If Bama doesn’t clean up, it can say goodbye to Saban

 

I can read sign language. Nick Saban: "Back off people or I am so gone." (AP photo)

Hey, it's cool. I can read sign language. Nick Saban is saying, "Back off Bama boosters or I am so gone, so fast." (AP photo)

Let’s start with the obvious at Alabama.

There was no academic fraud. There was no cash exchanged between a coach and a player or a booster and a recruit. And nobody representing the university snuck an outside linebacker onto the roster with a swimming scholarship, so help me Bear Bryant.

So really, obtaining and distributing free textbooks barely cracks the school’s NCAA violation depth chart.

  But somebody had better wake up in Tuscaloosa — Nick Saban will be gone before lunch tomorrow.

  Saban might be the best coach in the SEC (I say might because I figure that debate’s for another blog.) He wins. He doesn’t cheat. He’s in demand. The fact he’s a liar is just a byproduct of that because, well, he can get away with it.

The point is, Nick Saban doesn’t need Alabama. It’s the other way around.

But as much as everybody wants to classify athletes getting free textbooks for friends as some trivial no-no, this is the fourth time in 14 years the Tide is in violation of NCAA rules: 1995, 1999, 2002, 2009.

Saban isn’t sticking around if this doesn’t stop. He doesn’t need this. He can have almost any job (save the Miami Dolphins). The problem is, he’s at Alabama, where coloring outside the lines has been pervasive for decades. What’s the chance the place suddenly turns into Rice?

Something will happen. Something always does at Alabama. It’s why I just don’t see Saban sticking around long term.

I’ve got two questions for anybody who considers this NCAA matter trivial:

1) It was found that 201 student-athletes in 16 sports obtained free textbooks for friends. Do you really believe that all 201 student-athletes did this out of sheer friendship and nobody received compensation in return?

2) If 201 student-athletes in 16 sports spread across campus were doing this, how plausible is it that not one single coach, official, teacher, administrator or ballboy knew about this?

See how quickly something “minor” becomes major?

Alabama officials almost gloated in 2007 when the football program finally was clear of probation. That’s when Saban was hired. In his second season, he led the Tide to a 12-0 regular season record, before losing to Florida in the SEC title game and Utah in the Sugar Bowl.

But now the school is on three years probation and must vacate 21 victories between 2005 and 2007. Some of those came under Saban.

That will forever be on his resume. You think that’s not on his mind? You think he needs this? 

110 comments Add your comment

Nachos

June 12th, 2009
7:44 am

your such a douche Schultz. next time do a little research before you write an article baldy.

Steve

June 12th, 2009
7:44 am

As a lifetime Tide fan I hope they get their act together over there, I’d hate to see anything upset the potential this team has under Saban. I don’t think he’s leaving, I think he knows he has a shot at a national title. Look what he did last year when he wasn’t expected to be number 1, even if the Tide did lose to Florida and Utah, they exceeded everyones expectations. I hate seeing any SEC in any sort of sanction trouble. ROLL TIDE !!!!!!!!!

Pete the Great

June 12th, 2009
7:46 am

Saban does not cheat? LOL at Jeff Schultz, you really have no clue do you? Do you know how many times that SEC coaches have turned in Saban to the league office and NO ONE has even followed up on any of these issues?

Tracey

June 12th, 2009
7:49 am

Well actually, the report from the NCAA singles out individual student atheletes who did in fact make money off of this scheme. Perhaps you should have read the report before you accuse all 201 of the atheletes of making a profit.

Yes, they singled out between 5 to 10 atheletes who made around $4K+ on this plan, but the report from the NCAA indicated that the greatest majority of these 201 atheletes made no money and were only doing favors for friends and most didn’t even know this was an NCAA infraction.

Read the report.

Cuz

June 12th, 2009
7:55 am

Well he is Saint Nick. I wonder if that job at East Pennsylvannia State is still open? Go Fighting Amish.

