Should Mal Moore go? Should Alabama appeal?

Editor’s note: This mailbag idea started as one post, but the answers ended up being longer than I anticipated. I’m breaking them down into smaller posts for your reading pleasure.
Q: Should Mal Moore go? Should Alabama appeal?
Two questions asked several times this week, and I’ll be honest, I’ve thought about both issues for some time.

Should Mal retire? The easy answer is to shout YES. However, the problems within the athletic department are more systemic to the bureaucrats rather than leadership issues. Taming a bureaucracy is tough for anyone, but Alabama’s entrenched athletic department staff needs a serious overhaul.

Tim Gayle writing in the Montgomery Advertiser pointed out this, “Sure, this person was in charge of checking the student ID numbers against the master sheet and that person was in charge of making sure the player was on scholarship and eligible to obtain the aid, etc. But isn’t there one person in the university who could glance at the sheet and raise a red flag when they saw a 30 percent spike? That’s a hard fact to ignore and I’m sure that one had a higher priority in the committee members’ eyes than Alabama’s status as a repeat offender.”

This is the problem within the athletic department. Would improved oversight solve this problem? I’m not so sure it would. It couldn’t hurt, but when Alabama’s athletic department would rather use its time suing famed artist Daniel Moore than working with the artist, it tells you all you need to know about the culture in the AD. Bureaucrats only do what they want to do.

Would firing Mal solve this?

Did Ronald Reagan get total control of the runaway federal bureaucracy?

I’d prefer Alabama’s leadership look at the troublemakers within the athletic department before running off Mal Moore. I think several athletic directors in the post-Bryant years have been unable to solve the problems within the AD staff. On the whole, Moore’s tenure hasn’t been that bad. Every football hire made sense. Dennis Franchione was a hot coach, and a very respectable hire. Mike Price was a reputable coach in the PAC-10. Mike Shula was an emergency hire, and given the situation made sense. Moore even made the difficult decision to fire Shula. Moore hired a promising basketball coach in Anthony Grant this year.

Moore has problems, but the athletic department’s problems go much deeper than any chief executive. Let’s address that and then reconsider Moore’s status.

It could be argued the failure to tame the bureaucrats is a leadership problem. I won’t dispute that now; however, this has been a problem for the entire post-Bryant era, and likely needs the attention of the president.

As for the appeal, meh.

I’d probably have skipped the appeal, but when you have armies of lawyers and about a $100 million checkbook, why not.

The 2007 vacated wins seem to be the biggest point of discussion. Again, to Gayle’s column in the Advertiser, “Had the NCAA told Alabama to suspend the players indefinitely pending the outcome of the investigation, I would have no problem with vacating the five wins. But after looking at the evidence and handing down a verdict of a four-game suspension, the players were allowed to come back and play Auburn and Colorado. The Colorado win is not on the list of games Alabama is asked to vacate.”

The problem here is that the players were ineligible until they served the suspension. Therefore, the players were ineligible to play during those five wins earlier in the season. I don’t see grounds for an appeal here; the point isn’t that Alabama endured punishment, the point is the players were ineligible until declared re-eligible by the NCAA. I don’t buy the whole competitive benefit argument from the NCAA. I would have a much higher level of comfort with vacation of wins or forfeits in cases where the universities actually knew of the ineligibility.

A school should only be punished when it actively breaks the rules in an effort to gain a competitive advantage. When you play a player you know to be ineligible that is much different from retroactively declaring a player ineligible, as in this case.

The University should be penalized for its failure to monitor; however, a far better penalty would be a higher fine on the institution’s athletic department.


Add Yours
  1. 1
    E.G White

    Absolutely we should appeal! But they need to include the extended probation and new 5 year window, not just vacated wins. The probation is horribly dangerous. There is just too much hanky panky going on from within and without, and too many ruthless enemies in the SEC. To my mind vacated wins are secondary to extended danger! Irregardless, I think the punishment as a whole is far too severe for the non-crime commited. The only justification for the severity of this punishment is by saying that Bama is a repeat offender. However, for this to be a valid reason, you first have to agree that Bama was a repeat offender. To this argument I DO NOT AGREE! To be a repeat offender the university would first have to be knowlegeably involved in an illegal activity which would actually give them a competitive advantage. The facts of this case do not prove that. In fact they show exactly the opposite. The reality is that the COI had no business being involved in or handing down penalties for an Alabama internal episode. Therefore, without a violation there is no repeat offender and therefore the penalty is extremely excessive! As for ‘Malfunction Moore’, I don’t think he should be booted. He has been far too valuable to the University monetarily speaking. However, I do think he should be replaced by someone younger with a 100% commitment to the betterment of the athletic department, and Mal needs to be given a more benign position. But the issue of Cronyism within the athletic administration has got to be addressed – and NOW!!! RTR!

  2. 2

    As an outsider I dont think Firing Moore would solve anything, But talking to bammers and listening to bammers I think most of yous want him gone.

  3. 3

    to answer the question about moore one must answer this question honestly:

    can you envision mal moore running a fortune 500 company??


  4. 4

    Am I missing something here?…of could an appeal make this worse?

    University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
    Public Infractions Report
    June 11, 2009
    Page No. 10
    The Committee on Infractions advises the institution that it should take every precaution to ensure that the terms of the penalties are observed. The committee will monitor the penalties during their effective periods. Any action by the institution contrary to the terms of any of the penalties or any additional violations shall be considered grounds for extending the institution’s probationary period or imposing more severe sanctions or may result in additional allegations and findings of violations.
    Should any portion of any of the penalties in this case be set aside for any reason other than by appropriate action of the Association, the penalties shall be reconsidered by the Committee on Infractions. Should any actions by NCAA legislative bodies directly or indirectly modify any provision of these penalties or the effect of the penalties, the committee reserves the right to review and reconsider the penalties.
    Britton Banowsky
    John S. Black
    Melissa (”Missy”) Conboy
    Paul T. Dee, chair
    Eileen K. Jennings
    Dennis E. Thomas

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