Don Kausler Jr. of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reports today on alleged details of Alabama football player Marcell Dareus attending a party in South Beach last May that now reportedly has him in hot water with the NCAA.
As his mother lay dying in her Birmingham home, Marcell Dareus couldn’t cope. He had to get away. It was the middle of May. Spring classes at the University of Alabama were over. Summer classes and football conditioning didn’t start until early June.
Along came an invitation from a friend to fly to Miami. The chance to hang out in South Beach sounded good, so off Dareus went to chill in the sun, sand and warm water.
Dareus attended the party but claims he was lured to Miami under a false pretense, a source close to the family said. When Dareus discovered there were agents at the party, he asked to leave. Then he received grim news that his mother, Michelle Luckey, had died, and he abruptly returned to Birmingham.
Kausler reports that a “source close to the family” of Dareus claims that North Carolina football player Marvin Austin was behind the trip.
The friend who arranged the trip was Marvin Austin, a star defensive lineman at North Carolina, a source close to the Dareus family said. Austin appears to be a central figure in a growing NCAA investigation into possible improper dealings between agents and college football players.
When Dareus made a recruiting visit to North Carolina during his senior year at Huffman High School, his host was Austin, then a freshman. The two players bonded.
As Alabama rolled last fall toward an undefeated season, Austin said if the Crimson Tide won the national championship, he would pay for a trip for Dareus anywhere, a source close to the Dareus family said.
So why would Dareus leaving his dying mother to party in South Beach with Austin?
Sources close to the Dareus family paint a picture of the player as trusting, naive and gullible. As his mother’s health declined in the spring following a lengthy illness, he was particularly vulnerable.
If the family source-fueled Birmingham News report was designed to paint a sympathetic portrait of Dareus, who yesterday the TUSCALOOSA NEWS reported is now ineligible because of the Miami trip, it didn’t work.