October 25, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Travelle Gaines, assistant strength coach, turned himself in to Louisiana State University Police Department on Tuesday morning following the issuance of a warrant for acting as an intermediary to a sports agent.
Gaines, 26, of Port Allen, La., has worked for the University since July 24 and was fired Tuesday, said LSU football coach Les Miles.
Gaines' arrest is the second made in the past two weeks concerning violations of the Louisiana law that regulates sports agents.
LSUPD arrested Charles Taplin, of Houston, for attempting to contact students on behalf of a sports agent.
LSUPD Chief Ricky Adams, said that during Taplin's investigation it obtained his cell phone and a notebook that led officers to the targeted student athletes.
Adams said during interviews with the student athletes, officers gained enough probable cause to request a warrant for Gaines' arrest.
Gaines was allegedly inviting student athletes to his home for barbecues, while in the capacity of a sports coach, and introducing them to a sports agent.
Adams said there was no indication the students knew a sports agent would be present.
He said the students involved are not criminally liable.
"Gaines had a responsibility as a staff member who knows the rules," Adams said.
Adams said that in another incident two athletes went to dinner with the sports agent.
Adams said the students said they paid for themselves in cash, so they cannot be held at fault for violating any regulations.
Miles said no student athletes have compromised their eligibility.
Michael Bonnette, assistant director of athletics, said student athletes can have contact with sports agents, but they can not accept, sign or make commitments with an agent until eligibility is over.
Bonnette said University employees are forbidden from facilitating the meeting of sports agents and student athletes.
Miles said that despite this recurring incident, he is not concerned about any other coaches.
"The guys on my floor know that we're in this for the players," Miles said.
Miles said that while it is not surprising members of the team would be "well sought after," it is surprising to him members of his staff would use misrepresentation and deceit.
Adams said LSUPD will meet with the district attorney in the next week to request that other individuals are arrested concerning this investigation, including the sports agents involved.
There is no known connection between Taplin and Gaines at this time, Adams said.
Seven years ago Randall Banks Bernard, intermediary for Tank Black of Professional Management, Inc., was arrested on campus on the same counts.
Adams said that during that time the sports agent laws in Louisiana were weaker.
The law considered the violation a misdemeanor and did not target the intermediary, only the sports agent.
Former University Chancellor Mark Emmert and former Tigers coach Nick Saban worked with the district attorney to change the law to a felony and extend to intermediaries.
(C) 2006 The Daily Reveille via CSTV U-WIRE