Coach claims Mississippi State booster paid player

A 7-on-7 coach in Nashville alleges former Mississippi State booster Robert Denton Herring made cash payments to then-recruit Will Redmond and arranged for complimentary lodging and meals for the coach, according to Yahoo! Sports.

The Yahoo! Sports report details several recruiting violations and arrives a day following Byron De’Vinner’s revelation to Head to Head radio and The Clarion-Ledger that he once witnessed a booster provide Redmond, a Memphis East High player, an estimated $200 in a handshake in 2011.

De’Vinner explains, at length, the details of the alleged recruiting violations and how former MSU receivers coach Angelo Mirando and the booster wanted the 7-on-7 coach to “take the blame” for the violations involving the booster, De’Vinner says. He also claims Herring dealt with more than one player.

Attempts by the Clarion-Ledger, beginning in August, to reach Herring have been unsuccessful.

More from the Yahoo! report:

De’Vinner said he believes Mirando was the only Mississippi State staff member who knew “Denton” Herring was committing recruiting violations.

“I don’t think there were no other coaches in the know, but Denton was dealing with a lot of players over there,” De’Vinner said. “Will was the one caught up, but he was dealing with a lot of players.”

De’Vinner provided Yahoo! Sports with hotel bills and other documentation to back up his claims of violations. Under NCAA rules, benefits to a third party associated with a prospect are impermissible from any representative of a university. That includes boosters, and Herring — a season-ticket holder prior to being disassociated — fits the definition of a booster.

De’Vinner said Herring arranged a complimentary stay for the coach at the Old Waverly Resort in West Point, Miss., in mid-January when De’Vinner accompanied Redmond on a recruiting visit to Starkville. De’Vinner backed up his claims by providing Yahoo! Sports with a receipt for his hotel stay.

MSU assistant coaches Chris Wilson, Tony Hughes and Melvin Smith are named in the story, but De’Vinner doesn’t believe they were aware of the arrangement.

“I know for a fact (the Mississippi State coaches) didn’t have any idea how it was arranged,” De’Vinner says in the report. “Denton told me to ask for Shane (Williams, director of lodging at Old Waverly) when I got to the front desk. Shane and I talked for a while before I went to my room. He told me I would be the only one in the cottage that night. I was so amazed at how nice the room was with the marble floors. I didn’t want to leave. When I met the coaches and the recruits parents at some hibachi restaurant is when I told everyone about where I was staying and how nice it was. The coaches told me they usually go out there and play golf.”

Herring also arranged complimentary meals for De’Vinner in West Point on several trips to Starkville, according to the report. As reported on on Tuesday, De’Vinner interviewed at Mississippi State for a position in the football office in January. De’Vinner tells Yahoo! Sports that interview spanned seven hours and included a face-to-face meeting with coach Dan Mullen.

“The interview was supposed to be a formality to pretty much get Will (to sign),” De’Vinner says in the report. “But after I interviewed it shocked them, because of the way I sold myself, and it went from being a formality to they wanted to hire me. Compliance wasn’t sure because I didn’t have any experience in the position, and so did the athletic director (Scott Stricklin).”

Redmond allegedly accepted more than one payment from Herring during his recruitment. De’Vinner claims he first met Herring at a tailgate prior to MSU’s home game against South Carolina on Oct. 15, 2011, and witnessed money exchange hands. Herring also called Redmond during a visit to Starkville on Jan. 14, De’Vinner said.

“At that point in time, Will told me, ‘I got to get with Denton, I need some more money.’ ” De’Vinner says in the story. “I said, ‘More money? Money for what?’ He said, ‘He’s already gave me some. I need some more.’ I said, ‘Will, you need to chill out. This is going to get you in trouble.’ ”

Redmond, a Memphis native, signed with MSU in February. De’Vinner was not hired by MSU, but Mullen, De’Vinner says, invited him to speak at a coaching clinic in the spring and received $700 from the university for a speaking fee and to cover lodging and travel expenses during the three-day clinic.

De’Vinner told the Clarion-Ledger in August that he had cooperated with NCAA investigators and MSU’s compliance department during the investigation. Redmond, a freshman, has not played or suited up for MSU through two games this season.

MSU has been working with the NCAA to examine a “potential recruiting irregularity” over the last several months but has not provided further details since Mirando resigned Aug. 19 for “unforeseen personal issues.” ESPN has since reported Mirando’s exit was because of the NCAA’s investigation. Stricklin would not comment on De’Vinner’s accusations and referred to an Aug. 23 statement, which promises “further details” when the investigation is complete.

MSU distanced itself from a booster who had “impermissible contact” with a recruit and might have engaged in other NCAA rules violation in the summer, according to documents provided to The Clarion-Ledger on Aug. 28. The booster refused “multiple” requests by MSU’s compliance department to be interviewed by an NCAA representative, according to a letter dated July 13 and written by MSU’s outside counsel.

Mirando has not responded to numerous interview requests.

PLEASE NOTE:  This article was selected for educational purposes only.

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