by ITK

You can buy this Nick Marshall signed football right now for $296.10

For some reason, people like buying things that famous people have signed. While this may be strange to some, and pointless to others (including this writer), the autographed memorabilia industry continues to thrive.

Selling such merchandise isn’t illegal, neither by NCAA rules nor in a court of law. For instance, the football pictured is a football signed by current Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall, who still has eligibility remaining at Auburn. According to its website, the company selling the product, Score Memorabilia, obtained the signed football “in-person and witnessed by a authorized agent.” Marshall can’t receive compensation for the sale of the item he signed, but the seller can sell the item for the current price of $296.10.

What was the motivation of Nick Marshall to sign this item for this agent, whom he met in-person, giving this person the opportunity to sell it for three bills while he made nothing?

Out of the goodness of his heart, obviously.

A Nick Marshall signed helmet going for $759

Or if you want a helmet, you can get one here. They have footballs too, though ioffer.com’s price of $359 is higher than Score Memorabilia’s.

Or heck, you want the entire team’s signatures on a helmet, many of whom still have plenty of eligibility left? Just buy it off Ebay here. Here’s a mini-helmet Marshall signed for the much more reasonable price of $69.99. Or you can get a signed 8×10 of Marshall from Vice Authentics for just $44.99.

Have enough Nick Marshall stuff? Get a Sammie Coates glossy for just $25.99.

You can even get a football signed by former Auburn runningback Tre Mason here for $99.99. He’s even shown signing it so you know it’s real. But we know and understand he didn’t receive anything in return while still an Auburn player.

Want to make a wall of memories for Auburn’s magical 2013 season? What better way than to get a signed custom “rookie card” from one of the magicians himself, Ricardo Louis? Or how about a print signed by current Tiger runningback, Cameron Artis Payne? Or get one of Auburn linebacker Kris Frost tackling Johnny Football here for $44.99.

All the players mentioned but Mason have eligibility remaining, so receiving compensation for this signed material would result in NCAA rules violations. But to date there is no proof that this has taken place. And with an NCAA not exactly burning up the roads in trying to head merchandise peddling off, if you want to see a school get in trouble for it, don’t get your hopes up. Last summer the NCAA had Johnny Manziel dead to rights, signing literally thousands of items for a total stranger, yet did absolutely nothing to he or Texas A&M.

Alabama has had its share of merchandise sellers as well. If you want to see this in motion, go to fan day in Tuscaloosa this August. It’s ridiculous. Players and coaches sign scores of helmets, pictures, footballs and other items with no idea where they will end up.

I have a friend who’s an autograph hound who hits the Senior Bowl every year. The lengths some of these autograph brokers will go to to get a signature is unreal. It’s downright shocking, truthfully. Putting children in lines with a football in-hand…a football soon to be sold on eBay or a memorabilia store.

Maybe that’s what happened here with current LSU runningback Alfred Blue. Or this one of LSU receiver Odell Beckam, Jr. (only $39.99!).

Schools have to protect themselves with this jungle of signed memorabilia activity going on. Thankfully Alabama has one of if not the strongest compliance departments in America. With heightened interest in the Bama program in recent years, both from Alabama fans and beyond, it has to. As Alabama athletics department director Bill Battle said just yesterday:

“As part of our ongoing compliance efforts, our compliance department looks into everything that warrants concern. That effort is diligent and all-encompassing, and requires constant communication and education regarding all potential issues.”

And all agree, Bama’s compliance is the best. So much so that when a headline hungry whore seeking clicks for his cheap website made allegations two years ago about a store in Tuscaloosa selling merchandise signed by current Tide players, the Tide compliance department was all over it. Neither the NCAA nor the SEC came calling, because Alabama dealt with the issue and disassociated the individual in question, some seven months before the story came to be.

Why there is a market for this stuff, I can’t tell you. But I can tell you, it’s neither illegal for a player to sign something to be sold, nor for the indvidual selling it to make money off of a signed item he receives…nor for the player to visit the store or even have his picture made with the person selling it. The only illegality from an NCAA standpoint comes from the player receiving compensation for signing it.

So did Nick Marshall get paid for the throngs of autographed memorabilia available to you right this second with a few clicks of your mouse? Possibly. But maybe not.

What is certain though is that proving it is much harder than writing a column about a store that’s open to the public to garner interest in your cheap writing career. Or that rival fans with no lives will continually wish upon a star in hopes that the object of their loathing will finally get theirs.

But hey, that’s what the off-season is for, right?


