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Saban Talks SEC Expansion

When it comes to conference expansion and radical realignment, Alabama’s Nick Saban says he’s not looking for any say in who the SEC has invited or who it will invite in the future:

“I’ve always said I have tremendous faith, trust and confidence in our administration, our president, Mal (Moore, UA’s AD), and the SEC commissioner to make the decisions about what’s right for the SEC in the future.

It’s like I don’t think it’s my responsibility to change the uniforms around here.  It’s not my responsibility to worry about who we decide is the best fit for the SEC in the future in terms of expansion, if that’s the best thing for the league, and I’m not saying that it is or it isn’t.  I’m just saying if those people think it is, then they need to make those decisions…

(Adding Texas A&M) does open up a different market to the SEC, so there are positives.  I’m sure you could sit down and figure out some negatives if you’re willing to take the time to do it.

But I don’t know a lot about it, to be honest with you.  I know these things sort of get decided way above, and I don’t have any favorites.”

Bama’s coach did say that he hopes “the integrity of the rivalries” in the SEC will avoid damage in expansion.

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Bama’s Hart Accepts UT A.D. Position

The University of Tennessee has finally landed a new athletic director.  Not only did they finally find their man, but he’s got a long track record at major programs, including one inside the SEC.

But some Vol fans aren’t going to be as happy about the hire as you might think.

Dave Hart — an Alabama graduate — has accepted Tennessee’s offer and will leave the University of Alabama athletic department where he has served as the day-to-day CEO of the program since 2008.  Technically, Mal Moore is still Alabama’s top athletic administrator overseeing funding and facilities.

Hart is 62, so it’s doubtful that we hill head to Knoxville only to return to Tuscaloosa when Moore (72) retires.

When word leaked out last week that Hart was a top candidate for the Tennessee job, a sizable portion of the UT fanbase voiced their displeasure with the idea of Tennessee hiring someone with Bama ties.  The outcry was so loud in fact that some Knoxville media outlets have reported that UT’s search committee became torn over Hart’s selection.

On paper, Hart appears to be a solid hire for the Vols.  He served as East Carolina’s AD for 12 years before moving to Florida State for 12 more years.  Pushed out after a power struggle with FSU president TK Wetherell, Hart landed back at Alabama where he played basketball in the late-60s and early-70s.

In reality, Hart will now have to win over some fans whose blood runs so orange that it clouds their decision-making.  If a man is the best hire for a job, where he went to school shouldn’t matter.  In fact, if his hire hurts a rival, that should probably be viewed as a positive.

But then again, there are a few UT fans who’ve taken to talk shows and messageboards to suggest that Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek — who moved to UT from Florida — is undercutting the Vol program from the inside as part of a UF conspiracy.

Hopefully sanity will prevail in Hart’s case.

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Conflicting Stories On UT’s “Offer” To Bama’s Hart

And let the spinning begin.

Radio reports from Tennessee and Alabama claimed early this afternoon that the UT athletic director’s post had been offered to Dave Hart, the Crimson Tide’s executive director of athletics.

The Associated Press has since confirmed those reports
through “a person familiar with the situation.”

Ah, but The Knoxville News Sentinel has heard a different story.  Andrew Gribble writes that UT officials have talked with Hart, “but they have yet to offer him the job of vice chancellor of athletics,” according to “a source with the direct knowledge of the search.”

Before offering its job to LSU’s Joe Alleva — who eventually spurned the Vols for a bigger cash package in Baton Rouge — it was reported that Tennessee had offered or was prepared to offer Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich it’s AD gig.

When Radakovich and Tech were surprisingly slapped around by the NCAA, the news leaked of UT’s efforts to hire him and the Volunteer administration was left with a bit of egg on the ol’ face.

However, a high-ranking UT source has told that Tennessee’s chancellor never spoke with or met with Radakovich.  Their point: UT might have liked the Tech AD, but reports of an offer were blown far out of proportion.

