Alabama tornado update: Crimson Tide long snapper Carson Tinker's condition improves

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerApril 30, 2011 

After the second full day of clean up in Tuscaloosa almost every University of Alabama athlete has left the tornado ravaged town.

A UA spokesman confirmed all student-athletes have been located and only football player Carson Tinker was known to be injured. The long snapper’s condition improved Friday after being thrown from his house during Wednesday’s tornado that killed his girlfriend, Ashley Harrison of Dallas.

For all athletes besides those still competing in spring sports, there wasn’t much more that could be done in Tuscaloosa by Friday evening. All classes and final exams were cancelled and students were encouraged to return home, according to published reports. Power is still out in most of the city and resources are scarce.

Despite spotty phone coverage, the school worked to assist student-athletes whose homes were destroyed by the storm. Dubbed the “Katrina waiver” since it was first used after athletes in New Orleans experienced major property damage in the 2005 hurricane, the rule allows schools to lend a hand without violating NCAA extra benefit rules.

The Twitter.com page of Alabama’s athletic compliance office reported it began the official process on Friday morning.

“Filed an SEC waiver composed on an iphone at 10:00 pm last night. Had an answer helping our student-athletes by 10:15. Great conference,” it posted.

By Friday evening, it had an update after hearing from the NCAA.

“Some things are outside the scope of NCAA legislation. Take care of needs of student-athletes affected by tragedy,” read the update posed Friday evening.

UA spokesman Doug Walker could not confirm the action Friday evening and the SEC did not return an email requesting information.

Others within the department are taking action to support the community as a whole.

Men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant set up a fund to aid victims at the Bryant Bank location at 1150 McFarland Blvd., close to the part of town that experienced the greatest damage.

Student-athletes who left Tuscaloosa and returned home also took to Twitter on Friday.

“Finally in KC. Blessed to be home,” tweeted basketball player Trevor Releford from Kansas. “And still praying for the city of Tuscaloosa. I already miss it!!!”

Football player Barrett Jones was back home in Memphis when he posted.

“Its been 48 hours, but I still can’t shake that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach after seeing the devastation. #prayfortuscaloosa.”

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