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

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46 Responses to “BREAKING: Selling autographed merchandise still not illegal” Subscribe

  1. Elite tiger January 17, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    The difference in all of this is, the booster from UA is supposed to be disassociated from the program, but he never was. And if your compliance department was as great as you claim, they would have shut him down long ago. You can put in almost any team players name on EBay and find items for sale. But it cannot be denied that Tom is using current players to market his business. 99.1 fm played a commercial during the summer of that very thing, and it shocked me that he was that brazen about it. Maybe all is on the up and up there, but if that is so, why disassociate him in the first place? The players are going in his store when it is off limits (cough, cough), and they enter through the back door, instead of the front like a customer would. Doesn’t prove anything but it smells of wrongdoing. I am sure he will let any of his customers work on his office computer (another cough). Great try at deflection with this article, but with the addition of one of the, if not the most known cheater in the game to your staff, this coming back up can not be good for Bama. But if DJ getting $45,500 from an agent(and the runners were former players), didn’t draw a look from the NCAA, not to mention HaHa getting money from an assistant, doubt that this will amount to much either. Come back with your Cam comments, but show even 1 document that showed money ever changed hands. Hint: there isn’t one!!

    • Owl January 17, 2014 at 9:47 am #

      Back at you: Can you show 1 document that showed money ever changed hands between Al-Betar and AL players?

    • The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      @elite tiger

      I love how you break it down.

      You realize this store has been there over two years, not two days since you first heard about it from Clay Travis, correct? You didn’t, but now you know. Does it help? Probably not.

      Now, take off the hate for just a second. Think. It’s a store in the mall, blocks from the compliance department itself. Is it possible to be legit? I mean, I get you hate Alabama and you’re still our biggest fan, much like Travis himself, but you’re asking a lot here.

      Or is the only possible answer that Alabama’s stringent compliance department would miss something so damning in plain site across two national championship seasons that all it takes is a Clay Travis blog to bring it down?

      Now try to convince yourself that Alabama isn’t Travis’s own cash cow.

      It doesn’t smell of wrongdoing. For decades (think about that number real quick) they’ve been having players sign autographs in the same mall. I went there with my grandfather plenty of times as a child. Hell, Javier Arenas came back to Tuscaloosa to raise funds selling his autographs after the big tornado and the University of Alabama helped other players join him and maintain compliance.

      This is my favorite part; “Come back with your Cam comments, but show even 1 document that showed money ever changed hands. Hint: there isn’t one!!”

      K, show me even one document that showed money ever changed hands with any Alabama player. That’s fair, right? This is fun!

      But then when you make silly statements like when the store is “off limits” or “only using the back door” I know you’re just being a good Little Brother because you don’t know any of that. I’ll never forget seeing Terrence Cody face-to-face for the first time, right there in the middle of University Mall. Scary. He looked like a champion.

      Roll Tide.

      • ITK January 17, 2014 at 10:34 am #

        MEDIC! We needa medic over here!

      • Elite tiger January 17, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

        The document that shows money changed hands is from Yahoo Sports in regards to DJ Fluker. I know there is nothing that shows Tom paid them. Bama is not that stupid, maybe. I can imagine the reaction on here if Cecil Newton had been in Pasadena or any Auburn game. I am glad he has stayed away. You should want the same for Tom. Yes I know the store has been there, and yes, I know for a fact UA players enter through the back door. By the way, I see nothing wrong with players making money off signed items. But the NCAA does, and that is all that matters.

        • The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

          I thought Cecil Newton was at the title game? It doesn’t matter. They made the rule after Cam left, not before, so let’s please not get into that mess.

          I agree, it matters what the NCAA thinks.

          But the compliance department cares more about what the NCAA thinks than you or I do. Their salaried job is literally to learn and comply with the rules, which includes direct contact with the NCAA initiated on Alabama’s behalf, not often the other way around.

          It doesn’t really matter how much you hate Alabama, it just doesn’t add up that even the worst compliance department would agree. It makes more sense to try to explain why it hasn’t been a problem rather than to explain why a writer who makes money writing about Alabama (and has a similar story every year that nobody else writes?) would expect it to bury them, despite it being so public, especially now after it’s been there so long and….get this…it’s the off season and days before national signing day.

          Hell, if it wasn’t at the same down time of year every time I might not think it was so weird. You don’t think it’s weird that it’s always in the middle of January? Frankly, I think it’s genius.

          Sure, I guess that means I have to go the other route and say it’s possible that not only were all the players paid lots of cash and there’s a paper trail somewhere and the University of Alabama simply chose to knowingly and deliberately do nothing about it.

          But Alabama’s compliance has Alabama’s best interest in mind, so I understand if you think they’d just “keep quiet.”

          How then, despite it being in the open for so many years, does nobody else either notice (including anyone else who hates Alabama and thinks it’s illegitimate) or think anything else was wrong. I just don’t think it’s nearly as likely. For example, I know Auburn fans that live in Tuscaloosa and hate the Crimson Tide who have been at this store. But a guy looking up twitter pictures who makes a living bashing Alabama is more relevant?

          Again, not to sound like a jerk, but I just don’t get it. Frankly, I think Travis is kinda a genius for playing everyone for fools….again. It’s like how the comedian who plays Larry the Cable Guy invented a southern accent; you can’t blame him for it, but it doesen’t mean he’s from the south.

          When someone else runs a similar story, or when recruits start bailing, or when players confess, or just when anything happens other than the same blog telling us the same thing every off-season, let me know. If Clay Travis ever goes to Tuscaloosa to pursue the accusation for himself (to date, he hasn’t, which would only be weird if the accusation here was truly legitimate), let me know. Clay Travis makes money writing about Alabama. It’s his cash cow. And memories are short.

