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Archive for Friday, December 7, 2001

Tide officials reveal self-imposed sanctions in response to NCAA allegations

December 7, 2001

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— Alabama will cut 15 football scholarships over the next three years in response to NCAA charges of rules violations.

The university also said Thursday it had severed ties with three athletic boosters accused of offering money to high school players and would cut back on recruiting. The school said it will not give up a postseason bowl or televised game.

The self-imposed sanctions were part of Alabama's 750-page response to the NCAA.

The documents showed the university admitted to some key violations including that an athletic representative made "substantial cash payments" to a high school recruit in the mid-'90s.

But the university disagreed with other allegations, and it pointed the finger at rival Auburn for turning in the Crimson Tide five years ago on an alleged violation.

The documents were in response to 11 major charges and five minor charges leveled against the university by the NCAA.

The NCAA is expected to impose penalties on its own in January or February. The sanctioning organization could accept Alabama's self-imposed punishments in whole or in part or impose other, harsher measures.

The university appeared before the NCAA Committee on Infractions on Nov. 17 in Indianapolis.

The NCAA began investigating Alabama in April of 2000 for alleged violations that occurred mostly under former coach Mike DuBose.

Many of the charges involved three boosters, four players and recruiting under DuBose and Gene Stallings, neither of whom was charged with wrongdoing.

The NCAA allegations also do not involve current Crimson Tide coach Dennis Franchione and his staff.

The university removed key names from the documents before making them public. But some of the situations described in the papers matched previous media reports on the allegations, making it possible in some cases to identify players and other people involved.

The player acknowledged by the university as receiving cash to sign at Alabama apparently was Kenny Smith of Stevenson. One of the three men barred from the program, car dealer Wendell Smith of Chattanooga, Tenn., has publicly admitted giving Smith $20,000 in the mid-1990s. Wendell Smith has denied being an Alabama booster.

The university argued it should not be punished for those violations because they occurred outside the NCAA's four-year statute of limitations.

Alabama said Auburn officials gave the NCAA information about the violations in 1996, but the NCAA did not notify the university of the charges before sending the preliminary letter of inquiry.

The university also claimed there wasn't enough evidence to prove the initial source of money paid to Smith, a defensive lineman.

Alabama also acknowledged that the high school coaches of former Memphis defensive lineman Albert Means solicited cash and other compensation in exchange for influencing his college choice. But the university said the NCAA couldn't prove the coaches received money or that any money was tied to an Alabama booster, allegedly Memphis businessman Logan Young.

Means has since transferred to Memphis, while Smith went to junior college and played briefly for Tennessee.

Alabama's self-imposed penalties include:

l Reducing the number of scholarships it can award in February from 25 to 17. It said it would subtract four scholarships in 2003 and three in 2004.

l Alabama also will reduce the number of assistant coaches allowed to recruit off-campus this season and reduce the total number of official visits to the campus from the maximum 56 to 34.

However, Alabama said it would not ban itself from going to a postseason bowl or from appearing on television as part of its self-imposed penalties. It was reported earlier that Alabama has severed ties with Young, Wendell Smith and Raymond Keller of Stevenson. The university will have no association with the boosters for five to 10 years.

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