Bama Bowl Prep a Form of Recruiting Malpractice?

This week WFTV-TV in Orlando reported details of Alabama’s upcoming Capital One bowl preparation plans.

Ha'sean Clinton-Dix and Nick Saban

Despite what are apparently sub-standard facilities, the Crimson Tide will hold practice at Orlando’s Dr. Phillips High School to get ready for Michigan State at the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s day.

WFTV reported that Alabama, in addition to renting the high school’s practice fields for a nominal fee, will “pay thousands of dollars to upgrade the facilities at Dr. Phillips.” Alabama will reportedly have a new playing surface installed and is in the process of renovating the locker rooms, which will include a new paint job.

Ha'sean Clinton-Dix Dee Hart and Nick Saban

The locker room remodeling and field upgrades will all be done at no cost to Dr. Phillips.

Chase Goodbread of the TUSCALOOSA NEWS reported Monday that Alabama coach Nick Saban said the upgrades were “common” and being done in the interest of “player safety.”

But if that’s the case why didn’t LSU make similar, significant upgrades when it practiced at Dr. Phillips last year before the same bowl game?

Or could Saban be holding out on us, playing Saint Nick in extending some completely innocent, holiday generosity to Dr. Phillips?

Today Andrew Bone of the TUSCALOOSA NEWS may have provided us the answer to those questions.

In running down the state of Alabama’s current recruiting class, Bone noted:

Two key recruits who are committed Alabama, Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, five-star safety from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., and Brent Calloway, four-star running back from Russellville High School, have roaming eyes at other schools.

Clinton-Dix and his teammate Dee Hart have said there is a “90-percent chance” they will attend the same school. Hart does not name Alabama as a school recruiting him hard at this time, but that may change.

So Dr. Phillips is home to “key” Alabama recruit Clinton-Dix, who could be wavering on his commit to Saban depending on the destination of teammate Dee Hart.

Today, Corey Long of ESPN.com noted of Clinton-Dix and Hart:

Even though he is continuing with his visits, Clinton-Dix remains close with the Alabama program and says he talks to the coaches quite often.

“I call up there at least once a week and see how everything’s going,” Clinton-Dix said. “I think they were down here watching the game.”

Alabama might have a bit of a home-field advantage when the Tide practice in Orlando to prepare for the Capital One Bowl against Michigan State. To make things even better, they will be practice at Dr. Phillips High School.

I’m looking forward to watching them practice a little bit at my high school,” Clinton-Dix said.

Clinton-Dix and teammate Demetrius Hart have always seemed to acknowledge the rumors surrounding them with a wink and a smile. Right now the plan is for both players to take a couple of visits together and that’s all.

However, even though Clinton-Dix committed to Alabama and Hart committed to Michigan, it’s still possible they will end up playing for the same school.

“I’d say it’s about 85 percent,” Clinton-Dix said. “Maybe 90.”

Like you, I affixed the same percentages to the chance that Alabama would never, ever use bowl preparations as cover to provide thousands of dollars in upgrades to a prized recruit’s school facilities along with facilitating an undue opportunity for coincidental contact with a prized recruit and his prospect friend who are said to be on the fence about their school commitments.

All during what is a recruiting dead period.

Darn the luck.

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