The incident could be a violation of NCAA rules and lead to consequences for the players

By Claudia Harmata
January 16, 2020 11:58 AM
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Some Louisiana State University football players may be in trouble with the NCAA.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Cleveland Browns star Odell Beckham Jr. was seen handing out cash to a few of the university’s players at the end of their National Championship game against the Clemson Tigers Monday night.

Louisiana State was quick to deny that the money was real, with a spokesperson for the athletics department telling The Advocate that they were “novelty bills.”

However, on Wednesday, the team’s quarterback, Joe Burrow, confirmed that the money was real while appearing on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast.

“I’m not a student-athlete anymore, so I can say yeah,” Burrow told the hosts when asked about the cash.

Odell Beckham Jr.
John Mersits/CSM/Shutterstock

The incident could be a violation of NCAA rules and lead to consequences for the players, as the organization’s Bylaw, Article 12 specifically states that “receipt of cash, or the equivalent thereof (e.g., trust fund), as an award for participation in competition at any time, even if such an award is permitted under the rules governing an amateur, noncollegiate event in which the individual is participating,” is “impermissible.”

According to ESPN, LSU’s athletic department issued a statement on Wednesday saying they were aware of the “apparent cash” and that they are now in contact with the NCAA and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We are aware of the situation regarding Odell Beckham Jr. interacting with LSU student-athletes and others unaffiliated with the team following the championship game Monday night,” the statement to ESPN read. “Initial information suggested bills that were exchanged were novelty bills. Information and footage reviewed since shows apparent cash may have also been given to LSU student-athletes.”

“We were in contact with the NCAA and the SEC immediately upon learning of this situation in which some of our student-athletes may have been placed in a compromising position,” it continued. “We are working with our student-athletes, the NCAA and the SEC in order to rectify the situation.”

LSU athletics and the NCAA did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

News about the cash gift first began circulating when a video of the interaction between Beckham Jr. — and LSU alum — and LSU’s wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jontre Kirklin was shared on Twitter, The Washington Post reported. The video appears to have since been removed.

After an incredible season, LSU took home the national title on Monday, beating out Clemson 42-25, with Burrow — winner of the Heisman Trophy — also breaking the NCAA single-season record for passing touchdowns in a season, according to CNN.