American Justice!

Watching the American justice system at work makes me feel oh so proud as an American citizen. Catch the passion folks!

In all seriousness, Rashad Johnson’s statement of “support” for the Tuscaloosa Police Department does seem a tad bit forced, but if I wanted some ticky tacky charges dropped, I might be willing to say something to that effect. Still, if the stories of the 4 different video cameras proving Rashad innocent are true, this does seem rather strange.

Some fans probably want to get angry at the Tuscaloosa administration for acting rather childish, and I can’t blame them. But, I would like to point out that Saban and the UA administration are seeking better relations with City Hall and the TPD, so I imagine they won’t get too bent out of shape over this release by Johnson and his lawyers. If Rashad has to release a minor statement of support for the TPD in order to keep pointless arrests from happening again, them I’m fine with it. God Bless the U.S.A.

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Ray Keller Wins Case Against NCAA

Former Alabama football booster Ray Keller has beaten the NCAA in court. He orginally wanted over $35 million dollars, but was awarded $5 million dollars instead. Still, winning the case is probably the most important part for him. From the Tuscaloosa News:

The jury awarded Ray Keller $3 million in punitive damages, $1 million for mental anguish, $500,000 for economic loss and $500,000 for damage to reputation.

Keller, a timber dealer and fan whom the university severed ties with because of the probe, argued that the NCAA slandered and libeled him during the announcement of penalties by referring to him and others as “rogue boosters,” ”parasites” and “pariahs.”

The jury of nine women and three men deliberated an hour Wednesday and about five more Thursday before ruling against the NCAA.

Good news for Keller indeed. Sadly, it was revealed that Cecil Hurt had Keller co-sign a $4,000 medical loan for him in 2000, before all of this NCAA stuff happened. Still, Hurt made the mistake of never telling his managers of this relationship, which leads to ethical issues he must face. Are there any legal concerns for Hurt? No, but this is a big shot to his image in the industry.

Ray Keller’s Suit Against the NCAA

After weeks of on and off courtroom drama, it appears that the lawsuit against the NCAA by former Alabama booster Ray Keller is almost over. The original judge suffered a heart attack, causing the trail to be delayed for a long period of time. But, closing arguments have been made, and it is up to the jury to decided if Keller deserves the $35.5 million in damages he is seeking.

Part of this trail comes down to timing, what NCAA rules the investigators actually followed, and what the NCAA said about Keller. LINK

The NCAA charged Keller with participating in a scheme with two other boosters to woo blue-chip football prospect Kenny Smith to Alabama; buying the Smith family meals; paying former Crimson Tide linebacker Travis Carroll $400; and having improper contact with prospect Eric Locke at an A-Day Game.

Lamb told the jury that former NCAA Committee on Infractions chairman David Swank claimed the organization violated its own bylaws in pursuing charges against Keller. According to Swank:

The NCAA should have investigated Smith’s recruitment in 1996, after getting a memo detailing potential violations from Auburn. Instead, the memo lingered for five years.

The NCAA ignored its own four-year statute of limitations when it added the allegation, which then included Keller, in the 2002 case against Alabama.

But, there are a few issues regarding what Keller claims he lost because of the NCAA calling him a “pariah”, “rouge”, and “parasite” in their report. LINK

Keller testified he lost a chance to participate in a large store development project with a longtime associate because of news coverage of the NCAA’s report.

“I’m sure if that infractions report had not come out we would have moved forward,” Keller testified. “A contract was our word.”

But NCAA expert Barry Kennedy, an accountant, testified that Keller would actually have lost money had he invested in the shopping center project in Scottsboro.

While Keller claimed he never signed any documents on the project, which was supposed to be worth millions, Kennedy said he never had heard of such a large development proceeding without any paperwork.

Who knows what’ll happen with this trail. I do have a feeling that this will probably be the last we have to face anything involving the 2002 sanctions for a while. Finebaum seems to think Keller has a solid case. But, he also felt that Cottrell and Williams would get the NCAA as well, only to watch them wiggle out of it as the judge, a former student to the then head of NCAA infractions committee, tossed a majority of the case out.

