0

Georgia player linked to former Miami booster

ATHENS -- Georgia said tight end Orson Charles was cleared by the NCAA after being linked to a former Miami booster who told Yahoo! Sports he provided impermissible benefits to dozens of Hurricane football players and other athletes.

A school statement Wednesday said Charles is eligible to play this season and the Bulldogs are not affected by the allegations at Miami.

"The University of Georgia is aware of the article mentioning Orson Charles and has been in communication with the NCAA," the statement said. "There are no issues with UGA or eligibility issues with Orson Charles. UGA will have no further comment regarding this matter."

Yahoo! Sports said Charles was among the players improperly brought to Nevin Shapiro while still in high school so the booster could try to persuade him to attend Miami. Charles wound up signing with the Bulldogs.

Former Miami tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Joe Pannunzio set up the meeting between Charles and Shapiro, according to the report. Pannunzio is now director of football operations at Alabama.

Yahoo! Sports reported Shapiro's allegations Tuesday. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme.

Charles, who played his high school football in Tampa, is going into his junior year at Georgia. Last season, he had 26 catches for 422 yards and two touchdowns.