Someone asked about some Bama history a few days ago – Chapter 15 "Was Alabama Treated Fairly"
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 Clay
Was Alabama Treated Fairly? Chapter 15
Before I go any further... I give Tennstudd of Memphis a lot more credit than he deserves in what has happened. There is no doubt that something untoward happened in Memphis. But, unless all the parties come forth and tell the complete truth, we may never know what that something is. What I do know is that Tennstudd, and men like him, did what they could to keep this in the press, and friendly press members started applying pressure to the NCAA to "do something". Tennstudd is used here, because he's one name that's well-known, here, not because he's the ONLY one doing it. A lack of facts, or worse, a distortion of facts, gave an incorrect impression of the University of Alabama's football team as a "rogue program", and the University as either blind or sympathetic with wrongdoers. Nothing could be further from the truth. However, the impression has stuck in the minds of many. And when some media members get a notion in their minds, they run with it, come hell or high water.
What is the truth? Did Logan Young give $200,000 for Means' signature? Of course not. No proof was ever given to such. Did he promise such an amount? I haven't a clue, and neither does anyone but Young, Lang and Means. However, the Media Circus printed Milton Kirk's accusation as fact. To this day, Logan Young was has only been indicted of promising $115,000, to Lang, some for Kirk and the rest for the Means. The testimony used to make this assertion is from Kirk, with corroboration from the Secret Witness.
In the summer of 1999, word began to spread about the activities of Lynn Lang as it pertained to the recruitment of Albert Means. No one has yet answered the question why our compliance department was not aware of these rumors. As just previously noted, ALL rumors of misconduct by Alabama coaches or boosters were thoroughly investigated and misconduct reported to the NCAA. The NCAA soon learned about the stories coming out of Memphis. For some unknown and unexplained reason though, the NCAA failed to give any warning or notification to the University of Alabama.
In February of 2000, Alabama signed Albert Means to a National Letter of Intent. In July of 2000, before the football season began, the NCAA was conducting a full-scale investigation into Albert Mean's recruitment. Still, the NCAA did not notify the University of Alabama. Means played in almost every game that season. At some point during the season, Alabama compliance officials became aware of the Means rumors. All indications are that the compliance team investigated the rumors but could not substantiate the allegations. There is still no explanation why the NCAA did NOT officially notify the University of Alabama about the rumors and information it had received. In January of 2001, several media outlets ran stories alleging that Albert Mean's high school coach had been paid $200,000 dollars to "steer" Means to Alabama. This set off a media feeding frenzy of Titanic proportions.
In February of 2001, the NCAA issued a Preliminary Letter of Inquiry into the football program at Alabama. Thus began the most massive investigation in NCAA history. The NCAA had already put their "chief bloodhound" on the case. Hundreds upon hundreds of witnesses were interviewed. I know of cases were players from Mississippi State University were interviewed by the NCAA, even though these players were never even recruited by Alabama. The NCAA spared no expense and effort to uncover every "questionable action" they could find.
During the course of the investigation, Alabama's compliance department worked diligently and forthrightly to uncover all evidence possible. From the NCAA report " In this case, by contrast, university officials cooperated fully with the enforcement staff, often at great personal criticism, in a diligent effort to develop complete information regarding the violations." Yet through all of this, the NCAA still withheld evidence and the identities of at least one witness. What was the NCAA trying to do?
Even more troubling was the inclusion of a FORMERLY CLOSED case concerning the recruitment of Kenny Smith of Stevenson, Al. The NCAA had previously been notified of this case, had taken a preliminary look at it and declined to pursue it. It was beyond the statute of limitations cited in the PLOI. Yet, the NCAA included it in this case on the word of a secret witness, and only to establish a "pattern of conduct" by one booster. It is apparent they wanted to "nail Logan Young".
Now comes the question of the conduct of the investigators. Several people who were questioned have said that they had more information to give the investigators, but the investigators were not interested. I don't know about you, but I believe an investigator should always be on the lookout for information. You never know when you might need it on that case or on another case. One of the boosters named in this case has stated that there were a dozen or so people who could testify to the facts of the case regarding a vehicle "given" to a student athlete. None, and I repeat, none of these witnesses were ever questioned.
Many have said that the questions asked by the investigator led them to believe that he had already made his mind up. He wasn't asking for information, just confirmation. If their answers didn't confirm his beliefs, he wasn't interested in talking to them. To any rational person, it would sound as if the people doing the investigating had their minds made up before they gathered the evidence. Alabama's strategy during this entire investigation was to cooperate totally. This was done AND recognized by the Committee Of Infractions. Imagine the surprise that our legal team received when, at the Committee on Infractions hearing on Nov. 17, the Enforcement Staff presented evidence that had NOT been made known to Alabama at the pre-hearing conference 2 weeks earlier. The pre-hearing was the opportunity for both sides to essentially present their case and evidence to each other so that the Committee on Infractions hearing would be free of any surprises and that both sides could effectively deliver their case. This NCAA bylaw stipulates:
32.5.12 - NCAA Summary Case Statement. Not later than 14 days prior to the date of the institution's appearance, the enforcement staff shall prepare a summary statement of the case that indicates the status of each allegation and identifies the individuals upon whom and the information upon which the staff will rely in presenting the case. This summary shall be provided to the members of the Committee on Infractions and to representatives of the institution and involved individuals prior to the hearing. The committee may waive this 14-day period for good cause shown. (Adopted: 10/12/94)
In this case, the NCAA violated this bylaw. Why would they do that? That is just one more indication of unfair treatment by the NCAA.
