Bey arrived in Tallahassee on Friday, Nov. 5, the day before Florida State's 49-20 win at Maryland. Cebrun, Bey and Bey's son-in-law, Sonny Pagan, were staying at the Sheraton Tallahassee. That Saturday night, about 10 of the Seminoles had dinner at Lockhart's house, where they met Bey and watched the Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield rematch on pay-per-view. According to Sawyer, it was Cebrun who orchestrated the excursion to the Foot Locker one day later. "Coach Nate was the one saying, 'Let's go to the mall,' " Sawyer says. "Nate was the speaker, Raul was the provider."
The Foot Locker visit occurred on Sunday, late in the afternoon, at closing time. "They shut down everything so that no one else could come in," Sawyer says. "We were the only ones in there. We left out of the back door of the store."
"Yeah, I took them shopping because these guys had no shoes. They were walking around with holes in their shoes," says Bey. "I didn't do it to get anything from them, I did it because they were barefoot. But it got out of control. We took some guys to buy a pair of sneakers and a jacket and a pair of shorts, and all of a sudden they just started taking things off the shelves. They were like kids let loose in the candy store. I said, 'What the hell's going on?' But I felt obligated."
"Everybody was active, grabbing stuff," says Sawyer. "I was active too. I picked out my stuff on the sly. I didn't touch the stuff. I just pointed out what I wanted. But a couple of times I grabbed my own stuff, too. I got like six pairs of shoes; every warmup suit in there, about nine of them. I got some big coats for winter, five of them—yep, Fila—and some hockey team coats. I like bright colors, I don't care what team it is, I go for colors. I love hats; I got about 12. I even got little baby clothes for my daughter [Mercedes, 2]: a Fila jogging suit, plus two others, a couple of big jackets in different colors and a pair of shoes."
Like Sawyer, Jackson and Ferrell admit to having participated in the Foot Locker spree. "It came to a point where I thought I was being too greedy, but they [Bey and Cebrun] told me to go on and get it," says Jackson.
"I wasn't one of the fortunate ones," Ferrell says, without irony, after estimating that the merchandise he walked out with was worth some $600. "But I got a few baseball caps, some shirts, socks, shoes and two jackets. I saw the other guys grabbing things, and I said to myself, Hey, I might as well go ahead and pick up a few things, too. I knew it was illegal. I can't say why I did it." Ferrell says that he took some goods he didn't need, in particular a heavy, knee-length jacket. "There hasn't been a cold day here since I got that jacket, it seems like," he says ruefully.
Three other players identified by SI's sources as having participated in the Foot Locker outing—Alexander, Knox and McMillon—deny having been present, and a fourth, McNeil, could not be reached. "I heard things, but I wasn't there," says Knox. Alexander, a two-time winner of the team academic award who was recently admitted to Florida State Law School, says, "Foot Locker? That's news to me." He begins to giggle uncontrollably. "I wish I would have known someone was picking up the tab at Foot Locker. I love going to Foot Locker. I didn't hear anything about it. I would have gone. I can't believe I missed the boat like that." Despite Alexander's mirthful denial, Sawyer and Williams both remember his presence at Foot Locker that Sunday. Afterward Bey took a group of players to dinner at the Crystal River Restaurant, where he picked up the $600 tab, which would be another NCAA violation. On top of all that, according to Williams, there was a second trip to Foot Locker the following day. Williams says Bey told him that Bey and McMillon went to the store and bought $1,500 worth of apparel for "the players who missed out" on the previous day's spree. Bey won't comment on the second Foot Locker outing, and McMillon says it did not happen.
Tepid though they were, Bowden's warnings at the team meeting that week about agents scared some of the players. "Everybody who went to Foot Locker came to my room that night after dinner," says Sawyer. "Ken [Alexander] said, 'Let's take the stuff back.' But some of the other guys, like Knox, said the coach didn't know who was involved. If he had known, he would have had a meeting with specific guys. So everybody agreed on it. If you want to take your own stuff back, you can. But you're on your own."
Bey and Cebrun made another trip to Tallahassee on the weekend of the Florida State-Florida game on Nov. 27. Bey, his son, Anthony, and Cebrun checked into the Radisson Hotel and invited players to their rooms. "Me and Sean [Jackson] went in there together," Sawyer recalls. "Raul said if we wanted to go with them, we'd get an allowance until we finished school. Then he said, 'I got a little something for you. He pulled a $100 bill out of his pocket and handed it to me. I balled it up and put it in my hand." Sawyer says that several other players also received money at the Radisson from Bey. "They showed it, they talked about it, they compared notes," Sawyer says. " 'How much you got?' 'I got $100.' 'Yep, I got $100 too.' "
After Bey and Cebrun left town on Nov. 29, Williams says he continued to deliver money to players until early December, when friction developed between Bey and Cebrun, and Williams was cut off. Williams's last delivery, he says, was $365, which he gave to Jackson. "The $365 was for a plane ticket for Sean because he needed money to go home to Louisiana to see his mother."