Nick Saban wasn’t at Trent Richardson’s 2010 birthday party.
Though you can’t say the same for disgraced Alabama football booster and Tuscaloosa suit store owner Tom Al-Betar.
Al-Betar can be seen in multiple photos, now-deleted from his former Facebook account, enjoying yet another evening at a Tuscaloosa Japanese steakhouse with Richardson - this time perhaps as party host of Richardson’s 19th birthday party. (Al-Betar has now been seen out to dinner with Richardson on three different occasions in Facebook photos.)
Not according to the NCAA rules compliance folks representing the University of Alabama. They contend that, despite the school officially disassociating Al-Betar from Alabama Athletics last March, no NCAA rules violations have taken place as it pertains to Al-Betar’s relationship with Richardson and dozens of other Alabama football players over the years.
Which must be why just last month Saban said of Al-Betar’s T-Town Menswear store in Tuscaloosa, where Richardson can be seen in dozens of Facebook photos signing personalized Alabama memorabilia that was later prominently displayed inside T-Town Menswear and possibly sold online, inside the store and at least one mall kiosk owned by Al-Betar, that he saw no reason to ban Alabama players from visiting Al-Betar’s store.
“You know, I guess I could ban our players from the place but until somebody can sorta convince me that somebody is doing something wrong - which I haven’t been convinced of yet - I don’t know if that’s fair to our players.”
Since Saban doesn’t think it’s advisable to prevent current Alabama players from visiting Al-Betar’s store, it isn’t unreasonable for many folks to think that Saban and Alabama also previously approved of Al-Betar joining Richardson and other Alabama football players at dinner on multiple occasions - along with Al-Betar accompanying Richardson, his mother and the Bama football star’s two young daughters at another Tuscaloosa establishment on a separate occasion.
You see, NCAA rules - as Saban, Alabama Compliance Director Mike Ward and the crack team of NCAA rules enforcement staffers overseen by ever-vigilant NCAA President Mark Emmert will tell you - exist for a very good reason.