In 2001, Alabama self-reported 6 secondary violations regarding Albert Means' recruitment. The subsequent NCAA investigation found multiple major violations that led to serious NCAA penalties. In 2007, Alabama self-reported that only 5 student-athletes were involved in the textbook scandal. The subsequent NCAA investigation turned up over 200 more, leading to the probation Alabama is currently serving. One would hope they would have learned from these past instances to be thorough but the fact they opened and closed their internal investigation into these recent allegations in about 36 hours does not bode well if thoroughness is what you are looking for.
Well that didn’t take long.
Alabama has already opened and closed an investigation into allegations made by AuburnSports.com that a supporter of the school — Darren Woodruff — provided cash and a car for Bama signee Brent Calloway. The fact that UA has closed its own investigation so quickly likely shows that it feels pretty confident that nothing out of the ordinary went on… though you can bet rival fans will say such a quick investigation serves only as a cover-up.
Ah, the SEC in 2011. Gotta love it.
Something to remember: The Crimson Tide is currently on probation thanks to the textbook scandal of 2007. So it would be in Bama’s best interest to turn over any wrongdoing that it finds lest the NCAA really come down hard on the program. In other words, a cover-up would be an extremely dangerous undertaking.
Since Friday, Alabama compliance department officials met with Calloway, his adoptive father, bank officials, the principal of Calloway’s high school and Woodruff, who lives in the same town as Calloway.
Woodruff says he did nothing wrong and that he has no problems with Auburn.
“Auburn is my second favorite team,” Woodruff told TideSports.com, the Rivals site for Alabama. “Some of my best friends and work associates are Auburn graduates and fans. I do business with Auburn people every day. I don’t harbor any ill will toward Auburn.
“Listen, I’m a Brent Calloway fan. I don’t care where he goes to school. I just want him to get an education. I told him when he originally committed to Alabama, ‘I’m happy for you. I hope you made the right choice.’ When he switched to Auburn I said, ‘I’m happy for you. I hope you made the right choice.’
“Brent’s like a son to me. Me and my wife consider him a part of my family. So no matter where he was going to school, Brent was still goign to be a part of my family. That’s just the way it is.”
It’s also been reported that Woodruff struck up a friendship with Calloway when he moved to Russellville as a ninth-grader, before he was a top prospect.
Jeffrey Lee — the man who made the accusations about Calloway and Woodruff on AuburnSports.com and on a Mobile radio station last week — has said that there’s more to the story. Apparently Bama’s investigators couldn’t find it. Sort of like Auburn’s investigators not being able to find wrongdoing in the Tigers’ pursuit of Cam Newton.
Ultimately, NCAA investigators might weigh in with their own checks of both programs.
But of the all the mud slung in this story, there’s only one portion that stands out to us here at MrSEC.com — the Camaro Calloway allegedly drove to school for a day. Lee claimed that the car was given back to Woodruff that evening because too many questions were raised. The principal of Calloway’s high school, however, has said he knew nothing of questions about a car.
But the fact that Woodruff did take a Camaro and then returned it after what the dealership referred to as an extended test drive is odd. Conspiracy theorists like to look for loose ends and coincidences and the car part of the story will likely serve as one or the other for anti-Bama fans. “Oh sure, he just happened to test drive a car and then return it.”
For now, the Iron Bowl bickering will continue. And it shouldn’t be long before one party or the other makes new allegations against their rival across the state. It’s just a matter of time, really. You can set your watch by it at this point.
Scott Moore. Jeffrey Lee. Who’ll be the next man to try to sling a little mud in the nation’s hottest/ugliest rivalry?