Arkansas running back Darren McFadden went through practice as usual Friday, even as university officials continued to look into whether he received a Cadillac Escalade from an agent.
Graylon McFadden, Darren's father, insisted Friday that TV reports claiming an agent helped his son purchase an Escalade are "a bold-faced lie."
The elder McFadden said the vehicle his son has been seen driving belongs to Ella McFadden, Graylon's wife and Darren's stepmother. The car is not Darren's, his father said.
"It's her car," Graylon McFadden told The Morning News on Friday afternoon. "It has nothing to do with (him) getting a car or nothing."
Graylon McFadden said his wife purchased the Cadillac after her car was totaled in an accident six months ago. She simply let him borrow it, his father said.
"He drove it around Little Rock, and she let him take it on to Dallas," Graylon McFadden said.
Meanwhile, KARK-TV, a Little Rock TV station, backed off its Thursday report claiming that Darren McFadden was present at a car dealership when agent Mike Conley, a former Arkansas track and field star, negotiated a deal for the Escalade.
KARK, as well as its Fayetteville affiliate KNWA, cited an anonymous source who claimed the vehicle was put in the name of Darren McFadden's mother, Mini Muhammad.
Conley strongly denied the report Thursday night, and KARK issued a public apology on its Web site Friday for its "poor standards of reporting."
"We want to publicly apologize to Mr. Conley for any distress he has experienced," the written statement said. "And we also want to apologize to Darren McFadden and his family for reporting details of this story that were not accurate."
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.
Arkansas associate athletic director Kevin Trainor said he's aware of the apology, but the school is still looking into the matter.
Meanwhile, Arkansas compliance director Marvin Caston said late Friday afternoon that the school is "in the investigative stage of this review."
Despite the distractions, Darren McFadden practiced with his teammates Friday morning at SMU's campus. Arkansas interim coach Reggie Herring said he didn't notice a difference in how his star running back practiced.
"He's out there talking, he's competing hard, he's got a great attitude and Darren McFadden has been business as usual and he's working extremely hard," Herring said. "... So I haven't detected any distractions as far as that being a mental factor in his game or the way he's practiced."
Several Arkansas players said Friday that the allegations involving Darren McFadden won't serve as a distraction leading up to the Cotton Bowl because they've dealt with other issues during their tumultuous season.
Conley called the report "untrue," insisting that he hasn't been in a car dealership with McFadden. The running back's father also expressed outrage at the report.
"I was upset because they start all kinds of rumors and then somebody wants to talk about Mike Conley had bought him a car and went to the dealership with him and all that," Graylon McFadden said. "I know that's a bold-faced lie."
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