Jeff Schultz

June 12th, 2009
8:05 am

NACHOS: Nice language. Really shows your ability to debate.

STEVE: Good post.

PETE: I’m not going to call Saban pristine because nobody’s pristine. But as far as I know he’s never been connected to anything or gotten a school on probation. If I’m wrong, I’d love to know. As far as “everybody turning in Saban but nobody following up”: Alabama isn’t exactly on the NCAA’s best-pal list. If they had a hint of something, trust me, they’d pursue it with an army.

TRACEY: I don’t believe I wrote all 201 sold their books, did I? What I wrote was: are we to believe all 201 did this only out of friendship. … As far as kids knowing this wasn’t an NCAA violation — come on. Athletes get free books and pass them to others and you think they really believe there’s nothing wrong with it? Look, I’m not saying this is a major violation on the scale of paying athletes. But kids aren’t THAT dumb. Of course they knew it was wrong.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
8:09 am

Jeff usually you write one of the better articles but, Saban is around unless Bama is forced to give up scholarships. Also for the Bammers, I am a UGA fan that has family ties to Auburn as well.

Saban does not need Bama but how many colleges will pay him the cash Bama does, give him the control over the program he has, and has the facilities and name to recruit that Bama has?

A VERY short list of schools exist that can do that and they all have good or new coaches. If you are asking, ND is not on that list of school that fits the qualifications.

If Saban wins a BCS title or two he will be worshiped in T-town as the man who lead Bama out of the desert. What better way to feed his ego?

lakerat

June 12th, 2009
8:13 am

Yes, Tracey, YOU are the one who needs to READ before writing. Jeff did not indict all 201; as he responded, he only said “are we to believe all 201 did this only out of friendship” – that in no way says that everybody made money, and YOU confirmed his suggestion that some kids DID make money with YOUR reporting of the 5 – 10 who made the $4K+. Next time, comprehend BEFORE you retort!

Jeff

June 12th, 2009
8:26 am

Personally, and this may be due to the fact that I wear Crimson-colored glasses. The textbook incident could have happened at any school, and probably has. The fact of the matter is that Alabama self-reported and took disciplinary action. I think the consequences imposed by the NCAA was fair and I think the university is finally learning not to ignore the NCAA rules.

As far as Saban leaving, I think that’s just wishful thinking on the part of our boderline foes. Especiially Georgia and Georgia Tech, as it appears that we reach in to the state and snag whomever we want.

CrimsonRedScarlett

June 12th, 2009
8:37 am

Has anyone pointed out that most of the violations over the years have occurred with Mal Moore supposedly in charge? Schools need professionals as athletic directors.

rolltide21

June 12th, 2009
8:39 am

First off, let me establish that I am currently a student at Alabama. Second, I think the infractions and consequences our teams have received are fair and deserved. However- for the sake of discussion, I have a slightly different take on the actual textbook scandal. Last semester alone I spent $989 on textbooks (Yes, I am a biology major so my books are somewhat thick..and heavy, might I add!) Now multiply that by 6 previous semesters and, well, you get the picture. TEXTBOOKS ARE NOT CHEAP. This being said, I can see how many athletes would justify getting books for friends, with or without compensation. I also can see how the textbook-receiving students (and their parents’ pockets) would justify their knowingly putting student-athletes in a murky area of NCAA rules. Was it wrong? Yes. Are there things that Coach Saban should be more concerned about, given Bama’s somewhat sketchy past? Yes. In my opinion, this ranks on the lower half of the NCAA rule totem pole. But that’s just my opinion.

Jeff Schultz

June 12th, 2009
8:57 am

CRIMSONREDSCARLETT: I go even higher than ADs. I think school presidents need to take the hit sometimes.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
9:00 am

Rolltide21, I agree and IMO the penalty is rather harsh. The NCAA should be pushing to make a decision on USC but some schools are favored and others aren’t.

Pete the Large Mouth

June 12th, 2009
9:04 am

Pete the Great

You spout some serious accusations. How many times have SEC coaches turned in Saban?

