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Archive for Saturday, September 8, 2001

Alabama accused of major violations

Alleged infractions include booster offering prep coach $115,000 for player

September 8, 2001

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— NCAA charges released Friday accused Alabama's football program of major recruiting violations, including paying cash for players, academic fraud and throwing parties with strippers.

The alleged violations occurred from 1995 until last year before the current Crimson Tide coaching staff was hired.

But the allegations painted a sordid picture for a scandal-plagued program once known for winning national championships and boasting that it stayed out of the NCAA doghouse.

A booster offered a high school coach $115,000 for a player and actually made three payments of $10,000, the NCAA charged. Ex-Tide coaches were accused of repeatedly breaking rules and then denying wrongdoing to investigators. The NCAA said more than just money was involved in the improprieties.

Prospective players were allegedly entertained by strippers several times during parties at a university apartment between 1997 and 1999. And a former assistant coach failed to report knowing about a recruit who let someone take a college entrance exam for him, the charges alleged.

Those violations and most of the rest occurred under former head coach Mike DuBose, who became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal before resigning last year at the close of a 3-8 season.

But the allegations went back six years, when Gene Stallings was head coach. The NCAA at the time was already investigating the Crimson Tide for other violations under Stallings.

The NCAA charged that a booster in 1995 promised a recruit $20,000 to sign with the Tide. He paid in $10,000 cash payments delivered in a plastic grocery sack and, later, in a big envelope, the NCAA said.

The university did not make public the identities of anyone involved in the charges. School officials who released an NCAA letter detailing the allegations deleted names and other identifying information from the document, citing privacy concerns and an NCAA request.

The public airing of the charges gave Alabama fans their first full look at the results of months of work by NCAA investigators, but university President Andrew Sorensen said there were "no surprises" for the school.

"The allegations involve incidents we either self reported or investigated jointly with the NCAA over the past 10 months," Sorensen said.

Athletics director Mal Moore said the school would respond to the charges quickly.

"We will correct where correction is necessary and we will defend where we believe that action is necessary," said Moore.

Sanctions could include a loss of scholarships, a ban from TV or bowls, and a loss of postseason revenues. The university could impose some penalties on itself before an expected appearance before the NCAA Infractions Committee.

Alabama football lost scholarships, was banned from a bowl and was placed on probation during its last scrape with the NCAA, in 1995. The basketball program avoided penalties in 1999 after reporting claims a former assistant basketball coach had tried to create a fund to pay players. Alabama could be considered a "repeat offender" under NCAA rules, leading to a possible shutdown of the football program.

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