Banned Bama Booster at Richardson Bday Party!?

Nick Saban wasn’t at Trent Richardson’s 2010 birthday party.

Banned Alabama Booster Hosts Trent Richardson's Birthday Party

Though you can’t say the same for disgraced Alabama football booster and Tuscaloosa suit store owner Tom Al-Betar.

Banned Alabama Booster at Trent Richardson's Birthday Party

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.)

Banned Alabama Booster Hosts Trent Richardson's Birthday Party

Red flag?

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.

Banned Alabama Booster Hosts Trent Richardson's Birthday Party

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.

Banned Alabama Booster Hosts Trent Richardson's Birthday Party

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.

Banned Alabama Booster Hosts Trent Richardson's Birthday Party

Yeah.

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

Not Again! Current Bama QB Linked to Suit Store

In the past two weeks current Alabama football player Trent Richardson has been seen in now-deleted Facebook photos signing personalized memorabilia inside T-Town Menswear. Some of the items Richardson signed were later seen on display inside the Tuscaloosa suit store, which is located three miles from the University of Alabama campus.

Trent Richardson signing white and red jerseys inside T-Town Menswear

Some were not.

In one Facebook-dated September 3, 2010, photo uploaded by store owner Tom Al-Betar to the web, Richardson was seen signing a white, personalized Alabama football jersey with a red jersey visible underneath it.

T-Town Menswear Storefront Display Of Ingram, Jones, Richardson Signed Jersey and Ingram Signed Helmet

In addition to a personalized, Richardson-signed jersey seen on display in the storefront window of the suit store throughout the 2010 football season, a subsequent, for sale listing on the Alabama-based sports collectibles site ViceAuthenticsMemorabilia.com showed a white, personalized jersey similar to what Richardson was seen signing in the T-Town Menswear Facebook photo. The description of the Richardson jersey for sale noted:

Jersey was signed in Tuscaloosa, AL on September 3, 2010

The listing, which noted that the jersey was signed on the same day as the Facebook-dated photo of Richardson signing a similar jersey inside T-Town Menswear, has since been pulled from the memorabilia site.

Trent Richardson signing helmet inside T-Town Menswear

(Above: Richardson signing helmet with silver paint pen - as gloves await)

Also in the listing was this note from site owner Marty Vice:

I have multiple signed Prints, Photos, Helmets and Jerseys of Trent.

In addition to the recent Richardson jersey listing on ViceAuthenticsMemorabilia.com, a signed, personalized jersey from another current Alabama football player was seen on the same, Alabama-based sports collectibles site as recently as July 20, 2011. Read more…

Why is Richardson Signing With a Suit Jacket On?

Tuesday Nick Saban commented for the first time about the relationship of current Alabama football players to T-Town Menswear store owner Tom Al-Betar.

Trent Richardson wearing suit jacket at T-Town Menswear

Saban told Ian Fitzsimmons of ESPN 103.3 in Dallas:

“Our compliance people have been on top of this for a long time. I think this is an example of somebody…it’s not a violation if you sign a shirt for somebody, you just can’t receive compensation for it. We’ve done a cease-and-desist with this establishment a long time ago to make sure everybody understands what players can and can’t do.”

In now-deleted Facebook accounts, Al-Betar previously posted photos of Alabama football players signing memorabilia in his suit store - which is located three miles from the University of Alabama campus.

One of the football players depicted in those photos is current Alabama running back Trent Richardson, who can be seen in an Al-Betar photo signing an Alabama football print while wearing a suit jacket inside T-Town menswear.

Trent Richardson wearing suit jacket at T-Town Menswear

Earlier Wednesday Clay Travis of OutKickTheCoverage.com posted a Dec. 14, 2010, photo showing a Birmingham mall kiosk.

Tom Al-Betar's Mall Kiosk With Autographed Alabama Player Jerseys

At the time of the photo one of the items offered for sale at the kiosk was a Richardson-signed Alabama jersey.

On December 22, 2010, University of Alabama Associate Director for Compliance Mike Ward sent Al-Betar a cease-and-desist letter regarding the sale of memorabilia autographed by current Alabama football players at his kiosk outside T-Town Menswear. Excerpt:

I am writing to you on behalf of several current student-athletes at The University of Alabama. It has been brought to our attention that you are selling or distributing, for commercial purposes, items depicting current University of Alabama student-athletes, specifically, items autographed by current student athletes. The use of a current student-athlete’s name or likeness on commercial items offered for sale, or for advertising or promotional purposes, without his or her knowledge or permission can jeopardize the student-athlete’s eligibility to participate in intercollegiate athletics with the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The letter was addressed to Al-Betar’s kiosk in Tuscaloosa, not the Birmingham kiosk that was photographed on Dec. 14, 2010, selling jerseys of then-current Alabama football players Richardson, Julio Jones and Marcell Dareus.

That signed red jersey for sale at Al-Betar’s kiosk matched a Richardson jersey previously offered for sale by the website ViceAuthenticsMemorabilia.com.

Trent Richardson signed jersey for sale online

The for sale listing for the Richardson jersey has since been pulled by the Alabama-based sports memorabilia website.

Jones can also be seen in Al-Betar Facebook photos inside T-Town menswear signing red jerseys that match the jerseys offered for sale at the Al-Betar Tuscaloosa kiosk targeted by UA compliance and the Birmingham mall kiosk in December.

Julio Jones signs Alabama jerseys inside T-Town Menswear

The signed jerseys were offered for sale at Al-Betar’s kiosk and the Birmingham mall kiosk while Jones was still an active member of the Alabama football team.

Richardson can also be seen in a photo dated Sept. 3, 2010 on Al-Betar’s now-deleted Facebook page signing a white Alabama jersey with his name on it.

That signed white jersey matches a Richardson jersey previously offered for sale by the website ViceAuthenticsMemorabilia.com.

Trent Richardson signing jersey inside T-Town Menswear

ViceAuthenticsMemorabilia.com noted in the listing for the white Richardson jersey for sale:

Jersey was signed in Tuscaloosa, AL on September 3, 2010

The for sale listing for the white Richardson jersey has since been pulled by the website.

Trent Richardson signing helmet inside T-Town Menswear

Both for sale listings of Richardson-signed memorabilia from ViceAuthenticsMemorabilia.com also noted, “I have multiple signed prints, photos, helmets & jerseys of Trent.

While the exact nature of Richardson’s relationship to Al-Betar is not known, Travis previously posted a photo of the two out to dinner in Tuscaloosa Jan. 23, 2010.

Trent Richardson out to dinner with Alabama booster Tom Al-Betar

Speaking to ESPN 103.3 in Dallas Tuesday, Saban said of the interaction between Al-Betar and Alabama football players:

“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.”

Brooks is on Twitter and Facebook