Thursday, March 05, 2009

Preliminary Letter Of Inquiry at Alabama

The mid-2007 "Textbookgate" story at Alabama has been considered old news since five UAT players were suspended for the second half of that season and eventually reinstated just in time for that year's Auburn game. The story broke open again around 11AM today, when Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News reported online,
Representatives of the University of Alabama met with the NCAA Committee on Infractions last month to address allegations concerning the textbook violations which sidelined five football players in the 2007 season, The News has learned.

The meeting took place in San Diego on February 20, 2009. The two specific NCAA allegations, which were sent in a letter to UA President Dr. Robert Witt, last May, state that an unspecified number of UA student-athletes obtained impermissible textbooks and supplies beginning in “at least the 2005-06 academic year and continuing through the fall of 2007.” Furthermore, the letter alleges that “the scope and nature of the allegations” demonstrate a "failure to monitor the student-athlete textbook distribution system."

Along with Hurt's story, a sidebar has been posted containing pertinent documents, most notably including this Preliminary Letter Of Inquiry (labeled as a "Notice of allegations"; per ESPN, the two names are interchangable in NCAA parlance). The existence of this letter, dated May 8, 2008, has been successfully kept under wraps by UAT until today.

Among other things, the mildly-redacted PLOI charges UAT with Failure To Monitor (page 6), which is basically the second most serious charge in the NCAA rulebook, behind the dreaded Failure Of Institutional Control.

Contrary to everything you've read in the media to date, the NCAA considers this is a major violations case (page 4). According to the letter, UAT has requested and been denied summary disposition (top of page 3).

In short, this story is much more serious than the UAT administration, athletic department, and the media in Alabama have ever let on.

UPDATE: Here's something I missed when first reading over the NCAA letter. From page 6, detailing the first of two allegations, in this case a potential violation of Bylaw
It is alleged that beginning at least in the 2005-06 academic year and continuing through the fall of 2007, the institution's textbook distribution system allowed [section redacted] different student athletes to obtain impermissible textbooks and supplies, with a total value of [redacted].

This is possibly the most significant section of the entire PLOI, since it places the violations within the five-year Repeat Offender window. Alabama's last bout of NCAA probation began on February 1, 2002, and lasted through February 1 of 2007. Any violations during calendar 2006 would fall within the repeat offender window. This would make Alabama a three-time repeat offender, as the Albert Means probation was itself a repeat-offender case.


tigerbuckeye said...

Good. bammer has to cheat to win, and they know it.

wjlanesr said...

That they didn't get summary judgement (disposition), and that the allegation is lack of institutional monitoring....I think you are right...this ain't going away and can't be swept under the rug.

Aubtigerman said...

Bama folks like to brag on their history. Now they can add that they lead the SEC in coaching changes,DUI's, armed robbery, and NCAA sanctions for the last 15 years.