can Young receive benefits given to alumni and financial contributors.

Means, the player at the center of the scandal, never was accused of wrongdoing. After the allegations were made public, he was allowed to transfer to the University of Memphis, where he played in 2001. Means is academically ineligible to play this season.

Young said the NCAA failed to conduct a proper investigation and did not prove the allegations against him.

"(The NCAA) tried to dig up stuff on me and couldn't get it done," Young said. "Then they go and get a confidential witness, and they didn't even tell me who it was. I couldn't even defend myself. ...

"Nobody paid any coach $200,000. How can they have proof? It never happened. The NCAA doesn't have any proof that I paid a coach in Memphis, because I didn't pay one. They made a fool out of themselves."

Fool or not, the Alabama football team will not play in a bowl game for the next two seasons, Coach Dennis Franchione will lose six additional scholarships during the next three years on top of the 15 the university self-imposed and the program will be on probation for the next five years.

Young has hired Nashville attorney James Neal, one of the Watergate prosecutors, who also defended former Vice President Al Gore against a Justice Department investigation.

Young said he is considering legal action against the NCAA. He claims he has been blamed unjustly for Alabama's sanctions.

"They (the NCAA) knew what was going to happen before they ever did it," he said. "It wasn't an investigation. It was a lynching."

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