Official Doc: Winston Mortgage Paid Off In 2009

On April 7, Auburn Rivals website (AuburnSports.com) Publisher Jeffrey Lee reported allegations that suggested NCAA violations may have occurred during the recruitment of University of Alabama football signee Brent Calloway.

Peaches Winston Mortgage Paid Off In 2009

Lee’s allegations included:

- Before Calloway’s last trip to Alabama before Signing Day, the “supporter” is alleged to have made cash payments to Harland “Peaches” Winston, Calloway’s adoptive father.

- Winston received $2,500 from the “supporter” on at least one occasion.

- In addition to the aforementioned payment, Winston was also behind on his house mortgage, but made cash payments to catch up and then asked how much it would be to pay off the mortgage.

The “supporter” was later identified by the TUSCALOOSA NEWS as Russellville resident and Alabama football fan Darren Woodruff. Woodruff also owns the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-based company Petrochem.

On April 12, Jonathan Willis of the FRANKLIN (AL) COUNTY TIMES reported comments made by Winston in response to Lee’s allegations:

Winston and Woodruff denied all allegations that anything improper took place during Calloway’s recruitment.

“My mortgage has been paid off for 15 years,” said Winston.

An official Franklin County, Alabama, Probate Office public document may suggest otherwise. Read more…

Guardian Boosts Case For Bama NCAA Violations

Yesterday I noted the importance of the exact nature of the relationship between Alabama “supporter” Darren Woodruff and new Alabama football signee Brent Calloway.

Brent Calloway Nick Saban

(Woodruff “assisting” in “freshman” Calloway recruitment: Bad news for Bama)

Woodruff is accused of providing extra benefits directly to Calloway while also assisting in the prospect’s recruitment to Alabama.

The latter was confirmed in comments made by Calloway guardian Harland “Peaches” Winston in the MOBILE PRESS-REGISTER today. Worse yet, Winston may have unwittingly verified in his remarks to reporter Izzy Gould of the Press-Register that Woodruff is an Alabama booster:

(Auburn Rivals website reporter) Jeffrey Lee followed his claims with an article Monday, which said Woodruff took Calloway to Florida for two days before national signing day. The action would be considered a violation if Woodruff was a known Alabama booster. Woodruff told Rivals.com he is not an Alabama booster and has no ties to the school.

Winston said the decision to send Calloway with Woodruff was obvious. Woodruff had known Calloway for years and began assisting him with his college recruitment as a freshman.

“It dawned on me,” Winston said. “I called him (Woodruff). I said, ‘Do you mind if you let him (Calloway) go up there, put him in a room?’ I told him (Woodruff) I wanted him (Calloway) to pray, I don’t want him (Calloway) to deal with nobody. He (Woodruff) said, ‘It’s fine, man.’ I said, ‘You come pick him up.’”

Woodruff took Calloway to Florida for two days, Winston said.

“I know as soon as he stepped on the (Russellville) campus the questions would be asked, ‘Where are you going? What are you doing?’ He didn’t need that,” Winston said. “He had a peace of mind when he came back.”

Winston said Calloway informed him of his college choice when he entered his room at 1:45 a.m., on national signing day.

Now for the two critical points of Gould’s Press-Register story - which involve the same passage found in the piece.

1) “Winston said the decision to send Calloway with Woodruff was obvious. Woodruff had known Calloway for years and began assisting him with his college recruitment as a freshman.”

That contention by Winston contradicts how Woodruff characterized his relationship to Calloway in a TideSports.com article on Arpil 9:

Woodruff said he has known Calloway since he was a freshman at Russellville, a year in which Calloway came into Winston’s care and also sat out of football - long before anyone could predict he would be a highly-recruited Division I athlete.

NCAA rules prohibit a person who does not have a “pre-existing relationship” with a young person - that precludes his/her status as a prospective college athlete - from providing that athlete benefits or assisting in that athlete’s recruitment.

Winston, in his remarks about Woodruff to the Press-Register, confirmed that Woodruff had “assisted” him in the college recruitment process of Calloway. In the TideSports.com article Woodruff indicated he had only known Calloway since his freshman year at Russellville, the year Calloway moved in with Winston following his transfer from the Florence High School district.

From that it is virtually impossible to conclude that Woodruff’s relationship with Calloway wasn’t predicated on Calloway’s status as a prospective student-athlete, which rules out a pre-existing relationship between the two.

2) “Winston said the decision to send Calloway with Woodruff was obvious. Woodruff had known Calloway for years and began assisting him with his college recruitment as a freshman.”

From page 84 of the current NCAA rules handbook, here is the NCAA bylaw that defines what confirms a person as a booster - or “representative of Athletic interests“:

13.02.14 Representative of Athletics interests. A “representative of the institution’s athletics interests” is an individual, independent agency, corporate entity (e.g., apparel or equipment manufacturer) or other organization who is known (or who should have been known) by a member of the institution’s executive or athletics administration to: (Revised: 2/16/00)

(a) Have participated in or to be a member of an agency or organization promoting the institution’s intercollegiate athletics program;
(b) Have made financial contributions to the athletic sdepartment or to an athletics booster organization of that institution;
(c) Be assisting or to have been requested (by the athletics department staff) to assist in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;
(d) Be assisting or to have assisted in providing benefits to enrolled student-athletes or their families; or (e) Have been involved otherwise in promoting the institution’s athletics program.

