Alabama could face more sanctions

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — An NCAA enforcement official said Alabama, already on probation, could face additional penalties stemming from football players’ tire purchases from a Crimson Tide fan.
But David Berst, executive director of enforcement and eligibility appeals, declined comment on the likelihood or severity of any further sanctions.
The Infractions Committee could hear the Alabama case at its next meeting May 31, Berst said.
School officials confirmed Wednesday that two players have lost their eligibility until an inquiry is completed into tire loans guaranteed by Boyd Sutherland, owner of Bojo’s Mag Wheels and Accessories.
The players, who school officials would not identify, still have outstanding balances of about $1,000 and $190 with Bojo’s, the school and the NCAA said.
Both players participated in spring drills but will not be able to play this fall unless the loans are resolved, said Culpepper Clark, an aide to president Roger Sayers.
Clark said “four or five” other Crimson Tide players also were declared ineligible by the school late last year because of their dealings with Bojo’s.
The NCAA restored the eligibility of the other players as soon as the school asked in late November, Clark said. But enforcement officials are still looking into the actions of assistant athletic director Gerald Jack.
Athletics director Glen Tuckett said the university would not have to reappear before the Infractions Committee when it considers the enforcement staff’s investigation of Jack.
“We’re fine. They’re bringing it to a conclusion,” he said.
But Berst said sanctions were not precluded by the fact that the loans in question were not uncovered by NCAA investigators during their last review of Alabama.
“There’s no sort of double jeopardy rule,” he said.
Sutherland did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
The Associated Press reported last August that Boyd Sutherland, owner of Bojo’s, claimed he had sold thousands of dollars worth of merchandise to current and former Alabama football and basketball players on credit without being paid.
The university and the Southeastern Conference reopened probes into Sutherland’s claims following the AP story. Their findings were forwarded to the NCAA.
Sutherland, a self-described “diehard Alabama fan,” who did not attend the university, said he routinely guaranteed payments for players with finance companies so they would be approved for loans.
Sutherland said he guaranteed loans for only “two or three” other customers during seven years in business.
The AP reviewed documents showing overdue debts ranging from $140 for a football player to $1,164 for a basketball star, both of whom have completed their eligibility at Alabama.
The NCAA announced the outcome of the case in its monthly newsletter. While the summary did not name the school, officials at Alabama confirmed that it involved Sutherland’s dealings with players and Jack.
Sutherland told AP he had repeatedly contacted Jack asking that the school make players repay their loans.
The NCAA summary said the assistant athletic director “violated institutional self-reporting procedures by failing to forward information he received to (the) institution’s director of compliance, conference office or NCAA enforcement staff for review and consideration.”
The summary said the store owner allowed athletes to make financial arrangements for the purchase of wheels and tires based on their status with the team. The owner then promised to pay off their notes with financing companies if they became delinquent.