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For MSU, It’s De’Vinner Of Their Discontent

Byron De’Vinner just keeps saying more and more and more.

The Tennessee-based former 7-on-7 coach of current Mississippi State freshman Will Redmond is on the stump.  He’s talking more than Obama and Romney combined.  And everyone he speaks to seems to get a little more information out of him.

For backstory: The NCAA is looking closely at Memphis.  The NCAA is also looking closely at Mississippi State’s recruitment of Redmond, a Memphis native.  MSU receivers coach Angelo Mirando resigned abruptly just before the season.  NCAA investigators spoke with Redmond’s coaches at Memphis’ East High School who apparently pointed a finger at De’Vinner.  De’Vinner attempted to clear his name by calling into a syndicated Magnolia State radio show on Tuesday and saying that he witnessed a booster give Redmond what amounted to a $200 handshake.  Then De’Vinner opened up further to Yahoo! Sports.

Now, there’s more.  De’Vinner told Nashville radio station WGFX-FM yesterday that “there’s more to this than a $100 or $200 handshake.” 

Then last night, ESPN reported that De’Vinner told the network that now-disassociated State booster Robert Denton Herring provided illegal benefits to “five or six” Bulldog athletes.  ESPN’s Joe Schad — Dan Mullen’s gotta love that — was told that juco defensive lineman Denico Autry was one of those who received improper gifts.  “Robert Denton Herring loves State,” De’Vinner told Schad.  “And he was going to do whatever he could to help State.”  In addtion, De’Vinner said Herring wanted him to help steer other recruits of Georgia, LSU and Alabama in MSU’s direction.  De’Vinner claims he would not.

Want more?  Okay.  De’Vinner also spoke with the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal yesterday and he told that paper that Redmond was offered $6,000 by Herring to “shut down” his recruitment and commit to the Bulldogs.  He did say that Redmond “never took it… that’s my understanding, he didn’t.”  But he then added: “I can’t say if he did or didn’t, because I didn’t see it.”

And apparently State wasn’t the only school willing to pay cash for Redmond.  According to De’Vinner, another BCS school offered $60,000 for his services.

While others might have been interested in his player, De’Vinner only interviewed for a job at Mississippi State (so far as he’s admitted).  He told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger that “the interview was supposed to be a formality to pretty much get Will (to sign).”  There’s more:


“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).”


Meanwhile, when asked about the situation yesterday, Mullen said, “The NCAA is doing their work on that and we’re not commenting on any of that stuff at this time.”

Naturally, the more De’Vinner speaks, the more mud is being slung back in his direction.  From year-old quotes from a Tennessee high school coach — “He attaches himself like a leech, then starts sucking your blood.” — to his own issues trying to land a coaching job at Tennessee high school past season — “… he had some licensing issues…” — The Tennessean reports that De’Vinner is seen by some as a saint, by others as a sinner.

One person mixed up in one of De’Vinner’s claims to Yahoo! Sports has already emailed The Clarion-Ledger to say that the 7-on-7 coach’s story regarding him is bogus:


“I have spoken with MSU compliance and the NCAA.  They have asked that I remain silent until all the details are sorted out.  The story is inaccurate.” 


That story concerned Herring arranging for De’Vinner to receive free lodging and food while accompanying Redmond to Starkville on a recruiting visit.

Oh, almost forgot this one.  De’Vinner also told The Clarion-Ledger that he recently spoke to Herring and that the ex-MSU booster wanted him “to keep quiet.”  Ya think?

So what do we know?

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De’Vinner Opens Up Further About Redmond And MSU Booster

Byron De’Vinner called into a syndicated radio show in Mississippi yesterday to clear his name.  In doing so, he also said that a Mississippi State booster — who’s been disassociated from the school — had paid at least $200 to Bulldog freshman defensive back Will Redmond.  (Redmond, for the record, has not played this season.)

Now De’Vinner has opened up to Yahoo! Sports and Pat Forde claiming that the MSU booster “made cash payments to a recruit and arranged for complimentary lodging and meals for De’Vinner, who was Redmond’s 7-on-7 coach.  He even provided hotel bills and other documentation to Yahoo! Sports to attempt to prove his claims:


“In an interview with Y! Sports, Nashville-based seven-on-seven coach Byron De’Vinner – recipient of the lodging and meals – explained in detail how former Mississippi State booster Robert Denton Herring broke multiple NCAA rules in 2011 and ’12 in an effort to land Memphis East High School defensive back Will Redmond.

De’Vinner said he also told his story to NCAA enforcement representatives, who have been investigating the allegations jointly with Mississippi State’s compliance department over the course of several months. In July the school sent Herring, who lives in Roswell, Ga., a letter informing him that he had been disassociated from the athletic program for “impermissible contact” with a recruit. In August, Bulldogs assistant coach Angelo Mirando resigned for what the school termed “unforeseen personal issues,” but sources told Y! Sports that his resignation was because of the NCAA inquiry. De’Vinner said Mirando introduced Redmond to Herring, but that the coach and booster both wanted De’Vinner “to take the fall” for their relationship.

Vanessa Brown, Redmond’s mother, declined comment to Yahoo! Sports Wednesday morning. Attempts to reach Herring and Mirando were unsuccessful. Herring has not cooperated with investigators from both the NCAA and Mississippi State.”


