Category Archives: NCAA

Myth busted! 15-practice rule doesn’t exist!

I know it sounds stupid and you might wonder why it was worth writing this entire story for today’s paper, but this got personal. Here’s the background:

A few weeks back, Alabama announced it was going to open practice for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl on Dec. 16. That got people thinking — myself included. How can they possibly get the full 15 practices in before playing Michigan State?

So I asked an Alabama spokesman what the deal was when he released the practice schedule that included just 13. He said he didn’t think there was a rule.

That was interesting to me since I had always written about a 15-practice limit before bowl games mandated by the NCAA. This “rule” was referenced in all kinds of stories published by many credible news sources. So that’s what I wrote (evidence found here).

But after trading emails with UA and the rule was called into question, I started hunting around. I poured through the NCAA rule book and found no reference to a 15-practice limit. There is also a separate publication from the NCAA specific to bowl games. Still, no rule listed.

That’s when I got frustrated. How can so many reporters — again myself included — write about this rule if it can’t be found. Finally, I wrote to Stacey Osburn, the NCAA spokesperson who deals with infractions. Here’s what she wrote back in response:

“I’m not sure where the media has gotten the number 15 either, because it is not accurate.”

There is, however, a 15-date limit for spring practice. None for bowl prep.

So, there you go. Myth busted. It won’t win me my first Pulitzer, but I felt good about trying to end this trend of lazy reporting — a sin that I was guilty of — along with some of the big shots (who’ll remain nameless).

Alabama football practice opens

Click to view full size

It was already 86 degrees outside when football practices officially began at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Tuscaloosa. That said, water breaks were plentiful during the 15 or so minutes the media was allowed to observe.

The first practice was for returning players only. The new guys will be out there at 7:30 p.m. when the Weather Channel says it will be even hotter at 92 degrees.

There were three different ESPN camera teams on the field this morning focusing mostly on the defensive line, running backs and offensive line.

Marcell Dareus was on the field and in the cameras’ focus quite a bit. Any NCAA eligibility issue would not change his practice status.

The only new face out there appeared to be Dequan Menzie, the JUCO transfer who is back from the April Achilles tendon tear. He was one of five defensive backs working with Nick Saban.

Come back soon for a wealth of videos.

A few links to go with Sunday’s agent story

As promised, here are a few more resources for you to inspect to learn more about the certification of sports agents and the laws that govern them. For a look at the story in Sunday’s paper click here or here.

The Alabama state agent/athlete law (pdf)

The federal agent/athlete law 

Sports Agents Responsibility and Trust Act (federal)

Agents certified by the University of Alabama

University of Alabama compliance/agent regulations

Agents certified to operate in the state of Alabama

A news story from about the EU’s attempt to regulate agents in Europe

TMZ story about Ingram, agent not true says UA

Celebrity gossip site TMZ.com produced the latest chapter in the college athlete/agent scandal, but Alabama officials are saying there is little truth to the story that went up today.

The story beneath the headline “NCAA probes party with 2009 Heisman winner” claims Mark Ingram might be in hot water over a trip he took back in May.

UA spokesman Doug Walker said that any NCAA-related concerns were dealt with before the trip. Ingram provided the necessary receipts to prove he paid for all expenses.

“We are not aware with any issues with the visit,” Walker said by email Thursday.

UPDATED: ESPN: UA investigating Dareus involvement with agent

Not good news for Alabama on the day before facing the media in Hoover.

ESPN.com is reporting the school’s compliance department is looking to a trip allegedly taken by Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus to a Miami party thrown by a sports agent this summer.

See the full story by clicking here.

The Tuscaloosa News is reporting a few other Crimson Tide players may have attended the same party.

This is just the latest wrinkle in the evolving story concerning college football players and their involvement with agents. Any potential rules violations could hurt Alabama more than the rest since it is already in probation stemming from the textbook scandal ruling issued last summer.

Here is the rule in question:
12.3.1.2 Benefits from Prospective Agents. An individual shall be ineligible per Bylaw 12.3.1 if he or she (or his or her relatives or friends) accepts transportation or other benefits from:

(a) Any person who represents any individual in the marketing of his or her athletics ability. The receipt of such expenses constitutes compensation based on athletics skill and is an extra benefit not available to the student body in general; or

(b) An agent, even if the agent has indicated that he or she has no interest in representing the student-athlete in the marketing of his or her athletics ability or reputation and does not represent individuals in the student-athlete’s sport.

More textbook trouble (not in Alabama this time)

Alabama athletes weren’t the first, and apparently not the last to find a little wiggle room in their scholarship benefits when it comes to the bookstore. The University of San Francisco was the latest to hear from the NCAA about athletes abuse of learning materials.

Think back a year, and UA was mulling over its options to appeal sanctions it received in a similar case that included nearly twice as many athletes as San Francisco.

The penalties out west didn’t include rewriting any of the record books like they did in Tuscaloosa, but Bill Russell’s alma mater lost a men’s basketball scholarship.

Ask me, and penalizing the future burns more than vacating a few wins.

On a lighter note, I’m proud to announce the rebirth of The Bama Blog video of the day. So, as you enjoy your Friday lunch, check this one out

What’s at stake tonight?

Quite a bit, actually.

Not only the Atlanta Regional is on the line tonight, but a potentially huge super regional showdown is possible with a Crimson Tide win. Should Alabama beat Georgia Tech for a second straight night, it’ll have a shot at playing another Iron Bowl in the super regional.

That’s right, an Auburn win over Clemson paired with a Tide upset would put two of the biggest rivals outside of Coke and Pepsi in the best-of-three super regional.

There’s no need to get ahead of ourselves just yet, but just imagine the possibility. Alabama vs. Auburn for a spot in the College World Series would make for an interesting week, wouldn’t it?

Bama softball super regional in lightning delay

Here we are, watching the lightning at the Alabama Softball Complex as the delay enters its second hour. Alabama was supposed to open the best-of-three NCAA super regional with Hawaii. The seats are packed but the lightning isn’t stopping.

More updates to come.

Bama, or at least Saban, has friend at NCAA

Props go to Gentry Estes, former Daily Alabama beat writer currently with the Mobile Press-Register for making the connection and doing the research on this one.

Turns out, the new NCAA president, Mark Emmert, hired Saban at LSU in 2000 and the two have remained friends.

Check out this link, which I found in Estes’ posting, that details the friendship between Saban and the newly minted most powerful man in college sports.

And now, in the spirit of spring weather, here is your Kige Ramsey video of the day along with a bonus video that our friend Kige posted today.

Tide DB Robby Green to miss 2010 season

A news release just arrived from Alabama stating defensive back Robby Green will miss the 2010 season with an NCAA eligibility issue.

Here’s what Nick Saban had to say about the situation:

“Even though we are very disappointed we will continue to support Robby in every way possible,” said head coach Nick Saban. “He’ll practice and do all the other things with our team in terms of classes and workouts, but just won’t be eligible to play in any games this fall. His attitude has been outstanding through this and his effort in practice has been very good as well.”

Read more later

Alabama 30th in final Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings

So the Tide is 30th in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings? What does that mean exactly? Well, according to the scoring system, Alabama had the 30th best overall athletic performance in the 2008-09 season.

Overall, Crimson Tide sports racked up 650.60 points, well behind champion Stanford who scored 1,455. North Carolina was second, Florida third, USC fourth and Michigan was fifth.

To see how programs are scored, click here.

For the complete standings, click here.