TUSCALOOSA — At a rate of roughly two per month, Alabama has reported 44 secondary violations of NCAA rules in the past two years, more than one-third of which involve the football program.
Most of the violations are minor, with one-fourth resulting in nothing more than rules education as a correction action. Roughly one-third of the violations involve impermissible text messages to recruits.
In the two-year period, the Alabama football program reported 16 secondary violations, the women’s basketball program eight and the gymnastics program six. No other program committed more than two. Seven programs — men’s and women’s cross country, women’s track and field, women’s golf, softball, swimming and diving and men’s tennis — committed no violations.
Most universities routinely report minor violations of NCAA bylaws to their conference offices and the NCAA. The newspapers of al.com (The Birmingham News, the Press-Register of Mbile and The Huntsville Times) regularly file requests with the University of Alabama and Auburn University to view the documents under the state open-records law, which gives citizens the right to inspect public records.
Alabama’s report, covering July 1, 2009 through Friday, is published on RollTide.com, the athletic department’s website. The five-page report summarizes the violations, but names of student-athletes, recruits and members of the coaching staff are not included. Neither are the dates that each violation occurred.
Two of the football violations resulted in a player being suspended for two regular-season games.
According to the summary of one of the violations, a player “received impermissible transportation, entertainment, meals and lodging during two trips.”
According to the summary of another violation, a player “received impermissible benefits from an agent and preferential treatment based on status” as a student-athlete.
Last summer, star defensive end Marcell Dareus was suspended for two games because of impermissible benefits he received during two May trips to Miami.
None of the football violations involved a so-called “bump” between a coach and a recruit. Last winter, Alabama coach Nick Saban was accused of violating the “bump” rule when he spoke with Barry James Sanders, the son of legendary running back Barry Sanders, at the prospect’s high school in Oklahoma. When questioned about the contact with a junior, Saban said it was just a greeting. Oklahoma State suggested the rule was violated, but the high school’s offensive coordinator said Saban was talking to him about Alabama’s need for running backs.
Barry James Sanders, left, Nick Saban, middle, and Barry Sanders watch the Crimson Tide basketball team during a Feb. 19, 2010 game. When the football recruit and Alabama coach appeared on the arena’s video board, suggestions of an NCAA secondary rules