A family member of Eric Bledsoe’s and a friend of the family have taken issue with the claim by a former landlord that Bledsoe’s high school coach paid rent for Bledsoe and his mother while he was a player for Parker High School in Birmingham, The Birmingham News reports this morning.
Billy Fagnes, a first-cousin of Bledsoe’s, says he paid the rent for Bledsoe and his mother on several occasions, and says once he gave the rent to Parker High School coach Maurice Ford to pass along to Bledsoe’s landlord. But he and a friend of the family, Jerome McMullin, say the coach never paid the player’s rent.
McMullin did say that the coach helped Bledsoe and his mother find a more affordable home.
The distinction is important because having an established friend or family member pay the rent would not be in violation of NCAA eligibility rules.
The New York Times, in a story in late May, quoted Bledsoe’s landlord, Brenda Axle, as saying Ford paid the rent three or four times in cash.
Alabama officials continue to look into details surrounding Bledsoe’s senior year grades.