Gene

June 12th, 2009
9:22 am

As a college professor, I consider this violation just another aspect of athletic departments acting as if the university exists for athletics and not the other way around. Many univeristy presidents, and Michael Adams is the prototype, are politicians and not educators. These false educators pander to coaches and alumni because of the huge amounts revenue that, primarily, football generates. I don’t understand exactly what was going on at Alabama, but if athletes were selling their own books, they obviously didn’t intend on using them in their classes.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
9:27 am

Adams pander to athletics? If he did the WLOCP would not be such a big deal and students/profs would have the days off as in the past.

Gene you can have your view tinted by your prof peers but book are a ripoff and for once athletes were trying to help someone make grades and not get a free pass in the class room. The book store lost some money…big deal with all the money the football program makes the school.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
9:31 am

Gene from what I understand they were getting extra books for their friends:

Of the 201 student-athletes that received impermissible benefits, 22 were identified by the university as “intentional wrongdoers,” as they were aware they received improper benefits. These student-athletes – 14 of whom were members of the men’s and women’s track and field programs – exploited the university’s textbook distribution system for scholarship student-athletes to acquire textbooks and materials of value greater than $100 for girlfriends, friends and other student-athletes.

The value of the impermissible benefits obtained by these intentional wrongdoers ranged from a low of $32.30 by a women’s track student-athlete to a high of $3,947.19 by a football student-athlete. The committee noted that the four highest amounts, ranging from $2,714.62 to $3,947.19, were obtained by football student-athletes.

The second type of infraction involved student-athletes who unintentionally received the impermissible use of non-required textbooks and materials. Among the student-athletes who unintentionally violated NCAA rules, about 125 received benefits that totaled less than $100 each.

http://blog.al.com/rapsheet/2009/06/ncaa_releases_its_report_on_al.html

Utah fans LOVE Nachos

June 12th, 2009
9:36 am

Hey Nachos, nice fire bomb. What a joke of a post – starting out with name calling. Yeah yeah, I know, your dad can whip my dad. You trash Schultz for not doing his homework. Homework on what??

21-0 at the end of the FIRST QUARTER!!

Old Dawg

June 12th, 2009
9:37 am

Like I’ve always said: There’s reality, and then there’s Alabama. Adding to that note, until the school receives the death penalty, none of the fans and administration of Alabama will get it.

I love the game of college football; it’s the only sport I follow. But when you compare it to all aspects of life, it’s just a game.

BAMAPERRY

June 12th, 2009
9:39 am

No player profited on the books, they loaned them to friends, and there were only 22 of them, 7 in football. If you don’t return a book at the end of the semester, you have to pay for it. This is the first problem that Bama has had since 2000 during the DumBose era, and it’s hardly “cheating”. Mal Moore came in as AD in late November of 1999 and fired DumBose less than a year later. I wouldn’t say it’s all his fau;t. Saban will retire at Bama.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
9:46 am

Old Dawg, the infraction was IMO rather its not like the athletes were paid, had an agent or were given a car or free shoes.

The Book Store failed to monitor who they were giving books to and athletes picked up books for their friends. To which I say big deal. If they look hard enough I’m sure they can find something this bad in just about any Top 25 program. As a UGA fan I’m not calling out Bama on this one.

The rules violation was reported as a secondary violation. Ohio St leads the country in secondary violations and gets nothing even after their QB was given money and later wins a national title, yet they get nothing. Bush over at USC may have been given a HOUSE for his parents but… we hear nothing. Bama gives text books to athletes friends and they get NCAA headlines. As a UGA fan I don’t want the NCAA sniffing around the SEC backyard. It is obvious who the NCAA lets slide and who they pick on.

Utah fans LOVE Nachos Sucks

June 12th, 2009
9:55 am

31-0 at the end of the first half. You only wear black to a m….f…. funeral!!!!

