news 6 days ago

Fake money, fake news? LSU says Odell Beckham Jr. 'splashing cash' on field after CFP win was just a show

Sporting News — (Mike DeCourcy)

On the one hand, it is nice to see Odell Beckham Jr. cares about the university and the college football team where he got his start.

And winning.

On the other, it was certainly hard not to notice that he demonstrated his excitement over LSU winning the College Football Playoff championship by placing a huge wad of cash in the hand of receiver Justin Jefferson before giving him a congratulatory hug.

It was not clear just how much money Beckham was counting out before he gave up the process and just put it all in Jefferson’s right hand, but one could see the face of Benjamin Franklin — exactly as depicted on the United States $100 bill — as he thumbed through the stack.

MORE: 9 absurd records Joe Burrow set in LSU's CFP championship season

Brooks Kubena of The Advocate of Baton Rouge, La., reported he was told by an LSU athletics official the money was not real.

It looked real, though.

And it does seem curious that Beckham would show up to the Superdome on Monday night with a substantial collection of fake money.

Jefferson is a junior at LSU and caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards. He is widely expected to turn professional and enter the NFL Draft, which would mean his college eligibility was completed with Monday’s game.

However, that does not mean that accepting money from an alumnus would be allowed under NCAA bylaws.

ESPN's Marty Smith also reported Beckham presented the Tigers players with a new set of Beats headphones, with a card attached that began, "This is your opportunity to leave behind a legacy ..." 

This would appear to be problematic for LSU's compliance office, also.

In 2005, Kansas acknowledged violations had been committed in its athletic department when gifts of cash and clothing from alumni were approved for graduating senior players and others who had completed their eligibility.

This occurred earlier, when Roy Williams was coach. KU said Williams had approved the gifts but misunderstood the rules regarding whether such gifts were permissible to departing student-athletes. Kansas was placed on probation by the NCAA but did not receive any substantial sanctions, such as a postseason ban.

"The mistake is once a student-athlete, always a student-athlete,” Lew Perkins, then the Kansas athletic director, said at the time. “So you can't receive any funds or any goods once you graduate.  I really believe it was a misinterpretation. I don't think it was an attempt to gain any advantages."