Ex-Buckeye Denies Any Wrongdoing, Says Magazine Misquoted Him
February 6, 2002 at 11:30 PM EST - Updated June 30 at 1:05 AM
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Buffalo Bills cornerback Antoine Winfield's agent said a magazine misquoted the player about accepting gifts from an agent while at Ohio State.
Peter Schaffer of All Pro Sports said Wednesday that Winfield's interview with U.S. News and World Report involved how much money he lost under former agent Dunyasha Mon Yetts.
"He never told them at any time that he took money illegally because it never happened," Schaffer said.
Schaffer said Winfield would not comment on the report.
Messages seeking comment from U.S. News and World Report were not immediately returned Wednesday.
The magazine reported Winfield said he violated NCAA rules by accepting cash, trips to the Bahamas and Las Vegas, suits valued at $1,500 and Ohio State football tickets that he resold for profit.
"We knew it was wrong," the magazine quoted Winfield as saying. "If you got caught, you would be in trouble."
Schaffer said Winfield did say he knew Yetts while in college and that he went with Yetts to Las Vegas after the 1999 draft, but that trip was legal because it was after Winfield had used up his eligibility.
Violations would have made Winfield ineligible for the 1998 season, when the Buckeyes went 11-1, shared the Big Ten title with Wisconsin and Michigan and finished with the No. 2 ranking in the AP poll.
Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger said Wednesday that he was not aware of the allegations until he read the U.S. News account. "I'm sure we'll talk with Antoine," Geiger said.
Geiger said he did not know whether there would be any penalties if the allegations are true.
The Big Ten had no comment, spokeswoman Sue Lister said. NCAA spokeswoman Jane Jankowski said the most appropriate thing is for Ohio State to investigate first and then send a report to the NCAA.
Winfield is among 14 people named in a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed against Yetts in U.S. District Court in Columbus.
The SEC complaint says Yetts, a former wrestler at Ohio State, cheated Winfield out of $1.35 million by spending his money on student loans, insurance premiums, country-club dues, attorney fees and credit card bills.
Winfield replaced Yetts after a background check by Bills management revealed a former NFL player had sued the agent, the magazine reported.
Yetts declined to speak with the magazine. In a deposition for the lawsuit, he denied defrauding Winfield, but admitted lending Winfield money during the cornerback's days at Ohio State.
Yetts, who lives in suburban Columbus, filed for bankruptcy last July. He also is under federal investigation in a drug conspiracy case, according to his lawyer, Samuel Shamansky.
Yetts could not be reached for comment Thursday. His home phone number is not listed.
Geiger told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer that Ohio State examined Yetts' activities, but the investigation turned up no evidence of improper benefits taken by players.
"Yetts was around our program and there certainly was communication with him to try to get him to cease and desist," Geiger said. "I think we'll have to take another look at this now. We're bound to, because it's an important issue."
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)