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Alabama Booster Convicted

Lang testified that Young agreed to pay him $150,000 during a meeting at Young's home in August 1999. "Anything that happens up here, stays up here," Lang quoted Young as saying, during the former coach's testimony last week. "He said this was just between me and him, and that it would always just be my word against his."

Young's defense team, led by former Watergate prosecutor James Neal, has attempted to discredit Lang, portraying him to the jury as a desperate man trying to avoid a long prison sentence. Lang, who now lives in Michigan, was indicted by a federal grand jury on nine counts and faced 135 years in prison. But after agreeing to cooperate with the NCAA and FBI in its investigations of Young, Lang pleaded guilty to felony racketeering conspiracy and faces a five-year prison sentence.


Logan Young, right, in Memphis Monday with attorney Robert Hutton, was charged with paying a high school coach to steer his player to Alabama. (Lance Murphey -- The Memphis Commercial Appeal Via Ap)

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"This case, from the beginning to the end, depends on the credibility, the believability, of one Lynn Lang," Neal told jurors Tuesday. "The only direct proof, the only witness in this case with direct knowledge of Mr. Logan Young paying Lynn Lang, is Lynn Lang himself."

Lang testified that former Georgia football coach Jim Donnan gave him $700 "out of his own pocket" and that former Memphis coach Rip Scherer promised free law school tuition for his wife at Memphis. Lang testified that an Arkansas coach offered him $150,000 or a position on the Razorbacks' coaching staff.

In sworn testimony, Donnan and Scherer denied providing Lang with improper benefits.

North Carolina assistant Brad Lawing, who recruited Means for Michigan State in 1999, said Lang demanded $200,000 to sign Means, so he could repay $50,000 he had already received from one school. Lawing said when he asked Lang who had given him 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, who played one season at Alabama before transferring to Memphis, testified last week that he never took the standardized test that was required for college admission, admitting under oath that Lang arranged for another student to take the test for him.

Big Spender

NCAA, FBI and other law enforcement investigations into the scandal paint a sordid picture. While Means, his mother and five siblings lived in poverty in their small home in Memphis, prosecutors say Lang lived lavishly on a modest teacher's salary padded with payoffs from boosters such as Young. Despite a salary that gave him about $1,800 per month in take-home pay, the NCAA said Lang spent $700 to $900 a month in rent and more than $700 in automobile payments. The NCAA said he had new furniture and expensive entertainment equipment. Milton Kirk, the assistant coach also charged in the conspiracy, told investigators Lang spent $100 to $300 at strip clubs several times a week.

The NCAA said it obtained documents from a Memphis car dealership showing that Lang purchased a 2000 Ford Expedition for $36,959 on Nov. 15, 1999. The records showed he made a $5,000 down payment and was to make 60 payments of $744 each. Margaret Everett, an elementary school teacher from Jackson, Miss., testified last week that Lang paid her $15,000 in a cashier's check and money orders to purchase a late model Chevrolet Impala in early 2000.

Kirk also was supposed to receive a car in the deal, but when Lang never provided him with money to buy one, Kirk revealed the scheme to reporters from the Memphis Commercial Appeal. In December 2000, Kirk pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy and was sentenced to six months in a halfway house and three years' probation. He still teaches in Memphis but has been banned from coaching.

"It was modern day slave trading," Kirk said last year. "Lang cared nothing about Albert and his family."

The prosecution convinced the jury that Lang's unaccounted funds came from Young. According to court records, Lang reported wages of about $58,000 on his 1999 federal tax return and about $54,000 in 2000. But Lang amended those tax returns last year, adding $75,000 in unreported income for each year.

Also, Godwin presented bank records that showed Young made 64 withdrawals from a checking account, totaling about $291,000, during the 15-month period that Means was being recruited. On 13 occasions, the documents showed, Lang made a deposit into his checking account on the same day or next business day. On April 14, 2000, for instance, about two months after Means signed to play for Alabama, Young made two withdrawals totaling $13,000. On April 17, 2000, the next banking business day, Lang made an $8,000 deposit.

Lang made a $1,700 deposit on Jan. 18, 2000, three days before he and Means made an official visit to the Alabama campus, and a $1,500 deposit on Jan. 25, two days after they returned to Memphis. Prosecutors also introduced telephone records from June 2000 to February 2001 showing 49 calls between phones belonging to Young and Lang.

The University of Kentucky also paid to get involved in the recruiting of Means, according to the NCAA. Lang demanded $6,000 from former Wildcats recruiting coordinator Claude Bassett in order for Means to visit the Kentucky campus. When Means and his coaches arrived in Lexington, the NCAA said, a booster delivered the $6,000 payoff. Kentucky was placed on three years' probation for the NCAA violations.

During testimony last week, Duke Clement, a real estate developer from Memphis, said Young boasted of buying two other high school players from Memphis for the Crimson Tide -- defensive linemen Kindal Moorehead and David Paine. Clement told the jury that Young said he paid former Melrose High School coach Tim Thompson $25,000 to ensure Moorehead signed with Alabama; $500 for Paine.

"It's a case about people who didn't have money and wanted money," Jerry Kitchen, another U.S. assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, told the jury Wednesday. "It's about a man who had money and could buy what he wants. Money corrupts people, and people with money can corrupt those who want it."


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