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NCAA Rule View

Via Ian Rapoport of the Birmingham News. Click Here to view the NCAA rule page:

15.2.3.1 Dollar Limit.

15.2.3.1.1 Eligibility Ramifications — Restitution for Receipt of Improper Benefits.

For violations of Bylaw 15.2.3.1 in which the value of noncourse-related required books is $100 or less, the eligibility of the individual (prospective or enrolled student-athlete) shall not be affected conditioned on the individual repaying the value of the benefit to a charity of his or her choice. The individual, however, shall remain ineligible from the time the institution has knowledge of the receipt of the impermissible benefit until the individual repays the benefit. Violations of this bylaw remain institutional violations per Constitution 2.8.1, and documentation of the individual’s repayment shall be forwarded to the enforcement services staff with the institution’s self report of the violation. (Adopted: 4/24/03 effective 8/1/03)

What does this mean? I have no earthly idea. The Ball State case seems to be mentioned, although rumor has it that the scope of this issue at Bama is a good bit smaller. Plus, BSU’s administration did nothing of great note in trying to contact the NCAA or conference officials. Still, nothing is official until the University releases more information.

BTW, congrats to Glen Coffee for his baptism this Sunday. Sad to see it over-shadowed thanks to bad timing.

Police Report

The police report regarding Simeon Castille has been released. CLICK HERE if you feel like giving it a look over.

Here is my brief overview of what happened:

  • The Tuscaloosa Police Officer heard the F-word about a block away, and turned to see Simeon jumping up and down, challenging someone in a green SUV to wrestle/fight.
  • The Officer saw that since the SUV was stopped, traffic was turning into a problem. So, he went over and got Castille.
  • Simeon did not resist arrest at all, claiming that he was just messing around with teammates.
  • The Officer then talked to Sgt. McMillian of the UAPD, asking him if UAPD should contact Coach Saban.
  • He was informed he was being charged with Disorderly Conduct. This was all done in the middle of “The Strip” in front of Crimson Cafe.
  • They put Simeon into the police car and took him to the Police Station where he was held for a few hours.
  • Castille was worried about what this would do to his draft status, appearing to be crying against the wall in the cell.

College Loans & Cuomo

As mentioned in the preview post, The New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, has released a statement regarding college education lenders and college athletic departments. Why does this matter to the average Alabama fan? Well, Cuomo’s news release mentioned 3 universities from the state of Alabama (Auburn, UAB, & North Alabama).

After doing so research, it has become quite apparent to me that one of Cuomo’s main goals as AG in New York is to sniff out every single unethical loan policy he can find. If you visit his site, you can find a stockpile of press releases, statements, and settlements regarding this topic. I won’t link every single one for you since would take up a good bit of space (I’m not joking, he’s very serious about this stuff, and has too many links to show on this blog). I’m starting to wonder if Cuomo has higher political ambitions in the next decade or so. Being the leader on this issue would be a HUGE feather in the proverbial cap for any politician.

But, back to this student loan story. I’m not sure that there will be anything juicy coming out about Auburn, UAB, or UNA athletics. But, then again, he did prove that the athletic director of Dowling College on Long Island received $75 for every new application, so you never know. I imagine every school on that list will make a deal sooner or later.

His goal is to either reimburse students for the cost of revenue sharing agreements between Universities and the lending companies, or have the companies and universities agree to his code of conduct and donate to his national fund regarding this matter. Let’s take a look at some of the settlements regarding the student loan industry the past year. The dollar figures next to the link represent the amount of money either donated to his fund, or the payments to students and their families:

Cuomo is basically trying to change the way every student loan company does business. His new Student Bill of Rights seems to be putting some pressure on the schools and companies to change their ways in order to save face. The Student Bill of Rights codifies Cuomo’s College Loan Code of Conduct, the basis for settlements with lenders and schools across the country. This latest move appears to be one of the biggest agreements he’s ever tried to pull off.

How does Cuomo do it? Well, for starters, he’s done his homework and has been calling organizations out regarding their practices:
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