Memphis businessman denies charges

Updated: October 30, 2003, 10:23 PM ET
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- A federal grand jury charged a wealthy Memphis businessman Thursday with paying $150,000 to have a promising football player attend the University of Alabama.

Logan Young is accused in a three-count indictment with conspiracy, crossing state lines to commit racketeering and arranging bank withdrawals to cover up a crime. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was released without bond

"We will fight these charges, and that's all I'm going to say," said his lawyer, James Neal of Nashville.

Young is accused of conspiring with former Trezevant High School coach Lynn Lang and others to influence Albert Means, a highly recruited defensive lineman, to accept an athletic scholarship with Alabama.

Shortly after the indictment was released, Young entered a plea of innocent before a federal magistrate and was released without bond.

Each of the charges in the indictment carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though federal guidelines would call for a lighter sentence upon conviction.

Authorities say Means apparently knew nothing about the scheme. He played one season at Alabama before transferring to the University of Memphis to be closer to his family. He is still a member of the Memphis football team. Means' family has said he looked up to Lang as a father figure and relied on his advice while deciding which college to attend in 2000.

Means refuses to talk with the news media, but Memphis coach Tommy West said he has put the scandal behind him and is a valued member of the team.

"Albert didn't have anything to do with it, and as far as we're concerned it's over with Albert," West told WMC-TV.

The Means scandal became part of an NCAA investigation that last year put Alabama on five years' probation, banned it from bowl games for two seasons and reduced the number of football scholarships the university can award.

The university, which refused comment on the indictment, has disassociated itself from Young, a longtime booster and friend of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore.

Lang pleaded guilty last year to a federal conspiracy charge and is awaiting sentencing. That charge also carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Lang, who has been cooperating with authorities since his plea, is likely to draw a much lighter sentence, however.

Milton Kirk, Lang's former assistant coach at Trezevant High, also has pleaded guilty to taking part in the scheme. He was sentenced to probation, a $1,000 fine and community service.

Kirk first exposed the allegations against Lang in interviews with The Commercial Appeal newspaper in January 2001.

With his guilty plea, Lang acknowledged he was referred to Young by Ivy Williams, a former Alabama assistant, and that he discussed the deal with Ronnie Cottrell, a former Alabama recruiting coordinator.

Lang also acknowledged taking part in finding a stand-in to take the college entrance exam for Means.

Lang was accused of also trying to broker Means' services to the universities of Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida State, Michigan State and Memphis.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press