Bama Commits NCAA Violation With Barry Sanders

The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was in Tuscaloosa Saturday as the University of Alabama football program hosted its annual junior day for high school prospects in the Class of 2012.

Nick Saban with Barry Sanders at Alabama basketball game

(Credit: SEC Digital Network, Fox Sports South, FSN)

Saturday night the younger Sanders, also named Barry, was seen sitting next to Alabama football coach Nick Saban duing the SEC Television Network-produced broadcast of the Alabama-Arkansas basketball game on Fox Sports South.

While the incidental appearance of recruit Sanders on the Alabama basketball telecast is allowed under NCAA rules, an incident involving the younger Sanders inside the Coleman Coliseum itself during the game was not.

Barry Sanders with Nick Saban: Secondary Violation Because Of Appearance On Video Board At Coleman Coliseum

(Bama infraction likely secondary violation and will be self-reported)

Sanders, a highly-touted running back prospect from Oklahoma City, was also shown on the large video board inside the Alabama arena during the first half of the game, which prompted cheers from Crimson Tide fans and a “We Want Barry!” chant to go up in the Alabama student section.

NCAA Rule 13.11.5 (pdf) states: Read more…

Video: 1st Time Gundy Sent T. Boone To Voicemail

Last Friday during a live interview on Radio Disney in Los Angeles, Justin Bieber’s phone went off thanks to a call from Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith.

The ringtone?

A snip from Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy’s “I’m a man! I’m 40!” rant.

When asked about the ringtone, Bieber said he added it after discovering Gundy on Youtube getting the vapors over a disagreeable media piece about then-starting Cowboy quarterback Bobby Reid.

Weird? Actually Bieber’s appreciation of Gundy’s fiendish scene restored my faith in humanity.

But then Radio Diz DJ “Ernie D.” asked Bieber to ask 12-year-old Jaden what he was wearing to the Grammys, and I quickly lapsed back to reality. Read more…

Player’s Parents ‘Outrage’ Illuminates Nutt’s Deceit

In a piece in today’s JACKSON (MS) CLARION-LEDGER by Kyle Veazey, Houston Nutt drove any credibility he had left in how he recruits and subsequently treats players off a cliff.

Houston Nutt reneged on scholarship offer to Dan Bailey

(Ask Bailey’s cash-strapped parents about Nutt’s “PEEPA HEPPEN BIDNEZ“)

Nutt, who was recently seen joking about the practice of oversigning in an ESPN expose on the subject - which University of Florida President Berne Machen recently called “despicable” and immoral - defended himself to Veazey thusly:

I’ve never ran anyone off in my career unless they broke multiple team rules or just committed a serious crime or something like that. That’s never happened.”

Thursday I noted an earlier piece by Veazey that documented seven Ole Miss players who had vanished from the team’s roster since signing day despite those players retaining eligibility.

Of those seven players Nutt claimed in Sunday’s Clarion-Ledger article that all had left the program voluntarily, with the coach going so far as to encourage Veazey to contact the departed to confirm the coach’s claim.

But Veazey reported today that he was unable to reach six of the seven players for comment. The player Veazey did reach, Lekenwic Haynes, refused to talk about his departure from Ole Miss.

And as I noted two days ago, it doesn’t appear the roster purge is over. From his piece today, Veazey wrote:

Just who will be members of the 25 new enrollees this fall remains in flux. Six mid-year transfers are already in school, leaving 19 spots for 22 players that UM signed on Feb. 2. Two players - Madison, Ala., wide receiver Collins Moore and Itawamba AHS quarterback Maikhail Miller - are grayshirt candidates. Eligibility casualties could also make the numbers work.

If you happen to know any of the incoming Ole Miss players, I suggest you point them to this DALLAS MORNING NEWS story about Nutt reneging on a scholarship offer to Dan Bailey in 2006.

Dan Bailey, who recently concluded a stellar four-year career as Oklahoma State’s kicker, was offered a full athletic scholarship in 2006 by Ohio University out of high school. But instead of taking a full ride at Ohio U., Bailey opted to walk-on to Arkansas because then-Coach Nutt promised him an initial academic scholarship that would cover tuition.

Bad move.

The DMN takes it from there: Read more…

‘Multiple Schools’ Told NCAA Of Saban Violation?

On Feb. 15, 2009, Ron Higgins of the MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL accused Alabama football coach Nick Saban of committing an “apparent recruiting violation” after the coach showed up at the Memphis high school of junior football player Keiwone Malone just days before the Feb. 4, 2009, national signing day for high school seniors - which was a recruiting dead period.

Nick Saban Barry Sanders Jr Photo

The idea behind Saban’s appearance at Malone’s school was to persuade the high school junior recruit to verbally commit to Alabama soon after signing day for high school seniors - locking up the prospect for Saban as soon as possible. The applicable NCAA bylaw governing the Higgins-noted case involving Saban is called the “bump rule”. The rule states that a coach is allowed an incidental “greeting” with a player at his high school during the aforementioned recruiting dead period - but no more than that.

