NCAA widens scope of probe into Gamecocks

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As the esteemed Scooby-Doo is wont to say, ruh-roh.

It’s been reported for weeks that South Carolina Weslye Saunders has been of interest to the NCAA, and that the tight end has been questioned regarding his involvement in a South Beach party Memorial Day weekend that may have had ties to an agent or an agent’s associate.

Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, that’s not the only thing related to their football program the NCAA is now interested in.

According to The State, the NCAA has expanded their investigation to include the living arrangements of some of their football players.  Sources told investigators that not only did the NCAA interview Saunders this week regarding his staying at a local hotel, but they also questioned offensive tackle Jarriel King and defensive tackle Travian Robertson.

The players have allegedly been living in the hotel for months, and all three have rooms in their names.

In and of itself, staying in the hotel would not constitute a violation.  However, if they received a rate not offered to the public, that would be considered an illegal benefit by the NCAA.

According to the hotel website, nightly rates range from $93 to $154 for a two-bedroom suite. A hotel employee said extended-stay rates are available, including a $57-a-night rate for one- or two-bedroom reservations of three months or longer.

The $57 rate would equate to a monthly bill of about $1,710, or $855 if split between two people. 

Division I-A scholarship athletes who live off campus receive a housing allowance at a rate determined by their school. USC’s off-campus stipend is approximately $500 a month, media relations director Steve Fink said.

Of course, another obvious question — if they are receiving the rate offered to the public — would be exactly how the players are making up the difference between their monthly stipend and the cut-rate monthly cost of the room.  If they’re not sharing a room, that’s a difference of just over $1,200 a month.

Where’s that money coming from?

Needless to say, the NCAA is attempting to find the answer to that very question.