Alabama notes: Tide's legal bills for NCAA scandal top $180,000

sports@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 25, 2010 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The final legal bill is in now that Alabama’s NCAA textbook case has met its conclusion.

University spokesperson Deborah Lane said the school spent more than $180,000 on lawyers who helped present Alabama’s case that officially ended yesterday. The NCAA’s Infractions Appeals Committee denied the school’s final appeal Tuesday as the Crimson Tide sought a reversal of the sanctions involving the vacation of 21 football wins from 2005-07.

In all, Alabama paid the Kansas-based law firm of Bond Schoeneck & King $165,972.50 in fees and $22,470.12 in expenses involved in assisting the university. The grand total paid out was $188,442.62.

There were zero state dollars spent in the case as all money spent on the school’s defense came from the athletic department account.

Since NCAA rules allow no further appeals, the case appears shut for now.

Tide coach Nick Saban weighed in on the failed appeal Wednesday evening.

“Even though it’s disappointing, it still affects nothing in the future,” he said.

Full pads

After two practices in just helmets and shoulder pads, Alabama players threw on full pads for the first time this spring when heading outdoors on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

“It has been quite a long time since they have had pads on,” Saban said. “It is always a difficult adjustment for the players to carry their pads and go through their first practice.”

There were a few notable players who practiced and a few who did not.

Rising sophomore running back Trent Richardson strained a hamstring in Monday’s practice so his participation was limited Wednesday.

Dre Kirkpatrick, a serious contender to start at cornerback in the fall, was back after missing Monday’s practice because of a death in the family.

McKeller on medical scholarship

Offensive lineman Darius McKeller’s Alabama career is officially over before it started. He’ll go on a medical scholarship after suffering “a traumatic wrist injury,” Saban said.

After several surgeries, the medical staff did not feel comfortable with allowing him to play further.

“Our medical staff thought that he’d be at severe risk if he injured it again, especially with his position on the offensive line,” Saban said. “He was able to play, but they’d not be able to fix it if they had to fix it again.”

The medical scholarship allows him to stay in school without playing football but not count against the 85-scholarship limit set by the NCAA.

McKeller signed with Alabama in 2009 and grayshirted last fall — deferring enrollment until January. Coming out of high school, he was a three-star recruit according to Scout.com that ranked him the 43rd best offensive guard in the nation.

Awards keep coming for Ingram

Award season never ends if you’re Mark Ingram.

The Tide junior to be and reigning Heisman Trophy winner was named one of 14 semifinalists for the Sullivan Award on Wednesday. Presented by the AAU for the past 80 years, the Sullivan Award honors the nation’s best amateur athlete.

Only five football players have won the award in its eight decades of existence. Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was the most recent winner in 2007 preceded by Tennessee’s Payton Manning in 1997.

Finalists will be named April 2 and the award ceremony is set for April 14 in New York City.

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