July 28th, 2011 10:45 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama
Tags: Clay Travis, NCAA, OKTC, SEC
The good folks at OutkickTheCoverage.com and SportsByBrooks.com aren’t letting the T-Town Menswear story drift into the backpages of the internet. Both have posted new info on the maybe-it-is/maybe-it-isn’t scandal in the past 24 hours.
First… OKTC reports that they have photographic evidence that there were “autographed jerseys from current players at multiple locations.” And those jerseys were for sale, which suggests either a) the players might have been rewarded in some way for their signatures or b) the players were helping a business promote itself. Case a) would be a violation of NCAA rules and case b) could be viewed as a violation.
The site also takes issue with the idea that Bama’s players didn’t know their signatures were being sold:
“… Would any reasonable person with even a smidge of intelligence not notice if they signed a jersey for T-Town Menswear one day and the next day or shortly thereafter it was for sale at a kiosk in the same mall? Then, if after seeing this you went back and continued to sign autographs, would you lose all ability to play the “I didn’t know,” defense?
I think so. And I think the NCAA will agree with me.”
The site adds this as well:
“So (Tuesday’s) announcement (from UA) was a bombshell. A very bad bombshell for the Crimson Tide program. Prior to now Alabama had been trying to hide the fact that it had been compelled to disassociate (store owner Tom) Albetar. Now we all know. And so does the NCAA.
Good luck with that.”
I find it odd that an SEC fan is rejoicing so in the possible downfall of an SEC team. Clay Travis — the author of the story — is a Tennessee fan. He makes that clear in this “manifesto” that explains exactly what his site is all about.
If you’re an SEC fan — you listening Bama and Auburn-backers — the downfall of a rival program only hurts the league. If a school is out buying players and handing out car keys to recruits, fine, take ‘em down. But these kinds of shenanigans can be found at major schools all across the country. If Alabama or Auburn or another SEC program gets taken to the woodshed to the point that its banned from television — unlikely but possible — then CBS and ESPN would likely have the ability to rework their contracts with the SEC.
“Hooray, we brought down Bama! And cost our favorite school millions in the process.”
And if the NCAA hammer falls on one SEC school, the reputation of all SEC schools will suffer. You better believe that one. Who knows what that would do for the votes of pollsters? If too many people view the SEC as dirty, it could cost an SEC team a BCS title shot somewhere down the road. Just something to think about before you email your favorite scandal-driven website photos of Nick Saban or Gene Chizik shaking hands with Muammar Gaddafi.
Now, someone will no doubt claim that we’re saying a true SEC fan would ignore or cover these types of stories up. Not so. We at MrSEC.com just don’t understand the pure joy some folks get from ripping down a rival program.
Meanwhile, on the site SportsByBrooks, a photo showing Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson is posted today. He’s wearing a red jacket while signing a framed print of Alabama football players. The site’s headline: “Why is Richardson Signing With a Suit Jacket On?” The clear inference being that Richardson is wearing a coat given to him in exchange for signing merchandise.
Seems like a bit of a leap to us. In fact, this just looks like another photo dump. As was the case with much of the “evidence” against Cam Newton and Auburn, the word “circumstantial” keeps popping into our heads.
Sure these photos and this situation looks bad for Alabama. For that matter, it looked like Casey Anthony had killed her daughter. But no one could prove it. And so far, we’ve seen no proof of any type of payment going from Albetar to Bama players. Just as we saw no hard evidence of Auburn paying the Newtons a single dime.
What you and I think — and what OutkickTheCoverage and SportsByBrooks post — won’t matter to the NCAA. They’ll be looking for proof, evidence, and a smoking gun. If they don’t find it, T-Town Menswear might disappear quicker than Scott Moore’s tapes (which I’m still told via email “are going to come out”). In Moore’s case, we said “produce the tapes.” Now we say, produce the proof.
Until that happens, this is just more “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” traffic-generation from a couple of very well-run sites.
The questions raised by their photo dumps need to be answered by someone at this point. Only it won’t be OutkickTheCoverage, SportsByBrooks, MrSEC.com, ILoveBama.net, or ImABarner.org that Tide officials will be answering to. It will most likely be NCAA investigators.
With as much pub as this story has gotten in the past week, it’s hard to imagine NCAA officials won’t drop by Tuscaloosa for a quick Q&A at some point.
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