Lawing says Lang told him about payment

Updated: February 1, 2005, 9:02 PM ET
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A former Michigan State assistant coach testified in federal court Tuesday that he was told money had been paid to a high school coach to influence a top Memphis recruit's choice of college.

The rebuttal witness for the prosecution was called after the defense rested in the trial of millionaire businessman Logan Young, accused of paying $150,000 to a high school coach to get defensive lineman Albert Means to sign with Alabama.

Both sides made closing arguments Tuesday and the U.S. District Court jury is expected to begin its deliberations Wednesday.

Brad Lawing said he was recruiting for Michigan State in 2000 when he spoke with Lynn Lang, who was Means' coach at Trezevant High School in Memphis.

Lawing told a jury that Lang demanded $200,000 to persuade Means to pick Michigan State and wanted a $50,000 payment within about 10 days.

Lawing testified that Lang said he already had been paid $50,000 for Means and he needed to repay that money before a deal with Michigan State could go forward.

Lawing said when he asked who had given the money, Lang replied, "I can't tell you but if you don't get in the game you'll find out on national signing day."

Means signed with Alabama and previously testified he let Lang pick his college.

Defense attorney James Neal asked Lawing, now an assistant coach at North Carolina, if Lang mentioned Young's name. Lawing said he did not.

Young is standing trial on bribery, conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Lang has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and is cooperating with prosecutors while awaiting sentencing. He testified that Young bribed him in cash handouts each under the $10,000 threshold for IRS reporting after he was referred to the longtime booster by former Alabama assistant coach Ivy Williams.

Lang also testified that eight schools offered inducements while recruiting Means and three -- Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky -- handed out money. He said former Georgia coach Jim Donnan gave him $700 cash, while Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Michigan State also made offers.

The defense put Williams, Donnan and former Memphis coach Rip Scherer on the stand to deny Lang's testimony.

Means, who has not been accused of wrongdoing in the recruitment, transferred to Memphis after reports of payoffs to Lang became public. He expects to graduate this spring.

Alabama's recruitment of Means became part of an NCAA investigation that led to sanctions in 2002 depriving the Crimson Tide of scholarships and bowl eligibility.

Williams and Ronnie Cottrell, also a former Alabama assistant, are suing the NCAA, claiming they were defamed by its investigators.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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