When Odell Beckham Jr. handed out wads of cash to LSU players after their national championship victory over Clemson, it drew widespread headlines as a potential NCAA rules violation.
That said, no one was under the impression it was the first time a college player had been paid for their performance. In a discussion about the Beckham situation, former Texas Longhorns linebacker Emmanuel Acho said Thursday that players at Texas were paid $1,000 for each interception they got against Alabama during the national championship game for the 2009 season.
Acho said on ESPN's Get Up (h/t 247Sports):
"We went to the national championship game in 2009 and ... it was public to the team, for every interception the defensive back got, they were going to get $1,000. 'For every pick y'all got against Alabama in the national championship game, you're going to get $1,000.' Now, the difference is we just didn't do it publicly on the field.
"What my problem is, though, everybody masquerades Odell Beckham as a guy who thinks, 'Oh, I plotted this out. I'm going to go out, hand this money and they're going to talk about me on Get Up. That's not what he's thinking. That's not what he's thinking."
Blake Gideon picked off a pass on a fake punt attempt in the first quarter of the 2010 game, but that was the only interception for Texas in the Longhorns' 37-21 loss.
Acho did not say who was promising the payments, nor did he mention whether Gideon ever received his $1,000. Gideon played at Texas for two more seasons after the national championship loss, so accepting a $1,000 gift would have constituted an NCAA violation.
Acho later clarified on Twitter that doesn't know if anyone actually received cash:
"I have no proof that anybody on our '09 team ACTUALLY got paid by our NFL alumni. Those were lockeroom convos in jest pre game. Our alumni came to the game and supported us, but again no money changed hands.
"The former coaches nor University of Texas had anything to do with it. This was just a motivational conversation between players, past and present. Thanks, and Hookem."
The minor infraction may not be enough to warrant an NCAA investigation over a decade later.
The NCAA, SEC and LSU are working together to investigate the Beckham situation.