January 30th, 2012 09:24 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama
Tags: April Justin, Georgia, Landon Collins, LSU
Get ready for a new round of NCAA violation talk, folks. This one’s already starting to percolate on the messageboards.
It all began at the Under Armour All-American game in early January. Landon Collins — one of the top safeties in the nation and a Louisiana native — announced that he would be playing at Alabama, not LSU.
His mother became an instant YouTube hit for not supporting her son’s decision:
Collins reportedly picked Alabama because that is where his girlfriend will be going to school on an academic scholarship. As it turns out, the girlfriend is also part of the reason Collins’ mother doesn’t want her son going to Bama.
An ESPN The Magazine article has revealed that there was a dust-up just before Collins made his Alabama announcement on live television. The player’s mother wanted only family in the shot, not the girlfriend. In the end, Collins’ gal stood right behind him in the video above.
But there’s more.
Speaking to the website MomsTeam.com (“The Trusted Source for Sports Parents”), April Justin claims that she wants her son playing right away and playing safety — two things he could do at LSU, but not at Bama. Okay, fine. Parents want their kids to play right away.
She also claims — according to the site — that “Victoria (the girlfriend) had allegedly been offered a job to work in head coach Nick Saban’s office.”
The writer of the article says she has not been able to confirm Collins’ mother’s claim. She also writes that Alabama officials “would not comment on anything relating to the recruitment of a prospective student-athlete.”
If the allegation is true, it would appear to violate a 2010 NCAA rule put in place to prevent “package deals” for prospects and recruits. The rule states:
“During a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position.”
Some of you might recall that on-again, off-again Alabama 26th man Justin Taylor said back on January 15th that he would stay in Georgia this fall — if he grayshirts at Bama — and that “they are going to find me a job.”
Alabama can offer a university-based job to a student-athlete so long as the coaches — nudge, nudge, wink, wink — have nothing to do with it. But such a job would require Taylor to be in Tuscaloosa, not in Georgia.
Whether or not there’s any meat on these bones, we’ll have to wait and see. But suffice to say there’s a lot of talk about Alabama’s football program and offers of employment. Perhaps the folks in Washington, DC should give Saban a call. If these claims are true, the man knows how to create jobs.
UPDATE — A corrected, follow-up post can be found here.
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