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Iowa looking into allegations about players, cell phones

March 24, 2006

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports





DES MOINES, Iowa -- The University of Iowa is reviewing allegations that at least five of its football players received preferential treatment from a cell phone company employee who later received free tickets to the Outback Bowl.





Iowa officials said the university will investigate the matter to see if the players received extra benefits. The initial investigation is expected to be completed within 30 days and reported to the Big Ten Conference.


"We don't even know who was involved yet. The first step is to find out who was involved," Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby told the Associated Press on Thursday. "In the grand scheme of things, it's likely not all that serious."


According to documents from Iowa Workforce Development, Jeremy Reed, of North Liberty, was fired Jan. 30 by IPCS Wireless Inc. in Coralville for fraudulent and improper behavior that benefited Reed's relatives and Iowa football players. Reed is accused of giving free and discounted merchandise and offering upgraded cell phone plans.


The documents, which were filed after Reed applied for unemployment benefits, say that Reed conceded he received free tickets to the 2006 Outback Bowl from an Iowa football player, which Reed described as a "gift" from a "friend." The documents did not say whether the player received free merchandise from Reed.


The judge who oversaw the case ruled that Reed was disqualified from receiving unemployment and said that the transactions were done, among other reasons, to help Iowa football players in exchange for "gifts or other benefits."


A message left Thursday with the Big Ten seeking comment on possible rules violations was not immediately returned.


On Nov. 17, Reed allegedly sold a customer a wireless headset costing $79.99 for a penny, and a travel charger that cost $49.99 for a penny on Dec. 10. That same customer exchanged a phone on Dec. 23 for another phone not on the list of those approved for such an exchange.


Documents show Reed performed two other improper exchanges, on Dec. 17 and Dec. 22.


IPCS gave Reed a written warning Jan. 19 for improper use of "add-a-phones," which put more services on a plan than allowed. The same day, the company began investigating Reed and discovered that he was also allegedly giving away merchandise and making adjustments to accounts -- including credits -- without proper documentation.


The document said that Reed conceded he gave preferential treatment to Iowa football players and did not deny any of the allegations that led to his firing.

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