Former Texas A&M fullback George Smith told a reporter that Aggie coach Jackie Sherrill threatened violence and became angry during phone calls to discuss how much money the former athlete should receive for his silence, according to a published report.
Smith had claimed in a story written by Dallas Morning News reporter Doug Bedell and published Friday that Sherrill payed him "hush money" to keep him quiet about NCAA violations. But on Saturday, Smith recanted, saying he made up the story and that $1,100 to $1,400 he received was not hush money but benevolent loans from Sherrill.But on Sept. 23, - three days before a $500 cash payment was received by Smith - Smith told The News reporter that Sherrill had argued about how much money the former player should receive.
"I said something to him about what (violations) happened when I was there, and he said, `Son, if you say that again - if you were close to me, I would punch you in the mouth,"' Smith said during a tape-recorded interview published Tuesday by the nerwspaper.
"Jackie threatened saying they didn't commit any violations," Smith continued. "I have about 20 violations right here that I could prove any time."
Smith claimed in more than eight hours of a taped conversation that while at A&M from 1982 through 1984, Sherrill and other athletic department personnel gave him more than $10,000 in cash, extra benefits and plane tickets.
Smith now says the allegations were concocted to help sell a book he and The News reporter planned to write together.
In his first public appearance since the allegations surfaced, Sherrill said Monday he would make no comments about the matter until after the season and the completion of an internal investigation by the school. Sherrill missed Saturday's 18-0 victory over TCU, but said he would return to the sidelines for the game against Texas.
Meanwhile, university regents backed Sherrill, saying his job as coach and athletic director was secure. And A&M President William Mobley is continuing an investigation of the allegations, said Lane Stephenson, A&M spokesman.
Sherrill is convinced that the investigation will be concluded in a short period of time. "It may be over quicker than you think," he said.
In Atanta, in the presence of a reporter from The News, Smith opened an overnight express mail package dated Sept. 26, 1988 containing $500 in cash, the newspaper said.
It was one of eight shipments of cash and money orders, Smith said.