AAU Coach Says He Accepted Money To Influence Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore's former AAU coach says he accepted money and benefits to influence the star Kansas guard's decisions, according to USA TODAY.

Darius Cobb, who coached McLemore, says the founder of mentoring organization Hooplife Academy gave him two payments of $5,000 and three all-expense paid trips during the 2012-13 season. With those payments, Cobb was supposed to influence McLemore's decisions.

Cobb also says that Richard Boyd, McLemore's cousin, was on two of the trips to Los Angeles when they met with potential agents to plan for McLemore's NBA future. McLemore was still a member of the Kansas Jayhawks at the time.

Cobb admits he's had a checkered past in the report and had financial troubles when he accepted Rodney Blackstock's payments, but says he's coming out with this information in an attempt to warn future parents of athlete prospects.

USA TODAY Sports also acquired documents showing Blackstock being a complimentary guest at three of McLemore's home games.

John Infante of Bylaw Blog doesn't see much being accomplished in terms of the NCAA throwing the hammer down on the Jayhawks, since McLemore's already going pro.

First, the NCAA has to investigate a number of people who are under zero obligation to talk to them. Blackstock, Cobb, even McLemore are beyond the reach of the NCAA now that McLemore is headed to the NBA. Unless Cobb decides to talk to the NCAA and provide documentation of these payments and gifts, the investigation could quickly run into a dead end.

Second, despite some differences, the McLemore allegations shares some common elements with Cam Newton's. In both cases, a individual with influence over a student-athlete is alleged to have received or requested money in exchange for using that influence, without clear evidence that the athlete knew what was going on. And under the Cam Newton rule, in both cases we might treat these individuals as agents because of the new definition.

As Infante says, the strength of the case and potential punishment lies on how much Cobb shares. Ben McLemore doesn't have to give a shit, though, since he's no longer a student-athlete.

[USA TODAY Sports]

Image Source: Getty/Ronald Martinez