Tide rising

June 12th, 2009
9:57 am

Jeff,

Only 17 of the athletes were intentionally gaming the system. The rest of the athletes were getting materials for classes that were “recommended” by the professor but not ‘required”. The bookstore mistakenly was issuing these recommended course materials because of poor training on Alabama’s part. They thought naturally as most people would think that the NCAA would want students to have the recommended course materials in addition to the required materials in order to excel in the classroom.

The assertion that 201 athletes were intentionally gaming the system is absurd and I’m surprised that you missed this discrepancy. This is where the overwhelming number of athletes and violations comes from.

A recommended supplement would be something like getting a copy of Moby Dick that an English Literature professor recommends for his class but does not require it. Or someone getting a protractor for a math class. In one instance one of these supplemental items recommended but not required was 30 cents and resulted in a violation. It was probably a blank cd that the professor recommended.

As for Saban they’ve been saying that he would be gone the next year for 3 years now. His NFL bridges are burned, few if any schools would be willing to shell out the kind of money Bama is paying him, he’s in his late 50s now and has been talking about looking forward to retirement, and why on earth would anyone want to hire him for yet another stint of 5 years or less if he were to jump yet again? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Anyway, thanks for the article but I think you could have done a better job of clarifying how and why the majority of these violations were unintentional via the recommended but not required rule and thus the large scope of athletes involved. You simply shouldn’t have just assumed that all of these athletes knew they were breaking the rules and this is simply not the case.

mr. mike

June 12th, 2009
9:57 am

Nice, unbiased analysis, Jeff.
Nachos; I don’t know what to say; except typical football fan, I suppose.
-Your should be You’re.
-”N” should be capitalized in “next”.
-There is no such word as “baldy”. Perhaps you meant “badly”? Perhaps it was just a gratuitous insult to the article’s author?
You are a fool, amigo.

Rocky

June 12th, 2009
10:04 am

One thing that has not been mentioned yet. Alabama coach Nick Saban suspended the guilty players 4 games in 2006 at a time they were undefeated. They went on to lose 4 games, including to Louisiana Monroe. Jeff, next time please do a little better homework showing Alabama did not take this lightly and reported it. This suspension was HUGE at the time and a promising season went sour. Was this not enough penalty for a few players actions to punish a whole team already?

Otto

June 12th, 2009
10:04 am

Tide Rising I agree and everyone should read some over on AL.com into the details before drawing their conclusions. The article below is a start:

http://blog.al.com/rapsheet/2009/06/ncaa_releases_its_report_on_al.html

mr. mike. there is, too,...

June 12th, 2009
10:04 am

…such a word as “baldy”; as in, Jeff’s Shultz’s nickname is “Baldy”!

BAMAPERRY

June 12th, 2009
10:05 am

Cecil Hurt put it best, disappointing:

“But what is most disappointing, perhaps, is the core of the “failure to monitor” violation. There was nothing evil at work, or at least nothing more evil than bureaucratic myopia and, perhaps, a little laziness on the part of UA athletic administrators who are, by the way, still UA athletic administrators. Every month, data came in from the Supply Store. Every month, it went from an administrative assistant (who was only looking for “correct code”) to an assistant athletic director to an associate athletic director, up the chain and out the door, rubber-stamped with no evidence of close scrutiny. Is that the ultimate crime? Not at all. But banality can be just as deadly as villainy. Is that the way to operate when you are (and everyone knows how I hate this phrase) “looking down the barrel of a gun.” Not by a long shot.

So a gap was created. Student-athletes found the hole in the fence and — not surprisingly — clambered through it. That’s not the 80 percent or so of the involved student-athletes who inadvertently accepted supplemental materials. They weren’t trying to scam the system. But the 22 athletes who knew what they were doing was wrong, and did it anyway, bear some responsibility, too. But the hole in the fence should not have been there, not for nearly three years.

Alabama’s compliance efforts in reaction to the situation were praised on all sides. “A tremendous job,” Dee called it. It was not too little, just too late.

