- Associated Press - Thursday, July 22, 2010

HOOVER, ALA. (AP) - A party on Miami’s South Beach and sports agents were once again hot topics at the Southeastern Conference media days, with South Carolina and Georgia taking center stage on Thursday.

Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said tight end Weslye Saunders told him he did nothing wrong during his trip to South Beach; Georgia receiver A.J. Green insisted he’s never even been to Miami.

The party at Club Liv in the Fontainebleau hotel in May has been the subject of investigations by the NCAA and several schools, including defending national champion Alabama and North Carolina.

Saunders “went with several players on a trip to Miami,” Spurrier said Thursday. “I guess the question is, who paid for it? Who paid for what they did while they were there? When the investigation is finished, I guess we’ll find out about all the guys.

“I’ve talked to him briefly. He told me he’s done nothing wrong. We’ll let it play out.”

Green, coach Mark Richt and the other Georgia players were under NCAA instructions not to comment on the investigation, which was disclosed Wednesday evening.

Green, the Bulldogs’ star receiver, told reporters at the media gathering that he hadn’t been to Miami _ ever.

Beyond that, he said: “It’s not my place to comment on it, and I don’t feel I need to.”

Richt told reporters of investigators that “we’ll see what they gather.” SEC officials twice warned that Georgia representatives wouldn’t talk about the probe.

Alabama is looking into Marcell Dareus’ trip to the party around the time of his mother’s death on May 18. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, the former Miami Dolphins coach who Wednesday compared the actions of unscrupulous agents to the behavior of a pimp, wants the NFL and the NFL Players Association to punish rogue agents with suspensions.

Spurrier, who coached the NFL’s Washington Redskins, was more subdued when asked if he agreed with that.

“I think they ought to be a little bit more active and help out in that regard,” he said. “As coaches we do all we can to tell our guys the rules _ you can’t accept anything from boosters, agents or whoever. But it’s hard to watch them all the time.

“It’s a little bit of a difficult situation, but sometimes you’ve just got to trust your players to know the rules and wait until after their final game before they take the money. If you can get through your senior year …. you can accept all the dough they want to give you. But you have to wait until your eligibility is over. That’s what we all try to teach our guys.”

Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino, a former Atlanta Falcons coach, said it was “wishful thinking” that the players association and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can solve the problem for the college ranks.

“We have to worry about what we can control, our education, our continuing to work on the decision making, the understanding of what’s right and what’s wrong, not try to think that somebody else is going to handle it for us,” Petrino said.

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