Bulldog booster claims deal was offered for Means

A University of Georgia booster claims a high school coach offered a deal requiring two sport utility vehicles and $60,000 to get a blue-chip recruit to sign with the Bulldogs, a Tennessee newspaper reported.

Booster Bill Harper told the Memphis Commercial Appeal the offer was made by Lynn Lang, a former high school coach to linebacker Albert Means of Memphis. 

Means' college recruitment is being investigated by the FBI, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Southeastern Conference and a federal grand jury in Memphis, which is checking into allegations that his football services were brokered for $200,000.

Means played for the University of Alabama last year. He transferred to the University of Memphis where he is awaiting a decision from the NCAA concerning his eligibility to play football this season. Means is accused of no wrongdoing himself. 

Harper, a Memphis resident, told the Commercial Appeal that he met with Lang while having a meal in the spring of 1999 with Leon Perry, a former assistant coach at Georgia (1996-2000).

"So at some point during the lunch, Leon got up to go to the restroom and I asked Lang, I said, How is Georgia looking at signing Means? And he said, 'They're looking good if certain things happen."

Harper maintains that Lang wanted two Ford Expeditions for himself and an assistant coach, $60,000 and a new house for Means' mother. Means' mother is not accused of wrongly profiting from her son's football skills.

Harper added that he told former Georgia head coach Jim Donnan in January 2000 about his conversation with Lang, according to the Commercial Appeal report.

Allegations about Means' recruitment became public in January when Milton Kirk, a former assistant coach under Lang, began talking about them with The Commercial Appeal.

Lang later resigned and Kirk was fired by the Memphis school system.

Lang has denied wrongdoing.

The Commercial Appeal also reported that several coaches have confirmed they have testified before the grand jury investigating the case, including: new Georgia head coach Mark Richt, Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt and former Razorbacks assistant Fitz Hill and Michigan State assistant Brad Lawing.

The University of Georgia has been conducting an internal investigation for the past several months into allegations in the Means case, including that a representative of the university's football program paid $4,000 for an official visit from Means. Athens, GA attorney Ed Tolley is coordinating the investigation. 

Tolley said in the August 11 Athens, GA Daily News and Banner-Herald that the University of Georgia is ready to self-impose sanctions if it's found to have committed secondary violations of NCAA recruitment rules in the Means case. 

Tolley will meet with NCAA representatives in the near future to determine if Georgia committed any violations.

"If there were any, they appear to be secondary," Tolley said in the Daily-News-Banner-Herald story.

Tolley added that he can't close his investigation until the federal grand jury finishes its investigation of Lang.

The only specific point in the investigation that Tolley has publicly addressed is a meal that may or may not have been eaten by Kirk, who accompanied Means on his official visit to Georgia. If Kirk ate a free meal in the Sanford Stadium SkySuites during the game he attended, it would be a minor rule's violation.

Secondary violations would typically warrant sanctions such as the loss of official visits from, or home visits with, recruits.

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