By Winston’s description of Woodruff’s role in Calloway’s recruitment - as characterized by the Press-Register story - Woodruff is a booster who assisted in the recruitment of an athlete who ultimately signed with Alabama.

The same Woodruff who was accused of the following in a report on the Auburn Rivals website AuburnSports.com: Read more…

Calloway Contradicts Alabama’s Innocence Claim?

Last Thursday the Publisher of Auburn Rivals site AuburnSports.com, Jeffrey Lee, reported on a relationship between an Alabama football “supporter” and Alabama recruit Brent Calloway that raised questions about the Crimson Tide’s recent signee. (In a followup report by the TUSCALOOSA NEWS website TideSports.com, that “supporter” was identified as Russellville, Alabama, resident Darren Woodruff.)

Brent Calloway Darren Woodruff

(Brent Calloway and Darren Woodruff)

In Lee’s Thursday report he alleged that Woodruff had provided extra benefits to Calloway in various forms in order to entice the Russellville High School prospect to sign with Alabama.

The allegations included:

1)  “[Woodruff] took Calloway to Tuscaloosa numerous times including the last weekend before Signing Day.”

2) “Following Calloway’s visit to Tuscaloosa that weekend, [Woodruff] drove Calloway out of state, most likely to Florida, and kept Calloway there until returning to Russellville Wednesday for Signing Day.

3) “Before Calloway’s last trip to Alabama before Signing Day, [Woodruff] is alleged to have made cash payments to Harland “Peaches” Winston, Calloway’s adoptive father.

4) “Winston received $2,500 from [Woodruff] on at least one occasion.

5) “[Woodruff] also provided Calloway with a new car, which Calloway drove to school. The first day Calloway drove the new car, it raised enough questions that it was taken back by the end of the day.

6) “[Woodruff] informed Calloway that Calloway would receive $1,200 each month while at Alabama.

After Lee released the allegations last Thursday, TideSports.com later reported that the Alabama NCAA compliance office looked into the situation last Friday and concluded - after a day-long investigation - that no NCAA violations had occurred.

From the TideSports.com report:

UA’s investigation found that Woodruff had a preexisting relationship with Winston, a relationship that dates back 20 years. Woodruff said he has known Calloway since he was a freshman at Russellville, a year in which Calloway came into Winston’s care and also sat out of football - long before anyone could predict he would be a highly-recruited Division I athlete.

In his on-the-record comments to TideSports.com, Woodruff did his best to distance himself from the University of Alabama while contending that his relationship with Calloway had nothing to do with athletics.

The latter is the key point in the entire case - and what Alabama, apparently, based its investigative conclusion on.

If Woodruff’s relationship with Calloway was due to the Alabama signee’s athletic ability, then that would preclude the alleged benefactor from providing benefits to Calloway.

In comments to WNSP radio in Mobile last Thursday, Lee also said of Woodruff:

It’s not a booster, it’s not an alumni of [rival school] but it’s a guy who is very, very involved with the athletics department up there. He’s taken [accused recruit] to [school city] several times before.

If Woodruff is indeed “very, very involved with the athletics department” at Alabama and played a role in Calloway’s decision to sign with the school, that could also implicate Woodruff as a booster. If the NCAA classified Woodruff as a booster and he provided the alleged benefits to Calloway, that would be extremely bad news for Alabama.

On Oct. 28, 2008, high school football reporter Bryan App of the FLORENCE (AL) TIMES-DAILY provided background on what apparently was Calloway’s football-inspired transfer from Florence High School to Russellville High School: Read more…

Auburn Writer’s Allegations Betrayed By The Truth

Today the Publisher of Auburn Rivals site AuburnSports.com, Jeffrey Lee, leveled allegations on Mobile radio station WNSP - and the message board of his own site - of possible recruiting impropriety involving a recent signee of another school’s football program.


(Above: Excerpts of Lee’s allegations on WNSP-AM in Mobile)

The allegations concerned extra benefits provided to the player by a person Lee characterized on WNSP-AM this morning as “a guy who is very, very involved with the athletics department” at a rival school. Though Lee was explicit throughout the radio interview in reiterating that the alleged benefactor was not a booster of the school but a “supporter.”Lee on WNSP:

It’s not a booster, it’s not an alumni of [rival school] but it’s a guy who is very, very involved with the athletics department up there. He’s taken [accused recruit] to [school city] several times before.

Allegations are out there that he has made cash payments to [accused recruit’s father].

That’s just one of what was a litany of serious and oft-specific allegations made today by Lee against the rival school “supporter”, who the AuburnSports.com reporter later called “a big fan, who is extremely involved I guess you could say in [rival school] football.” Read more…