Someone asked about some Bama history a few days ago – Chapter 8 "2000 Recruiting Class" and Chapter 9 "Bensyl-Meyers & the NCAA"

Someone asked about some Bama history a few days ago – Chapter 8 "2000 Recruiting Class" and Chapter 9 "Bensyl-Meyers & the NCAA"

This is a brief on how Alabama fell from grace in the general timeframe of the 1992 Championship thru Coach Fran with some earlier history thrown in for reference. It sheds light (true or false – that is up to the individual) on what happened to bring down the Tide and who all was involved. It definitely helps explain the animosity toward Phil Fulmer. I didn’t write any of the brief and don’t personally know anyone mentioned or attributed. I am not responsible for any typo, spelling, formatting, or whitespace errors. Nor am I responsible for any judgment errors, innuendo, false allegations, heresy, rumor mongering, slander, defamation, or character assassination. I just happened to cut and paste it from a Bama message forum (and I don’t remember which one) way back in the day and thought I might want hang on to it. I am only responsible for segmenting the document into chapters to make it easier to re-post as several RBR Fanpost. As with all Fanpost the content is not approved, condoned, sponsored, attributed, or verified by RBR or SBN and any of their writers, editors, or content providers. Buckle up this is a very long read. – WM58

Posted by clay3482 on February 27, 2004 at 20:59:25:

The Fall Of the Tide


This is only a compilation of public information put in one place so that the truth could come finally out. Some source articles came from MAJOR news outlets and some from Internet Message Board Archives. I will try to credit everyone at the end of the "brief" in Appendix A. This is a rough draft however, so if you see something I missed or in the case of internet posters if you would like your Real Name instead of your Internet Handle credited please let me know.

Thanks to all who have helped!

Roll Tide Forever!

Enjoy The Brief


Chapter 8 -

2000 Recruiting Class

In the 99 off season we had the much ballyhooed class of 2000. In reality, it was a bunch made up of marginal academic cases, recruits no one else really thought could play football that they sold to the recruiting gurus as 5 star prospects, and a few legit big timers. What it was short on was qualifiers and great FOOTBALL players. There were warning signs about a couple of players for months before signing day. - especially Albert Means and Harold James. Tennstud internet material was out there for months about Means. My alarm bell went off when I heard that Lynn Lang wouldn't let Albert go to the Hula Bowl with the Rivals 100 b/c they wouldn't pay him a 5K stipend. Why we went there, right or wrong, I'll never know. The screaming from Tenn., Fl., Ark. And others was at a fever pitch. Yes, they were scared of us. But the screaming happened and people at the NCAA listened.

I heard about Harold James academic problems months before he signed - and they were severe. I also heard about Justin Smiley and the truck weeks before it hit the news - heard that from a Florida booster. With all this stuff floating around it's almost inevitable that something was going to blow. Especially when our compliance department gave the NCAA every impression that we were rotten to the core - or at least more so than anyone else in the SEC.

Now throw in the "Juicy". Juicy Locke had had his hand out ever since he got to Tuscaloosa. Eric signing with Alabama was a huge embarrassment to Fulmer and one that set him off for good (along with the Melrose stuff) on Logan. With juicy, nothing was free and his sorry self quickly washed out of his job in Tuscaloosa and he went to shakedowns to make a living. When he was turned down enough, he put out feelers up North and was assured that he would be taken care of if Eric transferred to UT. He did.

What Juicy says now is largely true. It is apparent that Fulmer really wanted Eric and Juicy to drop a dime on Alabama. Furthermore, Juicy had written an embittered letter to numerous people about his alleged shabby treatment by Alabama - even going so far as to mention Fernando Bryant and stripper parties. What is amazing is that none of those letters ever became public until last 2002 when Tennessee was feeling the heat. But I am convinced the letter about Fernando Bryant and stripper parties ended up at NCAA HQ and that is what pushed the final rock downhill.

Shortly after signing day, we were turned in by at least four maybe five schools for recruiting violations. The funniest thing is that every single one of them were notorious cheaters themselves. Whether it was fear of a Alabama resurgence (Coach Bryant left the Spurrier's and Fulmer's of the world deeply scarred), that we had gotten too deep in some people's backyards or we violated some unwritten recruiting rules one too many times, I do know however I do think this it was coordinated. Word started to bubble up that the NCAA was snooping around on us a few months later, but nothing to indicate they were coming to campus - for the death shot.

Signing Day 2000 brought elation to Alabama fans everywhere, as the Tide landed a consensus Top 3 class in the nation. Elation over Alabama's sine's was felt not only in Tuscaloosa however, but northeast of there as well. In Knoxville, Phil Fulmer and Tennstud saw the culmination of their plans as Albert Means signed a letter of intent with Alabama. Tennstud and a corrupt cabal of UT interests had acted on Fulmer's behalf, in which they'd purchased Means' commitment to Alabama through Tennstud's acquaintance, Milton Kirk. Kirk and his benefactors had convinced Lang that the true source of the payment for Means was Logan Young, the prominent Memphis-area Alabama booster. However, events would soon speed up the timeline for Fulmer's plans.

Chapter 9 -

Bensyl-Meyers & the NCAA

A Tennessee professor, Linda Bensyl-Meyers came forward in the early spring of 2000 with serious allegations of academic fraud at Tennessee. Bensyl-Meyers insinuated that the athletic department under Fulmer and UT athletic director, Doug Dickey had become a sham for the sole purpose of manufacturing winning football teams. Athletes weren't required to attend class or even do their own work, as a fleet of athletic department managed tutors did all of the athletes' class work. The allegations were serious enough to land UT in an "Outside the Lines" expose on ESPN, who was beginning to investigate the story with vigor.

Fulmer turned to Doug Dickey for help, who in turn went to his benefactor in the SEC Office, Roy Kramer. Kramer suggested that he could suggest to his friends at the NCAA that coach Fulmer was ready to come forward with what he knew about the allegations swirling around Alabama's recruiting practices in Memphis and elsewhere. Kramer knew that his reputation with his fiends at the NCAA was sound and that if he personally vouched for the seriousness of what coach Fulmer knew, the NCAA would be willing to listen. With an interview secured, Kramer would suggest that he and Dickey use this as a bargaining chip with his friends at the NCAA to secure immunity for UT against Bensyl-Meyer's charges, and any other allegations that might later surface.

Kramer felt certain that his assurances that the allegations coach Fulmer had brought to him regarding Alabama were so serious that the UT scandal would pale in comparison. To accommodate this, Fulmer would adjust upwards the dollar amount he would allege Alabama paid for Means' services and would bring NCAA investigators as large a volume of material as he could find on supposed Alabama recruiting violations dating back as far as he could possibly manage.

With that in mind, Fulmer contacted Tom Culpepper. After quite a lot of convincing and a guarantee of his assistance in landing Culpepper the recruiting coordinator's job at Texas Tech (for which Culpepper was currently applied), along with assurances that he was only interested in nailing Young and Cottrell and not the University of Alabama Tom agreed to meet with Fulmer and discuss the grab bag of alleged recruiting allegations he'd received from his friends in the athletic department. The meeting, lasting nearly 8 hours in total, took place in the spring of 2000 and was attended by Fulmer, his attorney, and Culpepper. Fulmer arranged for his attorney to tape the most significant portions of the meeting, totaling about 90 minutes of audio, in which the most serious alleged violations were discussed. With this information gathered, Fulmer arranged through Dickey to meet with NCAA investigator Rich Johanningmeier, whom Roy Kramer had personally requested to work on the case.

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