April 18th, 2011 09:09 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Auburn
Tags: Cold War, NCAA, Powers Boothe, Red Dawn
For most of 2011, the website SportsByBrooks.com has been a go-to site for tips, leaks, allegations and accusations about Auburn’s football program. That hasn’t sat well with Tiger fans. But maybe now they’re starting to warm to the site.
You see, since AuburnSports.com’s Jeffery Lee accused an Alabama fan of giving cash and a car to signee Brent Calloway, SportsByBrooks has shifted its focus to the Crimson Tide.
The site’s latest story? Yesterday they posted an official document showing that Harland “Peaches” Winston’s mortgage was paid off on September 4th, 2009. Winston is the adoptive father of Calloway. Lee suggested on his site and on an Alabama radio station that a Tide backer had helped Winston pay off his mortgage. The booster — Darren Woodruff — and Winston have denied that charge. Winston even told a newspaper that his mortgage had been “paid off for 15 years.”
Now who knows how/why his mortgage was paid off in 2009, but Winston’s decision to claim it was paid off in 1996 seems like an odd choice. Especially since documents pertaining to his mortgage are available to the public (and websites like SportsByBrooks).
But here’s the kicker: The site points out that “Winston’s mortgage was paid off in full two months after Calloway first verbally committed to play football at Alabama.”
Perhaps — perhaps, I say — this is just a coincidence. Or perhaps there’s something to this. Winston certainly made it clear when his son changed his commitment from Alabama to Auburn late in the recruiting process that he wasn’t happy with the decision.
“I’m from the old school,” Winston said in January. “When you shake a man’s hand, look him in the eye and make a commitment, you stick to that commitment.” Especially if that man has helped pay off Papa’s mortgage.
Let’s be clear here, there is no proof of any wrongdoing. Not yet anyway. And even if there is some proof out there that Woodruff aided Winston in paying off his mortgage, the NCAA would still need to be convinced that the two men were not long-time buddies. They would have to believe Woodruff helped Winston pay off his mortgage for the purpose of landing Calloway at Alabama, not because Woodruff is Winston’s pal (as has been repeatedly claimed).
So far, no proof. And for the record, we said the same thing umpteen times when covering Auburn’s controversy and the dozens of reports/allegations that have yet to produce a single official NCAA accusation.
If nothing else, however, it seems likely that all of the smoke billowing out of the Heart of Dixie these days will cause the NCAA to send a few sleuths to Tuscaloosa on their days off from Auburn. Considering the two schools’ NCAA track records, its probably not a good thing for them to have investigators digging through their dirty laundry.
Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News posted an excellent column over the weekend explaining how Tiger and Tide fans might eventually tear their favorite programs down via the finger-pointing they’re now doing.
Not surprisingly, the reader responses under the story simply target the messenger for daring to point out the dangers of the land mines that are being laid across the state. We know the feeling. That’s also been the response when we’ve suggested the two fanbases might want to cool it on the accusation front.
Too bad. Because Solomon is correct.
The words of Powers Boothe in the classic 80′s cheesefest, “Red Dawn” are fitting when it comes to the Cold War being waged between many Tide and Tiger backers.
“All that hate’s gonna burn you up, kid.” Only instead of communists, it may be NCAA investigators who start parachuting into Alabama.
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