Relevant excerpt from NCAA Bylaw 13:

“Off-campus recruiting contacts shall not be made with an individual before July 1 following the completion of his junior year in high school. Any face-to-face encounter between a prospective student-athlete during which any dialogue occurs in excess of an exchange of a greeting (is prohibited). Such face-to-face encounter that is prearranged or that takes place on the grounds of the prospective student-athlete’s institution shall be considered a contact (violation).”

Following Saban’s reported “visit” with Malone at the Tennessee high school, the Memphis prospect verbally committed to Alabama just days after national signing day.


Just wondering when an SEC football coach is going to turn in Alabama coach Nick Saban on an apparent recruiting violation. Saban obtained a commitment from Mitchell receiver Keiwone Malone, a high school junior. The only problem is that other than a “bump” — which is an accidental “hello, how are ya?”– a coach can’t have direct contact with a junior at the time that Saban did (before signing day for seniors on Feb. 4). That’s a dead period (no contact) according to NCAA rules.

Judging from the quotes given by Malone to the CA’s Jason Smith, there was a face-to-face meeting and a selling job by Saban. Mitchell High didn’t have any seniors that were being recruited by Saban, so his visit wasn’t for that purpose. And it had to be more than a bump. When’s the last time you heard a kid receive a scholarship offer and commit on a bump? The SEC office had no comment on the matter, other than to explain the bump rule. This wasn’t a bump by the Sabanator. This was full-contact recruiting.

Surprising that Higgins also didn’t note that the “bump” rule was actually enacted in response to such past tactics by … wait for it … Nick Saban.

When the new NCAA rule was put in place in April, 2008, reporter Paul Gattis of the HUNTSVILLE TIMES referred to it as the “Saban Rule”:

Alabama football coach Nick Saban vehemently opposes the new recruiting restrictions that went into effect last week.

But Saban is in an overwhelmed minority

By a two-thirds majority, the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in January approved legislation proposed by the Southeastern Conference banning head coaches from making off-campus recruiting visits during the spring evaluation period.

That evaluation period started Tuesday and continues through May 31.

“I think it’s ridiculous that we’re doing what we’re doing,” Saban said last week.

Greg Sankey, associate SEC commissioner for NCAA compliance, said the vote favoring the new rule - dubbed the “Saban rule”by some - wasn’t close when the issue was raised by league coaches.

At the time, many credited the NCAA’s action to the Miami Herald reporting in 2007 that Saban had improper contact with three high school juniors in the Miami area: Etienne Sabino, Brandon Washington and Marcus Fortson.

Considering that it’s now largely accepted that the “bump” rule was put in place expressly to stop Saban from openly abusing NCAA rules, what happened this week between the coach and prized recruit Barry Sanders, Jr., in Oklahoma City is nothing short of stunning. Read more…

Not Again! College Girls Soccer Fight On Video

Last Thursday University of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert returned to the pitch for the first time since she was captured on video physically bullying members of the BYU women’s soccer team during a game last November. Lambert was suspended from the team after the video went viral on the web and in the national media.

Oregon Oklahoma State Girls Soccer Fight Video

In a stunning coincidence, the night after Lambert’s return, an ugly spat broke out between two players on the Oregon and Oklahoma State women’s soccer teams in Eugene, Oregon - with the altercation captured on video by KVAL-TV in Oregon.

Though the incident was only innocuously noted in a game account on the Univ. of Oregon website:

Oregon senior defender Mercedes Walters and OSU forward Kyndall Treadwell were sent of the pitch in the 63rd minute following a skirmish which resulted in both receiving red cards. The two teams played with 10 players each for the remainder of the contest.

Curtis Anderson of the EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD also downplayed the brawl but did get a muted reaction from Oklahoma State coach Colin Carmichael: Read more…

OkSt. Player Hits Ex-Teammate In Face With Bottle

Ugly, strange story out of Stillwater, Okla., today as Jamie Blatnick, a starting defensive end on the Oklahoma State football team, has been cited, “for felony aggravated assault and battery following an alleged fight with a former teammate inside a local bar.”

Nick Blatnick hit Steve Denning with beer bottle in the face

(Blatnick and Denning)

From Oklahoma City’s DAILY OKLAHOMAN:

According to a news release issued by the Stillwater Police Department, witnesses told officers that Blatnick fought with former Cowboy Stephen Denning inside J.R. Murphy’s, a club located at 306 S. Washington, starting the scuffle by striking Denning in the face with a beer bottle.

Denning, a former offensive lineman who completed his eligibility in 2008 and graduated this year, was taken by police officers to the hospital, where he was treated for a fractured orbital socket. In addition, he required several stitches to his left upper eyelid and upper cheekbone.

In the release, officers reported that Denning was “bleeding profusely” from a cut on his left eye.

Denning was also cited for a misdemeanor complaint of assault after he “forced his way through several officers in an attempt to continue the fight.”

Denning was eventually tasered. Read more…

OK State Player Accused Of Rape; Invokes Satan

This week Oklahoma State basketball player Matt Pilgrim was accused of rape by an OSU female student. Monday afternoon in Stillwater, Okla., the woman requested and was granted an emergency protective order against Pilgrim, who she alleges raped her on April 12 in her on-campus apartment.