It was a day that could have been better. It was a day that could have been worse — a lot worse. But, ultimately, it looks like a day that didn’t have to be — and that, more than anything else, was what was disappointing.”

Tide rising

June 12th, 2009
10:07 am

Old dawg,

Get a grip on “REALITY” and have some freaking perspective. This isn’t about $100 handshakes or boosters buying players or purposeful cheating on the part of the school, coaching staff, or administration.

This is about 17 athletes finding a loophole in the textbook disbursement process and gaming the system in order to get free books to help out friends, girlfriends, etc. Not one player profited, no extra benefit was received, the books were returned at the end of the semester, and no competitive advantage was gained over other programs.

The school discovered the problem, self- reported it, took vigorous investigative action, punished those involved, retrained the bookstore employees, what the hell more do you want? And if you’ll read my post above you will discover that the overwhelming majority of the athletes and violations were unintentional due to the recommended vs required rule.

Mark

June 12th, 2009
10:09 am

Jeff,
You wrote: It was found that 201 student-athletes in 16 sports obtained free textbooks for friends.

You got lazy on this one. Know the facts. 22 of the 201 knowingly stole books for friends. The remaining unknowingly received optional/recommended materials (e.g., study guides) due to bookstore employee confusion and unclear syllabi. Sure, 22 is too many, but it’s far short of 201.

And while I’m here…
I hear “cheaters” used a lot, and maybe the 22 cheated the university out of academic supplies that were not part of their scholarships. If every university reviewed 3 years of their textbook records, do you think they all got it 100% right? I doubt it. Besides, who discovered the problem, and who reported it? Call them lazy or stupid, but please, don’t call the university cheaters.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
10:11 am

Tide Rising, Mark Bradley posted a blog you may want to read. It isn’t linked on the sports front page. You have to go in his past blogs.

Tide rising

June 12th, 2009
10:12 am

Otto,

As usual us disappointed Bama fans appreciate your objectivity and impartiality in looking at this. We still failed to adequately monitor the system and deserve some punishment but when people look back at the whole thing I think most people will realize its about 17 or 22 whatever the number is students who found a loophole in gamed the system to help friends, girlfriends,etc.

And hopefully people will recognize that this wasn’t any sort of wholesale cheating going on involving the coaches, alumni, or administration.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
10:12 am

* It is on the Bama Text books.

Otto

June 12th, 2009
10:13 am

Tide Rising thanks for the compliment

MtnBama

June 12th, 2009
10:13 am

BAMAPERRY, I would love to think that CNS will retire at Bama but if in the next three years we wind up ineligible for post season play or lose scholarships due to the acts of others whom he has no control over then I believe he will leave, in fact I believe he should leave and let us wallow in mediocrity until we learn how to run a big time athletic program that has a bulls eye on it’s back. RTR>

Bama fans everywhere

June 12th, 2009
10:16 am

Nachos,

Shut the hell up. You’re embarrassing to Alabama fans everywhere. Enough about the dang blackout game. Nobody cares anymore. It was a great game on our part but move forward please. And don’t come on here as a Bama fan with such poor grammar and spelling. At least use spell check or have someone proof check your posts.

The Ole Ball Coach

June 12th, 2009
10:24 am

I as a Die hard Dawg fan respects Bama….. so shut your pie hole
Go Dawgs

El Camino

June 12th, 2009
10:31 am

Jeff, are you REALLY only 40 years old ?

I thought you were more like 49-53.

BTW: Saban will be coaching at Notre Dame in 2010 !! – Satan finally rejoins his disciples.

BamaCLT

June 12th, 2009
10:39 am

Schultz, do us all a favor and label your articles as “opinion” before we get suckered into reading another one of these boring, regurgitated “the way I figure it” articles. When you sit down with Saban, and he tells you he’s going to leave, then you have the credibility to validate your title. You know, as well as I know, your opinion is based on a broad blanket of media research, and you’ve obviously dedicated zero time and effort to research this topic properly. Just like every other media moron out there looking for a quick rise in the ranks, your reporting style falls under “sensationalism” and “water cooler.”

