Forty to 45 top college athletes, including running backs Brent Fullwood of Auburn, Ronnie Harmon of Iowa and Paul Palmer of Temple will enter a pre-trial diversion program to avoid being charged in the federal grand jury investigation of two sports agents, according to a published report.
If agents Norby Walters or Lloyd Bloom are indicted and come to trial, the athletes also agreed to testify for the prosecution, The Atlanta Constitution said in a copyright story in Tuesday's editions. In addition they each will perform 100 to 250 hours of community service under the supervision of a federal probation officer, The Constitution said.Eight to 10 athletes involved in the probe will be cleared, the paper said.
The 40 to 45 athletes have agreed to reimburse their former universities for their scholarships the years they were under contract to Walters and Bloom, The Constitution quoted sources close to the Chicago-based investigation as saying.
All athletes offered the deal by the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago have accepted it, the paper said, meaning no athletes will be indicted.
The investigation has been under way for 15 months.
Prosecutors claim Walters and Bloom conspired to induce the athletes to defraud their schools by offering them cash and contracts in violation of National Collegiate Athletic Association rules, then inducing them to sign "student-athlete affidavits" stating they had not broken NCAA rules by signing with an agent.