COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said Thursday he is taking allegations of NCAA violations and mistreatment levied by a former player "very seriously" and that he will cooperate with any forthcoming investigation.
Former linebacker Santino Marchiol made numerous allegations to USA Today on Tuesday about cash changing hands for hosting recruits, practices that went beyond allowed time limits and mishandling of his own injury.
Fisher said his program will be "open" to any probing of his program.
"We take [the allegations] very seriously," Fisher said. "We're open to all inquiries, and we'll be very open with our records and everything we have. We feel very confident in the things with which we have done."
Fisher said he feels "very confident in our program and how we've done things" when asked if there's any reason to believe his coaching staff or training staff has committed any violations or mistreated any players.
"We'll address those when they come, but we have all the records and we'll cooperate [with an investigation] in any way shape or form they want to have," Fisher said.
Marchiol, who transferred to Arizona this summer, told USA Today that he was given hundreds of dollars of cash by linebackers coach Bradley Dale Peveto on two separate occasions to host recruits on unofficial visits. NCAA rules do not allow universities to pay for any of a recruit's expenses or provide a recruit anything on an unofficial visit except for three tickets to a campus athletic event.
Marchiol also said offseason workouts sometimes began during NCAA prohibited time frames and sometimes lasted beyond the time limits the NCAA allows. He also accused the training staff of mishandling an ankle injury, instructing him to play through it when he didn't feel like he could.
The allegations by Marchiol, who signed with Texas A&M under former coach Kevin Sumlin, who now coaches at Arizona, were written in a statement that is part of his attempt to be cleared to play for the Wildcats this season, rather than sit out the customary season after transferring.
Under new transfer legislation passed in June by the NCAA, a player may get a waiver for immediate eligibility if "the transfer is due to documented mitigating circumstances that are outside the student-athlete's control and directly impact the health, safety and well-being of the student-athlete."
Multiple Texas A&M players told a different tale Thursday.
Starting running back Trayveon Williams said he thought Marchiol's comments were "detrimental" to the team and he never felt the coaching staff has crossed a line in treatment of its players.
"This is a coaching staff that focuses on all the little things," Williams said. "They're not going to do anything that's out of regulation, that's not permitted. These are great guys. They understand what's going on, and they wouldn't do anything that's not allowed."
Fullback Cullen Gillaspia said he's fully behind the coaching staff and the way it has run the program this offseason.
"Oh, [I've been behind them] 100 percent, from the day Coach Fisher got here," Gillaspia said. "He taught us toughness, effort, discipline, pride and grit. It's what we've learned. It's what we've been taught and the culture is great. I'm having more fun right now playing football than I have in a really long time. Overall I think the coaching staff is great, and they haven't misled us in any way."
Marchiol alleged the staff used vulgar and demeaning language when criticizing players and constantly demanded more toughness out of the team. Current Texas A&M players on Thursday said it has been tough this offseason, but not to a point where they felt uncertain about the coaches or the culture of the program.
"I haven't seen a problem at all," linebacker Otaro Alaka said. "I haven't seen anything different than what you would see at any other program. Our guys, since this coaching staff came in, we love it."
"I love the culture here," Keke said. "Coach Fisher has definitely brought a tough culture here, a tough mindset, effort, discipline, pride, all those good qualities to bring to a team. I loved everything about it.
"... I've never felt uncomfortable. I've enjoyed my time. I'm all smiles."
Anthony Hines, the father of current Texas A&M linebacker Anthony Hines III, told ESPN that he was surprised by the allegations.
"We've never come across anything like that," Hines said. "[My son] has never complained to me about being overworked or anything like that. He loves the coaches, and the coaches love him."