TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Officials from the University of Alabama appeared before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions last month in San Diego to discuss violations in regard to the 2007 textbook scandal that resulted in the suspensions of five Bama football players.
Offensive linemen Marlon Davis and Antoine Caldwell, tailback Glen Coffee and defensive backs Marquis Johnson and Chris Rogers were each suspended four games in the 2007 season because of a violation of “institutional policy involving impermissible receipt of textbooks.”
Alabama self-reported the violations and according to the school, “appropriately kept the NCAA and SEC apprised of its internal investigation, findings and corrective actions. The University’s appearance before the committee is part of the NCAA’s normal investigative and review process.”
University of Alabama President Dr. Robert Witt released a statement Thursday regarding the scandal.
“Compliance with NCAA and SEC rules is of the utmost importance to The University of Alabama and our Athletics Department,” Witt said.
“I am pleased with the way our compliance officers handled this situation. UA works diligently to ensure that integrity and a commitment to excellence are the hallmarks of our athletics program, and we appreciate the support we received from Commissioner Slive and the SEC, and officials at the NCAA.”
Saban on Andre Smith
A little less than two weeks ago Andre Smith’s abrupt departure from the NFL combine became the topic de jour in the media and brought the former Alabama All-American a wealth of unwanted attention.
After arriving in Indianapolis for the combine, Smith said he was undecided on whether or not he would work out but left before things officially got underway. The fallout that ensued resulted in Smith’s rapid descent down NFL draft boards and left many questioning his work ethic and desire. All told it may have cost the former standout left tackle anywhere from $15 to $20 million in signing bonuses.
Since then Smith has kept a low profile. He made his first public appearance since the combine on Tuesday at the Alabama-Auburn basketball game where he participated in the Iron Bowl trophy presentation. He is expected to showcase his talents for a myriad of NFL scouts on March 11 when Alabama holds its pro day.
On Wednesday, Tide coach Nick Saban spoke about Smith publicly for the first time since the combine incident.
“I talk to Andre quite a bit,” Saban said. “I tried to give him as much positive feedback, relative to what he needs to be doing and how important it is to have good people around him right now that are giving him information about what he should and shouldn’t do.”
Saban, who sat courtside with Smith for the first half of Tuesday night’s basketball game, said he encouraged each of his former Crimson Tide players invited to the combine to participate as opposed to just taking part in Pro Day.
“I’m not a proponent of not doing anything,” Saban said. “If you’ve got a Pro Day coming up, you have a chance to improve what you did at the combine or be satisfied with what you did at the combine. Backing up all the stuff, plus the league has all this stuff, so they can see what you can do.”
The Alabama football team was originally set to begin spring practice March 23 but moved the date up to March 13 and scratched the April 11 practice date in order to accommodate Easter.
“The way we arrived at that was, we always practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday,” Saban said. “And I’m always a little bit sensitive about Easter. We were kind of backed up between getting ready to go spring recruiting, so the only way to do the odd day out was to have it before or after. We decided to have it before. And really, those first two days in helmets are teaching days anyway, so it’s not bad to have a day under our belt.”