It gets worse for State as De’Vinner also claimed that fellow Memphis prospect Sheldon Dawson — who signed with Georgia — was questioned by the NCAA about MSU’s recruitment of him.  Also, “a source with knowledge of the investigation said the NCAA contacted nearly a dozen players who were recruited by Mississippi State.”

If those “nearly a dozen” players weren’t offered illegal benefits, no problem.  But the fact that the NCAA has spoken with that many MSU recruits should be worrisome to folks in Starkville.

On the positive side, De’Vinner told Yahoo! Sports that he believed Mirando to be the only State coach who was aware of Herring’s actions.  Herring had not previously been named as the booster in question.

De’Vinner also admitted to receiving clothes and gear from several schools other than MSU:


“If me getting gear from schools when I work a camp is a violation, then everything’s a violation. … Do I have a relationship with coaches at virtually every school?  Yeah, I do.

I’m the scapegoat for everything that’s going on. … I’m telling the truth.”


Whether De’Vinner is telling the truth or not, the more he talks, the more all those coaches he has a relationship with are puckering up a bit.

Forde’s piece is a long one and we’ve only given you a taste of it.  Click above to read the piece in its entirety.

Update: De’Vinner tells the Clarion-Ledger in a phone interview this morning that Herring attempted to persuade “at least 10″ recruits to attend MSU.

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7-On-7 Coach Says MSU Player Was Paid $200 By Booster


Nashville-based 7-on-7 football coach Byron De’Vinner — a key figure in the NCAA’s ongoing look at Memphis area recruiting — told the syndicated Mississippi radio show “Head To Head” that he witnessed a “handshake” between a Mississippi State booster and Bulldog freshman defensive back Will Redmond.  When the shake was complete, Redmond — then an MSU recruit — had about $200 in his hand.  And ex-receivers coach Angelo Mirando was aware of the payment.

For the backstory on Redmond, De’Vinner — who promised to come clean with what he knew of the NCAA investigation in late-August — and Mirando — who resigned abruptly right before the season started — click right here.  The guys at the “Head to Head” show have also posted a July letter in which MSU disassociated itself from a booster.   You can also listen to the full 12-minute interview with De’Vinner right here.

Following his appearance on the radio show (congrats to those guys, as I’ve been on with them many times), De’Vinner confirmed to The Jackson Clarion-Ledger that he had indeed been the man on the show.  While on the air he said:


“Will Redmond is a kid that was basically taken advantage of by a booster and by an assistant coach…

(After refusing to name the booster, De’Vinner said) But did I physically see inappropriate benefits?  Yes, I did…

I saw where the booster sent him a jacket through the mail and you know, things of that nature.  He lined up an official visit and lined up other things inappropriately.”


De’Vinner denied that the booster bought a 2010 Ford Mustang for Redmond, which was the topic of another story posted by The Dispatch newspaper of Columbus, Starkville and The Golden Triangle last month.

De’Vinner — who coached Redmond in 7-0n-7 ball — said that he interviewed for a job in the Mississippi State athletic department in January.  Hmmm.  Just before signing day when Redmond inked with State.  What an interesting time for an interview.

De’Vinner says that he is a friend of Redmond’s family, but in his attempt to clear his own name he certainly seems to be putting the player’s career in jeopardy (if it weren’t already in jeopardy).  Some will no doubt claim that De’Vinner is simply getting back at MSU because he was not hired by State after his January interview.

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The 7-On-7 Coach Of AU’s Robinson Questioned By NCAA

Late last week, word broke that Auburn freshman running back Jovon Robinson had been pulled from practice pending an investigation into his high school transcript.  A guidance counselor at Wooddale High in Memphis resigned after admitting to doctoring the young man’s records.

Early this week, it became known that the NCAA is focusing in on the city of Memphis and the recruiting — much of it rumored to be filthy — that goes on there.

Yesterday, in a totally unrelated matter, we told you that while college basketball coaches decry the influence of many AAU programs on recruits, college football has a growing issue with 7-on-7 tournaments on its hands.

Now, everything seems to be coming together in a brand new story.

According to The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the NCAA questioned Byron De’Vinner of Nashville who coached Robinson over the summer.  De’Vinner told the paper:


“It wasn’t about Jovon Robinson in particular.  It was basically just asking questions about how are 7-0n-7s run, things in those nature…

They were asking about different players, coaches and different practices, because I’ve been around the recruiting process a while and what not.  And the 7-on-7, that was something they discussed.”


So was this interview simply tied to Memphis and 7-on-7s or is Robinson at the crux of all these talks?  De’Vinner can say Robinson wasn’t the focus “in particular,” but only he and the NCAA investigators know what was asked behind closed doors.

For Auburn fans, the more questions that pop up about and around Robinson, the more worrisome this issue becomes.  Don’t get me wrong.  No one is suggesting the AU staff did anything wrong here.  But where there’s smoke, there’s often fire — Cam Newton’s case being the exception to the rule — and there seems to be a bit more smoke surrounding Robinson, his contacts, and his background every couple of days.

Robinson was expected to become AU’s #3 running back this fall before being sidelined due to the transcript issue.

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