Alabama Involved in Memoribilia Scandal

Now that the Ohio State memorabilia flap is almost over, there appears to be another rising to the south.  This time, it will be hard for ESPN to drown it out.

The offender is the University of Alabama.  Yes the Crimson Tide is now in the middle of an NCAA look, and it may not be pretty.

Alabama’s athletic department told a local store to stop selling items signed by current athletes.  By now everyone understands this is a violation of NCAA rules.  And it comes on the cusp of Ohio State’s hearing before the NCAA on August 12th.

Reports say Alabama University compliance director Mike Ward sent a letter to “T-Town Menswear” on Dec. 22, 2010, instructing them to “immediately cease and desist” selling, distributing or promoting items signed by or depicting current athletes.  Again everyone knows the NCAA is the only organization that can get away with that.

Strangely enough, the NCAA is currently in the middle of a lawsuit for the same thing.  Former UCLA forward Ed O’Bannon and several other former college athletes are suing the NCAA for distributing items depicting athletes.  This is from the video game NCAA Basketball.

The letter from Ward and the school warned if the store refused it could “jeopardize the student-athlete’s eligibility.” The NCAA prohibits using the likeness or name of a current college athlete to promote a product or service, except when the NCAA deems it profitable for them.

The Associated Press obtained the letter on Monday.  It also ran a picture of running back Trent Richardson in a store signing the back of a jersey with his name and number on it.  However with the punctuation of the letter from Ward to the store, it appears there is more than one athlete involved.

The first question is when did the University report this violation?  That is what Ohio State got in trouble for.  The timing of alerting the NCAA to the violation.  It’s hard to believe the story could stay quiet since December if the school had reported itself.

Very little details have been released on the matter.  Neither side commented and it is confusing as to whether the store will actually abide to the request made by Alabama.  They have no legal standing to adhere to the request, and the school cannot legally make them stop.  It would be seen by the school as an act of “good will” if they would voluntarily stop the process.

But will that be enough for the NCAA?  It took only one for Ohio State.  How many have been involved at Alabama?  And after experiencing the climate of axe-wielding against the Buckeyes, what will we see from the media against Alabama?

Only time will tell.

Comments

  1. Mike Hart says:

    Only one person violated anything at Ohio State? Then why did they suspend multiple players? Also it’s the University of Alabama.

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