January 17th, 2014 01:30 PM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: Al Betar, Alabama, NCAA, Tom Al Betar
On Thursday, the website OutkickTheCoverage.com took the lid off the ol’ “T-Town Menswear” story again. The Tuscaloosa store has become well known for selling autographed memorabilia from Alabama football players. The Tide fan who owns the store — Tom Al-Betar — has already been disassociated from the Bama football program and asked not to obtain any memorabilia, autographs or autographed memorabilia from current Crimson Tide football players.
Ah, but a look at his store shows autographed jerseys by Amari Cooper and TJ Yeldon for sale. They are current members of the Alabama football team. Whoops.
“When people graduate they (sign). When they are in school nobody’s in here…
This is ridiculous. There is nothing to worry about.”
According to Al-Betar, people get signatures from players during Alabama’s “Fan Day” and then bring the stuff in to T-Town Menswear. Photographs of current players in the store and of memorabilia bearing current players’ signatures suggest otherwise.
Alabama AD Bill Battle offered this response:
“We are aware of the story produced today. As part of our ongoing compliance efforts, our compliance department looks into everything that warrants concern. That effort is diligent and all-encompassing, and requires constant communication and education regarding all potential issues.”
Our thoughts? OK. First, Al-Betar must not be a very bright guy. If you post photos on your store’s Facebook page showing items bearing current players’ signatures you’re not exactly keeping a low profile.
Second, if the University of Alabama wants to prevent this — and that’s questionable seeing how their football players keep finding their way into Al-Betar’s store — it needs to get serious with Tide players. Like this: “We find one photo or one autograph that places you in that store and you’ll sit for three games.” That would end the T-Town Menswear connection lickety-split. If — again if — Alabama isn’t using this as a way for its players to get a little sump’m sump’m under the table (or above the table thanks to the dimwittedness of Al-Betar).
Third, don’t expect very much to come of this. The NCAA handed Johnny Manziel a half-game suspension to start last season. As we stated at the time, the NCAA was setting a precedent. From that point forward, the NCAA can simply hand out first-half suspensions whenever things like this comes up.
The Crimson Tide open with West Virginia in the Georgia Dome on August 30th. They may be short in numbers for the first half of that game. All because one Bama fan, several Bama players, and the Bama administration don’t seem to really understand what the word “disassociate” means.
Alabama — along with Mississippi State and Tennessee — still awaits word from the NCAA regarding a Yahoo! Sports story last year that claimed players at each school received illegal benefits from agents and runners for agents. It’s becoming pretty obvious post-Miami investigation that the NCAA is throwing up its hands more often when it comes to athletic scandals.
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