With that as background, it’s likely that some people at Tennessee are now trying to put the brakes on talk that the school has already offered its job to Hart… just in case Hart turns UT down.

While we still believe Hart would be an outstanding hire for Tennessee, it seems like a bit of a longshot that the Alabama grad would leave his alma mater when 71-year-old Mal Moore could step down at any time.

The fact that he’s mulling over the situation seems to suggest that he’s angling for a raise in Tuscaloosa or a definitive retirement date from Moore.

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Reports: UT offers Bama’s Hart AD Job

Reports out of Tennessee and Alabama are claiming that Tennessee has offered Alabama executive director of athletics Dave Hart the AD position in Knoxville.  No word on whether Hart has accepted the offer or not.

Hart served as the athletic director at East Carolina and Florida State before becoming Mal Moore’s heir apparent in Tuscaloosa in July of 2008.  Hart played basketball for the Tide under CM Newton in the late-60s, early-70s.  In 2009, he was given the title of “chief operating officer” for the entire Alabama athletics department.  At that point, Hart was to handle the day-to-day operations while Moore focused on fundraising and “facility enhancements.”

To leave, Hart would have to walk away from his alma mater, which could be tough.  Especially knowing that Moore is 71-years-old.  Hart could leave for Knoxville today only to see Moore retire in six months or a year.

From a Tennessee perspective, Hart would seem to be a very solid hire.  His 12 years at FSU coupled with his most recent stint at Bama certainly give him big-time BCS experience at a pair of major programs.

But if Hart says no and is convince to stay on in Tuscaloosa, then UT will have been turned down by two in-conference candidates in the past month.  LSU’s Joe Alleva flirted with the Vols before deciding to stay in Baton Rouge for a pay raise.

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Bama A.D. Talks T-Town Menswear

Speaking to a booster club in Scottboro, Alabama last night, Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore addressed the T-Town Menswear story/scandal that doesn’t seem to be going away:

“The university has responded to this maybe six months ago.  Meeting with the store owner, his attorney, our players, everybody that we could find that was involved.  Our compliance people, Mike Ward, his people, have done an outstanding job with this.  It was responded to properly.

There are so many people so excited over college athletics, you have to school and coach your players regarding all this.  It’s just as important for our alumni and our fans to be knowledgeable (about) what they can and can’t do.”

Moore talks of response and schooling, but even if Alabama responded immediately and correctly and educated its players after-the-fact, the school could still face possible NCAA sanctions for any rule violations that led to said response and schooling.

Just as we at aren’t going to look at a Facebook photo, assume someone’s sportcoat was a gift from a booster, and declare a program to be dirty because of it… we also aren’t going to accept Moore’s statement as fact without a bit more information with which to make a judgement. 

And we think the NCAA will probably take a similar approach.

Now, investigators might find evidence of wrongdoing or they might not.  But we will be surprised if NCAA officials don’t at least ask a couple of questions about what exactly Alabama compliance personnel found and why exactly they disassociated Tom Al Betar from their program.

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Alabama Releases Statement On The Passing Of Aaron Douglas

The University of Alabama has released a statement on the passing of offensive lineman Aaron Douglas.

Alabama athletic director Mal Moore and football coach Nick Saban both issued statements in the release.

“It is with tremendous sadness that we received the news of the passing of Aaron Douglas,” Moore said. “Our prayers and sympathies are with the Douglas family at this tragic time.”

“It is a tragedy anytime you lose someone close to you and even more so when it is a member of your family,” Saban said in the release. “Aaron was a part of our family and always will be a part of our family at Alabama. He was an outstanding young man and we were excited about what he had accomplished as a player and a person in the short time he was with us.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, David and Karla, who are two of the best people you will ever meet and the love they had for their son was something very special. As a father, there is nothing we can say to describe the loss of a son. Our Alabama family has sustained a tragic loss and the Alabama family is grieving that loss. We will be here to support Aaron’s family in any way we can.”

Alabama stated that no further details regarding the passing of Douglas are available at this time.

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