Matt Pilgram Invokes Satan On Facebook In Response To Rape Allegation

As part of the petition for the emergency protective order, the TULSA WORLD noted Wednesday:

The student said she received an email from Pilgrim on April 13 and didn’t hear from him again until May 2 at Smith Hall. They had words and she requested — and was granted — a protective order that day.

The student and Pilgrim will appear at Payne County Courthouse on May 20 for a hearing. Pilgrim has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

The World reported that while Cowboys basketball coach Travis Ford declined comment on the matter, OSU spokesman Gary Shutt, “indicated Pilgrim is still in school and is still a member of the basketball team while the investigation continues.

On April 12 the woman claimed to Oklahoma State University Police that Pilgrim raped her. She subsequently declined to assist OSU police and Payne County prosecutors in the investigation of the alleged incident. The case was then considered closed. Read more…

Family Tradition: Sutton’s Felony Drug Charge

The unfortunately named KUSH-AM in Stillwater, Oklahoma, reports today:

Sean Sutton Mugshot

Former OSU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Sean Sutton was arrested Thursday night on a charge of attempting to possess a controlled dangerous substance, and use of a communications device in the commission of a felony. Sutton is expected to appear for arraignment this afternoon in Payne County District Court.

Sutton was arrested after an investigation that started last August, according the spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau Of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control, Mark Woodward. Woodward says his agency received information from multiple sources that Sutton had been visiting multiple doctors for prescription drugs, and was confronted about it in August.

According to Woodward, Sutton underwent treatment for addiction to prescription painkillers, but the OBNDD began to receive information that Sutton was ordering prescriptions from out of state.

Read more…

Spotting-a-Liar-101: People Who Say ‘I Never Lie’

Deion Sanders appeared on NFL Network today to talk about his involvement with now-suspended Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant and his possible role in tampering with now-49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. Sanders was in rehearsed, hyper-defensive mode, which made for a plethora of unintentionally hilarious moments.

(Watch entire interview here)

Early sampling:

NFL Network interviewer Jason La Canfora to Sanders: He’s (Bryant) ineligible because he lied (to the NCAA) about what when on in your house.”

Sanders: “(interrupts) No, no, he’s not ineligible because of what went on in my house, he’s ineligible because he lied.


Sanders was sure to mention that Oklahoma State approached him about “mentoring” Bryant: “When I first started mentoring Dez, the first thing I did was call his receivers coach. His receivers coach told me everything about Dez. … So we have an ongoing relationship.”

Now, if Sanders is so close with Bryant’s position coach, why doesn’t he name that coach? Maybe, perhaps because that coach, the much-traveled and since-departed Trooper Taylor, wasn’t exactly on head coach’s Mike Gundy’s Christmas card list when he left? (That’s what sources have told SbB.)


Sanders: “Now the problem was, someone, um, they wanted to question Dez about our relationship, and Dez was nervous about — Why these NCAA people have me in this room with a closed door, questioning me? Now, had I been liar, or falsified any incident or evidence, my story would have collaborated with Dez. We talked three times a week and they didn’t, because I don’t lie, and the kid said he didn’t come to my home, and in actuality, he did.”

La Canfora: “In terms of your dealings with him though, the fact that Dez lied, does that go against what you told him? (Deion: ‘Yes”) And did you have a chance to intervene before he spoke to the NCAA and say hey man (Deion: ‘No) you have to tell the whole truth?”

Sanders: “I don’t have to prepare a person to tell the whole truth. The truth is what it is, so the fact that he got nervous and falsified the truth, he had thought he had done something wrong. When there’s somebody there, ‘Were you at the house of Deion Sanders? Were you there were you there?’ The kid got nervous, and I don’t know why he falsified the truth, but I must … if I was a liar, my story would have collaborated with his. Just think about that.”

Collaborated or corraborated?

And now the surest way to spot a liar: find the guy who says he never lies. Read more…

Deion: Oklahoma St. Asked Him To Mentor Bryant!

Deion Sanders comes out of hiding today to talk to Thayer Evans of the NEW YORK TIMES about his role in Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant getting suspended by the school.

Mike Gundy Dez Bryant Deion Sanders

Sanders, contrary to what ESPN Radio host (and former Oklahoma State basketball player) Doug Gottlieb said today on-air, claimed to Evans that Okie State coaches asked him to mentor Bryant! Gottlieb said he was told by the same coaches that Sanders spirited Bryant away from them and was providing unsolicited career advice.

Sanders said he was asked two years ago to mentor Bryant because of Bryant’s difficult past; his mother served time in prison on a drug-sale conviction.

Sanders said that before he started mentoring Bryant, he called Oklahoma State’s receivers coach to ensure that it was O.K.

“When Dez is late to class, the coach calls me,” Sanders said. “When Dez doesn’t show up for this, the coach calls me.”

Sadly, we get no response to Sanders’ comments from Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy. Read more…