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Saban Says His Ex-Miami Coaches Passed Background Checks

Nick Saban addressed the Yahoo! Sports investigation into the Miami football program yesterday.  Two recent Tide hires — director of football operations Joe Pannunzio and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland — were implicated in the report and accused of rulebreaking by ex-Canes booster Nick Shapiro.

Saban made it clear that Alabama did background checks on both coaches before hiring them:

“I’m going to address this and that’s it.  All this stuff about Miami, I know nothing about Miami.  I don’t have time to deal with what’s going on in Miami.  I know what goes on in this program and that we do things correctly.  We do have people in this organization who worked (at Miami).  Before those people were ever hired here, we do an NCAA check to make sure that they pass all compliance criteria and don’t have any red flags relative to compliance history, and we certainly did that in both of these cases.

If any of these people had any wrongdoing, I’m sure the NCAA will investigate it in due time and if they did anything wrong, I am sure they’ll get the appropriate punishment, which we would do if we had any internal problems in our organization.  But we’re going to continue to control and manage and monitor what we do in our organization and do it correctly and that’s basically all we can be concerned about.”

This brings us back to a point we made yesterday.  Players can be deemed retroactively ineligible if it’s found that they took illegal benefits in high school or cheated on their standardized tests, for example.  (Ask a Memphis fan and you’ll learn that this can happen even after the NCAA has cleared a player.)  If this happens, a school can be forced to forfeit games for playing an ineligible player… that it didn’t even know was ineligible.

But when it comes to coaches, schools are A-OK as long as the coaches in question haven’t been cheating while in their employ.  We’re not suggesting Alabama, for example, should be docked wins if it’s found Pannunzio or Stoutland cheated while at another program.  It shouldn’t.  But we did want to point out once more that what’s good for the goose isn’t always what’s good for the gander when it comes to the NCAA rulebook.

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