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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 11:40 pm

Notre Dame football among programs named in court

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Former professional athlete financial adviser Martin Blazer named Notre Dame among a handful of high-profile schools as one whose football players he paid at some point between 2000 and 2014 in order to get them to sign with him when they left college.

Blazer did not name specific players, but he made the statements under oath as the government's witness at the trial concerning corruption in college basketball. He paid players at Notre Dame, Alabama, Penn State, Michigan, Northwestern, Pittsburgh and North Carolina between $100 and $3,000 per month with the hope that they would hire him as their financial adviser when they reached the NFL. The strategy often worked, Blazer said.

The only specific player Blazer mentioned (he didn't give the name, but gave enough to detail to figure it out) was Penn State's Aaron Maybin, to whose father he alleges he gave $10,000 in 2009 at the direction of an unnamed Penn State assistant coach in an effort to keep Maybin from jumping to the NFL. Blazer said the $10,000 was returned after Maybin did indeed leave Penn State for the NFL and the witness did not allege that then-Penn State coach Joe Paterno was involved or had knowledge of the transaction.

That payment seems to have been fairly abnormal, however. Most of Blazer's payments to players were for his own benefit rather than those of the schools he named and he did not allege the coaches of the schools knew about the payments.

Blazer gave so few details that it's difficult to predict what will happen as a result of these allegations. It's easy to imagine the NCAA launching an investigation, but some of these payments may have happened close to two decades ago. Notre Dame has gone through four full-time coaches – Bob Davie, Ty Willingham, Charlie Weis and now Brian Kelly – since 2000 and it's unclear when these alleged payments to Notre Dame players occurred or which players were paid or how much they received. Without more specifics, it's hard to speculate, but it's unlikely this is the last we've heard of this story.

dsinn@jg.net