The University of Alabama declined to say anything of substance on the status of football assistant coach Jeff Stoutland and director of football operations Joe Pannunzio. Both men worked for the University of Miami football program that was the subject of a damning Yahoo Sports report on illegal benefits provided to student-athletes.
The University of Alabama Athletic Department released this statement, “The University of Alabama is aware of the story, but we will have no further comment.”
It is an unfortunate, but expected decision.
It is the standard response in this state; too many universities in this state pick the path of no comment rather than openness. In this case, it only fuels intense speculation about what, if any, response the Alabama football program and Alabama head coach Nick Saban could make. Will the men be retained? Will the men be fired? Will the men be subject to rules education to prevent further misconduct? Certainly, the allegations require some response.
Yahoo provided additional information and documentation to buttress the claims in its report. According to Yahoo Sports, “Three sources present at Patchan’s alleged visit to Shapiro’s home confirmed the presence of the recruit and his family, as well as Pannunzio, Stoutland and multiple Miami players.”
Furthermore, Yahoo examined Nevin Shapiro’s cell phone records. According to the report, “Yahoo! Sports was able to identify 422 calls or texts between Shapiro and Joe Pannunzio from 2006 to the booster’s incarceration in April 2010.”
The details are disturbing. Perhaps it is most disturbing for Pannunzio. However, Alabama should let everyone know what it will do in response to these allegations. We know Nick Saban had a response to this story. Why not go ahead and tell us his plan of action? Nick Saban always has a plan. Kind of like Russian sailors.