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Clemson Says Sammy Watkins's Bowl Eligibilty OK

11:10 AM, Dec 13, 2011   |    comments
  • Sammy Watkins celebrates after scoring a touchdown against North Carolina on Oct. 22, 2011. (Getty Images)
  • This is the flier promoting a Christmas party that features the names of four local college football players. Their names have since been removed.
    
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Fort Myers, FL (Fort Myers News-Press) - The NCAA is reviewing the involvement of four college football players, including Clemson University standout Sammy Watkins, in a planned Christmas party at a Southwest Florida restaurant.

The quartet, which included Florida's Jaylen Watkins, Sammy's brother, West Virginia's Brodrick Jenkins and University of South Florida's Spencer Boyd, were listed as 'hosts' on an advertisement for the 'Naughty or Nice X-Mas Party,' scheduled for Dec. 23 at The Firepit Grill in Fort Myers.

Marcus Price, a former Fort Myers High School basketball player known as DJ LowKey, posted the flier on his Twitter account Monday morning.

Soon after Price said he received a text from Jaylen Watkins, a Cape Coral High School graduate, telling him his name couldn't be used to promote the party. Price said the players initially gave him permission to use their names on the advertisement.
"The names are being taken off the flier as we speak right now," said Price, who is scheduled to perform at the party. "We wanted to take their names off the flier, just in case the NCAA has a problem with it.

"We don't want them to get in any trouble."

A NCAA spokesperson confirmed the organization was looking into the matter. A message left for the NCAA compliance office was not returned. It is against NCAA regulations for student-athletes to endorse or promote businesses or revenue-generating events outside of their universities.

The News-Press contacted the sports information directors at Clemson, Florida, West Virginia and South Florida. Florida and West Virginia sent cease-and-desist notifications to Price, who soon after removed the link to the flier from his account.

Clemson sports information director Tim Bourret said the school's compliance office would send a cease-and-desist notice to Price today. "This should have no effect on Sammy Watkins' eligibility for the Orange Bowl," Bourret said.

Don Munson, a spokesman for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, said that Watkins does not post on Twitter. Watkins previously had said his sister handles the account. Muson said the matter was forwarded to the coach.

"We are aware of it. That's about all I can tell you," Munson said. "It's out of our hands, although we have told him to remove the post."

Price, 22, said the players weren't being paid but were only invited to attend what he called "a homecoming celebration." According to a West Virginia official, Jenkins couldn't be there anyway, because he'll be practicing at the school until Dec. 24 in preparation of his team's Orange Bowl game against Clemson.

Price said he got to know Sammy Watkins and Jenkins when he volunteered as an assistant boys basketball coach at South Fort Myers High, the pair's alma mater. Price also coached girls basketball at Cape Coral High, when Jaylen Watkins and Boyd were students there.

"We had a list of 10 names, but we couldn't get them all on (the advertisement)," Price said. "We don't want them to get in trouble. It's just a party. They haven't been home. We thought it would be pretty cool. They're all doing good things in college."

Sammy Watkins burst onto the college football scene as a freshman, being named to the Atlantic Coast Conference first team as a wide receiver and kick returner and as the conference's rookie of the year. His brother Jaylen, a Gators sophomore safety, has played in 12 games this season with 32 total tackles. Jenkins, a sophomore defensive back, has 22 total tackles and two interceptions for the Mountaineers. Boyd, a redshirt freshman, transferred from Notre Dame to South Florida for the 2011 season.

"We are aware of it. That's about all I can tell you," Munson said. "It's out of our hands, although we have told him to remove the post."

Price, 22, said the players weren't being paid but were only invited to attend what he called "a homecoming celebration." According to a West Virginia official, Jenkins couldn't be there anyway, because he'll be practicing at the school until Dec. 24 in preparation of his team's Orange Bowl game against Clemson.

Price said he got to know Sammy Watkins and Jenkins when he volunteered as an assistant boys basketball coach at South Fort Myers High, the pair's alma mater. Price also coached girls basketball at Cape Coral High, when Jaylen Watkins and Boyd were students there.

"We had a list of 10 names, but we couldn't get them all on (the advertisement)," Price said. "We don't want them to get in trouble. It's just a party. They haven't been home. We thought it would be pretty cool. They're all doing good things in college."

Sammy Watkins burst onto the college football scene as a freshman, being named to the Atlantic Coast Conference first team as a wide receiver and kick returner and as the conference's rookie of the year. His brother Jaylen, a Gators sophomore safety, has played in 12 games this season with 32 total tackles. Jenkins, a sophomore defensive back, has 22 total tackles and two interceptions for the Mountaineers. Boyd, a redshirt freshman, transferred from Notre Dame to South Florida for the 2011 season.

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