DALLAS — Arkansas officials are looking into allegations that an agent helped star running back Darren McFadden purchase a Cadillac Escalade and then had the vehicle put in his mother's name.
Arkansas compliance director Marvin Caston said he heard rumors late Thursday afternoon about the possible NCAA violation involving McFadden.
But the agent at the center of the allegations, former Arkansas track and field star Mike Conley, strongly denied TV reports claiming he helped McFadden purchase the vehicle.
"I got a call and was told that somebody is saying I walked into a dealership in Fayetteville with Darren and helped him purchase a car," Conley said Thursday night. "I haven't been in Fayetteville in a while, and I certainly haven't been in any car dealerships with Darren McFadden."
The NCAA forbids student-athletes from accepting improper benefits. If it is determined that Conley gave McFadden a car, the junior would lose his eligibility for Tuesday's Cotton Bowl against No. 7 Missouri.
KNWA, a Fayetteville TV station, reported Thursday that McFadden was present when Conley negotiated a deal to purchase an Escalade from a Northwest Arkansas car dealership.
KNWA cited an anonymous source who claimed that the sports utility vehicle was put in the name of McFadden's mother, Mini Muhammad.
Muhammad could not be reached Thursday night at her home in Little Rock, but Conley dismissed the report.
"That is definitely not true, nothing true to it at all," Conley said. "... I would never do anything like that, never put anybody in jeopardy or do anything to hurt the Razorbacks."
Caston said the university is looking into the allegations, and the matter is being taken seriously. But he could not offer a timetable as to when a ruling about McFadden's eligibility will be made.
"We have a procedure to look into all allegations (involving student-athletes), and this is no different," Caston said. "... We try to be as swift and thorough as possible."
Conley remains one of Arkansas' most decorated track and field stars, winning conference and national titles in the long jump and triple jump.
He now works as an agent registered to represent NBA players, including his son Mike Conley Jr. and 2007 first overall pick Greg Oden. But the elder Conley does not represent NFL clients.
McFadden has been projected as a likely top 5 pick if he left Arkansas after this season to enter April's NFL Draft. He has not said publicly whether he will leave, though the Cotton Bowl is believed to be his final game with the Razorbacks.
"I am not representing any NFL players and (have) no plans to do so right now," Conley said. "I would love to be able to do some things on the marketing side of the NFL someday, but nothing right now."
Arkansas associate athletic director Kevin Trainor said university officials are aware of the allegations involving McFadden.
"As with any potential compliance issue, we are looking into the matter," Trainor said. "With compliance and privacy issues, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this point."
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