Penn State football linked in corruption trial

A trial focusing on corruption in college basketball included a component that put Penn State football into a negative light Tuesday.

Former Pittsburgh financial planner Marty Blazer testified that a Penn State assistant coach helped set up an arrangement in 2009 that would have Blazer give the father of a Nittany Lion player $10,000. The money was meant to persuade the football player to remain in school rather than enter the NFL draft.

By connecting the dots of the testimony, Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports concluded the Penn State player in question was Aaron Maybin, and the coach was former Lion defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr., who’s now at Ohio State.

Blazer testified about having a client in the NFL whose father was a Penn State assistant football coach. By process of elimination, the only person who would have fit that description was Johnson, whose son, Larry Johnson Jr., was a running back in the NFL at the time.

Larry Johnson Sr. denied Blazer’s allegations when contacted by Yahoo Sports.

The website reported Blazer testified that “the assistant coach set up a meeting in State College between the assistant, Blazer and the father of a Penn State player who was considering entering the NFL draft rather than return for another season of college football.”

The player, Blazer testified, decided to turn pro anyway and was the No. 11 overall pick that year. Maybin was the 11th overall selection in the 2009 draft by the Buffalo Bills.

Blazer further added that the player’s father returned the $10,000. Blazer was under the belief that the money would ensure the football player “would consider me as his financial adviser,” according to Yahoo Sports.

“That is not accurate at all,” Johnson told the website about the allegation. “That is absolutely false. I would never, ever ask anybody to do that. That is not me.

“Why is it that something like that comes out and nobody says anything to me? This is the first call I’ve gotten. All of a sudden this Marty Blazer guy can just say whatever he wants? That is absolutely amazing. Wow.”

Johnson also said, “I’ve been in college football a long time. In my entire coaching career, I’ve never had anything like this said. I’m floored, I really am.”

Blazer testified that he also paid football players from Pitt, Notre Dame, Michigan, Alabama, Northwestern and North Carolina between 2000-13.

Blazer, the Yahoo Sports story indicated, may have credibility issues since he is a convicted felon who has pleaded guilty to fraud charges that could send him to prison for 67 years.

“Penn State has just been made aware of this concerning allegation,” a spokesman for the school’s athletic department told StateCollege.com on Tuesday. “The university will thoroughly examine this matter. Until we know more, we can’t comment further.”

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