Media Report Contradicts Bama Compliance Claim

Sunday I reported that Alabama had committed an NCAA violation when high school prospect Barry Sanders, Jr., was shown on the Coleman Coliseum video board during Saturday’s Alabama-Arkansas basketball game.

(Alabama compliance claims Sanders, Jr., never appeared on video board)

NCAA rule 13.11.5 states: “An institution may not introduce a visiting prospect at a function (e.g., that institution’s sports award banquet or an intercollegiate athletics contest) that is attended by media representatives or open to the general public.

Izzy Gould of the MOBILE PRESS-REGISTER confirmed Sunday evening that Sanders had indeed been seen on the Coleman Coliseum video board during the game, but that the University of Alabama NCAA compliance department has since concluded that no NCAA violation took place. Gould:

Whether what happened on Saturday night violated this rule is unclear. The younger Sanders was briefly shown on the video board. No words were flashed on the video board, and no announcements were made through the public address system to name the people captured on camera. An Alabama spokesman Sunday night said no violation was committed. “Our compliance office is aware of this claim and has looked into it,” Alabama spokesman Doug Walker wrote in an e-mail. “Based on that inquiry, it was determined that no violation was committed.”

While Alabama reported that no NCAA violation occurred, Gould availed an SEC spokesman who indicated, “there is the possibility of operator error, which could mean the camera operator was at fault for showing Saban and the younger Sanders on camera. Gould also noted the SEC staffer was, “unaware of the alleged infraction and would need to gather more information.

If, as Alabama contends, no violation occurred despite confirmation that Sanders appeared on the Alabama arena video board, how could the camera operator, as an SEC spokesman indicated to Gould, have committed an “error” or be “at fault“?

The latter would seem to indicate that some manner of NCAA infraction took place.

Because the Alabama compliance department has provided no explanation for its conclusion that no NCAA violation took place, it appears that the school and the SEC may not be on the same page when it comes to the interpretation of NCAA rule 13.11.5.

UPDATE: Chase Goodbread of the TUSCALOOSA (AL) NEWS reported late Sunday:

“(Alabama) the school’s findings were that the video board displayed a tighter shot that included Saban only.”

But Izzy Gould, as noted earlier in this post, reported for the Press-Register before Goodbread’s story:

The arena camera briefly captured Saban and the younger Sanders before zeroing in on Saban and the elder Sanders, drawing a loud roar from the 15,383 fans. It was then that many UA football fans began chanting, “We want Barry,” a plea for the younger Sanders to play for the Tide.

So if the younger Sanders wasn’t on the videoboard, why did the crowd unleash a “loud roar” and begin chanting “We want Barry”?

Follow Brooks on Twitter and join him on Facebook for real-time updates you won’t find here.