The son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was in Tuscaloosa Saturday as the University of Alabama football program hosted its annual junior day for high school prospects in the Class of 2012.
(Credit: SEC Digital Network, Fox Sports South, FSN)
Saturday night the younger Sanders, also named Barry, was seen sitting next to Alabama football coach Nick Saban duing the SEC Television Network-produced broadcast of the Alabama-Arkansas basketball game on Fox Sports South.
While the incidental appearance of recruit Sanders on the Alabama basketball telecast is allowed under NCAA rules, an incident involving the younger Sanders inside the Coleman Coliseum itself during the game was not.
(Bama infraction likely secondary violation and will be self-reported)
Sanders, a highly-touted running back prospect from Oklahoma City, was also shown on the large video board inside the Alabama arena during the first half of the game, which prompted cheers from Crimson Tide fans and a “We Want Barry!” chant to go up in the Alabama student section.
NCAA Rule 13.11.5 (pdf) states:
An institution may not introduce a visiting prospect at a function (e.g., the institution’s sports award banquet or an intercollegiate athletics contest) that is attended by media representatives or open to the general public.
If the offense by Alabama was unintentional, it would likely be classified as a secondary violation by the NCAA. An SEC official who wish to remain anonymous told me today that Alabama is aware of the infraction and will report the violation to the NCAA this week. I’ve been told the school will maintain in its report to the NCAA that the minor offense was unintentional.
Last month Saban was the target of a complaint to the NCAA by Oklahoma State after the coach was photographed as he talked to the same Sanders at the prospect’s high school during a recruiting dead period.
Oklahoma State has subsequently contended that Saban’s contact with Sanders was more than the incidental “greeting” a coach is allowed to have with a player at his high school during the aforementioned recruiting dead period.
Subsequently, Saban reportedly denied he had violated what many call the “Saban” rule, which was instituted by the NCAA in part as a response to past Saban recruiting tactics.