BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU has contacted officials from the NCAA and Southeastern Conference about Cleveland Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s apparent cash payments to Tigers players on the field after the national championship game, a university spokesman said.
LSU athletics spokesman Michael Bonnette said initial information suggested that Beckham handed out “novelty bills” to players after the top-ranked Tigers defeated Clemson on Monday night. However, further investigation showed that Beckham may have given away real money, Bonnette said.
“Information and footage reviewed since shows apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes,” Bonnette said in a statement. “We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position. We are working with our student-athletes, the NCAA and the SEC in order to rectify the situation.”
Beckham starred for LSU from 2011 to 2013 and was a first-round draft pick by the New York Giants. He was traded to Cleveland before last season.
Videos posted on social media showed Beckham placing money in the hand of LSU receiver Justin Jefferson and celebrating with players in LSU’s locker room in the Superdome.
Jefferson, who just completed his junior season, is eligible to turn pro and enter this spring’s NFL draft.
LSU graduate transfer quarterback Joe Burrow, who has exhausted his college eligibility and is expected to be a top NFL draft choice this year, said on a Barstool Sports podcast that it appeared to him Beckham was handing out actual cash.
The NCAA does not allow players to receive cash benefits while playing college football. Those rules are designed to prevent institutions from luring talent through the promise of direct or indirect payments.