Work in Sports
Has Nate struck again?
Auburn looking at possibility money came from Cebrun
Posted: Tuesday February 29, 2000 12:51 AM
By Seth Davis, Sports Illustrated
ATLANTA -- Auburn officials are investigating whether the individual who paid Tigers forward Chris Porter $2,500 in cash is a Las Vegas man with a long history of questionable dealings with college athletes.
On Sunday, Porter, who passed up a chance to enter the NBA draft in order to play his senior year, admitted to Auburn officials that he had taken the money. On Monday, Porter was officially declared ineligible. Two sources have told The Associated Press that he needed the funds to prevent his mother from being evicted from her home in rural Abbeville, Alabama.
Sources tell CNN/Sports Illustrated that Auburn is looking into whether the money came from Nate Cebrun, a former summer league coach and longtime "runner" for sports agents.
In an interview with CNN/Sports Illustrated, Cebrun denied that he had given Porter any money. But he confirmed that he had been introduced to Porter earlier this year.
"I did not wire money to Chris Porter," Cebrun told CNN/Sports Illustrated. "I did not wire money to anyone at Auburn. No one has contacted me about this. This is the first time I've heard this."
Cebrun has a dossier of recruiting violations that goes back to 1993, when he admitted to having helped arrange the purchase of a plane ticket for former UNLV player Kebu Stewart. That same year he was also accused by UNLV officials of helping the parents of former Runnin' Rebel player J.R. Rider obtain complimentary rooms at Las Vegas' Sahara Hotel.
In 1994, Cebrun was at the center of a scandal at Florida State University in which Seminoles football players went on a $6,000 shopping spree, paid for by Cebrun and two associates. Cebrun spent 25 days in jail for violating a Florida law prohibiting payments to college athletes.
In 1997, Cebrun told Sports Illustrated that he had helped to manipulate the standardized test scores of numerous high school athletes.
On Monday, Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said he hoped that Porter's admission that he had taken the money would hasten his return to the team. "He has been honest and forthcoming," Ellis said of his 6-foot, 7-inch senior. "I'm now hoping honesty prevails and Chris will be allowed back on the court."
Ellis also lashed out at those who he says seek out college athletes in need of money. "I am sick of people who prey on young people and hit them at a weak moment," Ellis said.