FORT WORTH -- Former Texas Christian University running back J.C. Morris said when he was playing, former TCU regent Dick Lowe was the 'sugar daddy' who gave him illegal cash payments, published reports said Saturday.
The Dallas Morning News reported in its Saturday editions that Morris, who graduated in 1982, said he was given $600 a month which he spent on a van and a sports car.
Morris' revelations came the day before TCU opened its Southwest Conference season at home against Southern Methodist, which was placed on probation by the NCAA in August for recruiting violations.
Seven Horned Frogs have been suspended from the team by coach Jim Wacker since it was revealed that they were accepting cash from alumni.
The Morning News said the NCAA questioned TCU players in 1979 but apparently was not able to substantiate that payoffs were being made.
Morris told the newspaper an NCAA investigator questioned him in 1979 when he was a freshman.
'They talked to me twice in 1979,' said Morris. 'I was being cashed off, but I didn't admit it. If no one comes out and tells them, they can't know. I guess the other players did the same thing, but I know others were getting money too.'
Morris said to his knowledge, F.A. Dry, the head football coach at that time, had nothing to do with the payoffs.
'I would just go to an alumnus' office and he would give me the money,' Morris said.
Morris said Dick Lowe, a former member of the school's board of regents who resigned last week after admitting making the payoffs, was the one who paid him.
'Lowe was my sugar daddy' said Morris. 'He recruited me. I got $600 a month.'
Morris told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that when he was recruited in 1979, it was made clear to him that he would be paid.
'It's hard to decide who approached who about the money,' Morris said. 'It was more like a group of guys together at the time, and them saying, 'This is what we do for our players. If you come here, you've got this, this and this.''
The Star-Telegram reported Saturday that three other former TCU players, who insisted that their names not be used, also admitted to receiving illegal payments, some of them directly from assistant coaches who worked for Dry, who was fired in 1982 and now serves as an assistant coach at Baylor.
'When Dry was there, it was like that,' said Mark McFarland, who quit the team after the 1984 season. 'You couldn't ask your coach for a new (Camaro) Z-28, but you could ask your coach for a hundred bucks to get through the weekend.'
McFarland said he never received money from coaches but a number of teammates told him that they did.
One player who graduated in 1984 told the Star-Telegram that some players threatened alumni if they did not receive their money.
'They'd say, 'I'd better get my money or I ain't playing hard,'' said the former player who transferred to TCU from a junior college in 1982.
'That's why we didn't win any games,' the player said. 'The ones that were getting paid were playing, and the others were complaining.'
A number of players told the newspaper that the payoffs were so prevalent under Dry that neither coaches nor alumni could stop it.
'Some of the guys, they'd use it like blackmail,' the junior college transfer said. 'If the coaches didn't give them any money, they'd threaten to snitch them off to the NCAA.'
McFarland said most of the payments stopped once Wacker was hired.
'Everything kind of went underground when Wacker came in,' McFarland said. 'Everything cooled down. Guys started going directly to the alumni.'
However, Morris said he found it impossible to believe that Wacker did not know that some players were receiving payoffs.
'All Wacker had to do was walk out to the parking lot, and you can see who's doing what,' Morris said.
Morris said during recruiting, Texas Christian was the only school that offered him money.
'TCU was the only school that talked numbers,' Morris said. 'Everyone else would just say they would take care of you, and you would be comfortable. And there would be an alumnus standing around looking like dollar signs all over him.'
'When you were recruited, they assigned you to an alumni and the alumni would take care of you,' McFarland said. 'Our parking lot after awhile looked like a new car parking lot,' McFarland said.
NCAA investigator Bob Minnix left TCU Friday after three days of questioning players, coaches and alumni.