Otto

June 12th, 2009
10:58 am

El Camino, Saban goes to ND? Why? ND does not have the recruiting base of Bama or the facilities. ND academic standards are also tougher for athletes. ND will not get Saban or Meyer for the same reasons.

Do you really think Weiss was their first choice? ND does not have the resources to be a BCS power at the moment and these big name coaches will not take the job unless they know ND can be at the same level as their current program.

Black Out 2010

June 12th, 2009
11:01 am

Hey Utah fans LOVE Nachos….

What are you still doing on these Bama blogs? Dont you have anything better to do in Winder? I bet the trailer can use a new coat of paint. Or head up to Wal Mart to pick you up a new THUGA jersey.

It’s best you leave now before I call Nachos Fan and he makes an as* out of you like yesterday.

BamaCLT

June 12th, 2009
11:01 am

No great coach will take on the Notre Dame fiasco until the University grows a pair and joins a conference.

[...] Jeff Schultz channels Orson Swindle to come up with a convincing response. … Alabama officials almost gloated in 2007 when the football program finally was clear of probation. That’s when Saban was hired. In his second season, he led the Tide to a 12-0 regular season record, before losing to Florida in the SEC title game and Utah in the Sugar Bowl. [...]

Good job, Jeff

June 12th, 2009
11:05 am

I realize this is a Bama article, so I shouldn’t be surprised at the misspelling, lack of punctuation and use of language usually seen on a shrimp trawler. Nor should I be surprised at the evident lack of reading skills of a certain blogger named Tracey. But anyone that thinks NS will stay at Bama for more than a few years, even less if the penalties start to descend, is clearly doing meth which is, I hear, plentiful in the fine state of Alabama. Longevity is just not in his DNA. Nacho, I’m guessing you’ll need to look up ‘longevity’.

[...] Alabama.  For that reason, the Crimson Tide athletic program had better clean up its act.I agree.“Saban isn’t sticking around if this doesn’t stop.  He doesn’t need this.  He can have almost any job (save the Miami Dolphins).  The problem [...]

RC

June 12th, 2009
11:27 am

Blahh, Blaah, Blahh. All you Bama Haters are broken hearted that the NCAA didn’t drop the hammer. Get back to your message boards and cook up another conspiracy.
P.S.
I don’t disagree with the point made in the arcticle.

WinderDawg

June 12th, 2009
11:28 am

Once again,the SEC is in the crosshairs of the NCAA. As a Dawg fan and graduate, I hate to see any of the teams in our confrence get in trouble because it shines a bad light on the SEC as a whole.First it was Danny Ford and Jackie Sherrill, now it’s the dumba$$ in Tenn and the fool at Auburn running their soupcoolers. Alabama-i respect your tradition and all but right is right, and wrong is wrong.Keep screwing around and not only will you not have Saint Nick, you will be the next SMU, and we see how well that turned out for them, they still don’t have a team. I know we at UGA have had our fair share of indescretions, but thank god CMR is an above board guy who runs a clean program.I llived in Dallas, TX when SMU got the axe, and everyone in the Southwest Confrence thoght they were too good to get caught, Where are they now? I just hope the SEC gets this BS straightened out before we look as stupid as they did.

your a moron

June 12th, 2009
11:32 am

Enter your comments here Don’t let facts get in your way. 201 athletes did not get free books to give to their friends.

Skillet

June 12th, 2009
11:35 am

LOL…the envy and fear of Bama being full strength again is entertaining. Don’t worry…the cesspool auburn has created will be a lot more fun to talk about. It has to be hard to deliver a hard hitting article on such a trivial incident.

Jack

June 12th, 2009
11:35 am

Jeff, to say that UA has been coloring outside the lines for “decades” is simply not true. The first time UA was ever put on probation was 1995. If you want to rip UA, which is certainly your right, please stick to actual facts.