Irresponsible. That is the only way you could describe Commercial Appeal columnist Ron Higgins accusation against Nick Saban; Higgins alleged Saban broke recruiting rules by talking with a junior.
Sunday afternoon the recruitâ€™s coach rejected the allegations contained in Higginsâ€™ column. The coach said the recruit and Saban exchanged nothing more than cursory greetings. The coach told the Press-Register, Saban “did it the right way.â€ (H/T: Eight In The Box).
According to the Bama Beat, â€œMalone didn’t commit or receive a scholarship offer during the face-to-face encounter, sources said. He called Saban the day after this year’s Signing Day to commit, and the coach and prospect had a longer conversation at that time. Such contact is permitted.â€
Higgins column does not mention any effort to check with Malone, Maloneâ€™s coach or Alabama about the allegations. The only mention from Higgins about any checking into the allegation before printing it was a call to the SEC office. What did the SEC do? It declined comment. Thanks to the Press-Register, we now know the other side of the story. Was the allegation the work of Higgins’ own imagination or was it a planted item? It would be nice to know.
Higgins is a respected football writer, and was 2008 president of the Football Writerâ€™s Association of America. He should set a higher standard than printing scurrilous attacks on Nick Saban. It might make Tennessee boosters in Memphis feel better about the incompetent coach Lane Kiffin, but it doesn’t foster trust in the media when a newspaper makes an allegation without checking with those involved in the allegation. Isn’t that taught in Journalism 101?