Finally, at the end of this entire investigation, the chairman of the Committee on Infractions stood up and leveled a bitter, threatening tirade against the University of Alabama. He was very unprofessional in his comments. He used the words "repeat offender" and "death penalty" over and over, yet the death penalty could NOT have been invoked because of our compliance team's and the University's cooperation and was never even voted on by the committee. He was obviously grandstanding. Why?
Can anyone not look at this entire case and the previous cases and see where the fans of the University of Alabama feel that the NCAA has treated us unfairly? Make the assumption that every allegation leveled against Alabama by the NCAA is true. We received no Failure to Monitor or Lack of Institutional Control. No former coaches or Administrators were charged with any wrongdoing (save Ronnie Cottrell's answer to a question about a legal loan.) Yet we were hit with over double the penalties that Kansas State and Wisconsin were subjected to.
In the case of Kansas State, they had 7 boosters giving money to student-athletes. They were a repeat offender, the previous case being in women's basketball. They only had probation extended for 1 year and lost NO scholarships. They had NO bowl ban.
In the case of Wisconsin, they had 2 previous cases of LOIC. This case involved dozens of athletes getting impermissible benefits from a booster. Also, Wisconsin not only "didn't disassociate boosters long enough" (as we were charged), they actively and defiantly refused to disassociate them, AT ALL, prior to their COI hearing. Yet the NCAA only subjected them to 12 scholarships lost (up from the incredibly brassy 2 they self-imposed). No post-season ban was imposed. In fact, no college or university not cited with (at least) Failure to Monitor has ever been given a bowl ban. Ever. Until Alabama.
I believe it is apparent that Alabama was singled out and "made an example" of by the NCAA on 2 different occasions. We are NOT claiming innocence. All we want is fairness and equitable treatment comparable to other institutions by the NCAA.
What does it all mean? Does it really matter who used the press as a weapon, if it is true? Well, let me tell you what it meant to the NCAA. It was "proof" they put a show cause order on Ivy Williams and said he was in on the scheme which is why he was originally charged and it was "proof" that Logan Young was in the loop, when coupled with un-corroborated secret witness testimony.
But... there's that little word that does so much trouble... but...
The fact is, no one has yet been able to find much of anything about the money and Lang. We now know Means was shopped. We also know that knowledge of that shopping was sporadically given. One or two individuals, not associated with the NCAA or the SEC Office, may have warned off Arkansas, Ole Miss and Auburn coaches. These generous people didn't do likewise for Marie Robbins and the Tide. We know that Means did, in fact, sign with the Tide. And, we know that numerous phone calls were made from Ivy Williams to Logan Young, and vice versa, on signing day.
IF there was a deal for Means, why so many phone calls? If one wasn't reached until signing day, there must have been active bids going on (assuming there was a bid, at all). By whom? Did the NCAA ever check to see who all were in touch with Lang? Did anyone ever check other boosters to see who was calling who? Did anyone check to see if the Means' phone was busy? If so, how many people were bidding, were they doing so knowing the NCAA was watching? We know a few schools were warned of Means. Is this proof positive that this sharing of information was very, very selective? Were Alabama, and Kentucky left off the list for a reason?
Plus, despite Years of grand jury testimony, where is the evidence against the coaches? If Williams has so many calls to Young, why did the NCAA drop the charges against him? Could it be that some of the evidence didn't add up? Or, as some have suggested, maybe some weren't willing to confront the accused face to face? If not, why not? The NCAA had no problem going after the school, despite the Alabama's best efforts to get to the bottom of it all. The NCAA didn't have enough to charge Williams, but DID have enough to make the school pay for his alleged crimes? Where is the due process?
I'll tell you where. The NCAA has no standards for assessing penalties. It has no obligation to follow its own rules. It can pretty much do anything it likes. Alabama... Ah! Alabama, now there's a story! Scandal! Intrigue! Even a by-damned Federal Investigation! Woo-hoo! The NCAA may have felt it had no choice BUT to hit Alabama, hard, despite all the compliance efforts. And the press, being the press, chimes in. "Alabama fans are arrogant". "Alabama fans are unrepentant". Thomas Yeager himself said that we "better pray we don't come before them, again, any time soon".
The "Fact" that Alabama is a rogue program is "well-established", thanks to the media circus a few helped orchestrate. The media circus was used to justify the NCAA's side-stepping the 1999 case, in which proper compliance was the issue. Plus, the media circus was used to overlook the fact that this was the first time Alabama had been brought up on recruiting violations, which is the center of any true "repeat offender" status.
But... there's that little word full of trouble... the truth always comes out.
Alabama people have been backed into a corner. Alabama In my View acted appropriately, and did everything in it's power. On the evidence that was clear and compelling, Alabama moved to address the issues and self-impose. The school followed the rules, to the letter. If Alabama is a "rogue", it is because we were labeled so, not because it is a fact. And, it is long overdue to change the image to meet the facts.