        • ITK January 17, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

          And yet Jovon Robinson’s grades were clearly changed to get him into Auburn, by an Auburn grad in Memphis at his high school, and I don’t mean a little bit……massive grade changes that AU compliance ignored or “didn’t know about”. And yet, nothing happened.

          Get your hopes up if you want Aubie, but I choose to live in reality. It’s a new day.

          • elite tiger January 18, 2014 at 10:31 am #

            Actually it was an ole Miss grad who changed his grades, but let’s not quibble over facts. It was the AU compliance office that caught that the grades had been changed, so once again, let’s don’t let facts get in the way of a good story. Then again, facts always confuse Bammers. I agree that Clay Travis is slime. that doesn’t mean he can’t stumble into the truth from time to time.
            it is interesting to note ESPN hasn’t picked up on the story, but that shouldn’t be a shock. Some facts to follow, so take an aspirin Bama fans, because this might be hard to swallow for you(that is sarcasm by the way). When Yahoo broke the story about DJ Fluker, and having documents he was paid to the tune of $45,500, ESPN kept up their story of Oklahoma State, and rampant cheating(may or may not be true, but I digress), and never mentioned the Fluker story, or if they did, it was in passing.
            Then when Hasean Clinton Dix was suspended for accepting money from an assistant coach(know he was down the totem pole, but still an assistant), when he was re-instated, the blurb at the bottom of the page was “HaHa Dix re-instated after a violation of TEAM(emphasis added) rules.” It wasn’t team rules, it was NCAA rules that were violated. Why would they deliberately mis-lead(lie) like that?
            I don’t know for sure, but if we look at the fact that 3 of their main on air commentators graduated from UA, and 3 of the top executives, including the Vice President of Programming, also graduated from there, we can reasonably piece together why they do not present any of these facts. But when it is the HBO 4, Cam Newton, or anything that may be bad about AU, it is the lead story for days, if not weeks. I am not saying when AU is accused it shouldn’t be the lead story, but it is odd when the shoe is one the other foot, the story doesn’t exist.
            I can’t speak for all Auburn fans, and don’t claim to, but I know of quite a few Auburn fans, who were not pleased with Cecil Newton showing up at the BCS game. I was one of them, and am surprised that the NCAA didn’t get us on that. To not show up at an event, means to not show up at an event. That is true whether it is Cecil, or Tom, or anyone from any school that has been disassociated from the program they represent.
            While we are talking about grade changes, it is revealing to note you left out Josh Chapman and is grade changes at Hoover High. The guidance counselor who changed his grades, when asked why it was done said ” I am not sure why I did it.” I will say that in most of those cases, the person has good intentions. they want to help out the student/player, but they are doing more harm than good. And in the case of Jovon, the grades were changed, changed back, then changed again by an Ole Miss grad. Both of them did wrong, regardless of why they did it, or who they represented. it is a shame the player has to suffer, and not play, when they didn’t know(if they didn’t know.

          • R Phillips January 19, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

            Right, a new day!

            Lane Kiffen here to save the day!!!!

    • ITK January 17, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      Booster?

      Laughable.

    • Kennesawbama January 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

      Bama’s compliance dept. aren’t the police. They can’t force him to do anything. They only made it public to make a statement. AlBetar can do whatever he pleases.

  2. The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    I can’t believe how much I read about the University of Alabama on sites that aren’t dedicated to Alabama, especially following a national championship Alabama didn’t even play in, not to mention actually losing two football games.

    It’s incredible.

    New coach at Texas? Barely a whisper.

    Louisvile hires Petrino back? At least it got published.

    Kiffin to Alabama!? WORLD WAR THREE-LEVEL REPORTING.

    I’m still pretty sure Nick Saban is moving to Austin, TX anyway just judging by the number of people who won’t shut up about it.

    Sorry, got a little off-topic. The only reason people are talking about Alabama memorabilia, coaches, coordinators, lane closures and ice cream specials is because it’s the University of Alabama.

    Roll Tide.

    • Ryan January 17, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Do you realize that, despite being on an Alabama site, the article you are posting on is almost entirely focused on Auburn, LSU, and other schools?

      • The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 11:05 am #

        @Ryan

        Yes, it’s actually deliberate. You see, this is in response to an article written on another site suggesting selling Alabama autographs is illicit and is enough to break the program. Pointing out that it doesn’t just happen at other programs but is also prevalant and includes currently-eligible athletes is the point. Hope that helps. Besides, every story everywhere else is Alabama, isn’t it nice to see something else for our target audience? Lots of LSU and Auburn fans read and visit here.

        • ITK January 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

          Bingo has been called.

    • frank January 17, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

      Well said.

  3. becky January 17, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    The problem with your article is that you obviously didn’t read the NCAA bylaws on autographs.

    Issue 1:
    NCAA Bylaw 12.5.1.1(h): Any commercial items with names, likenesses or pictures of
    multiple student-athletes…may be sold only at the member institution at which the
    student-athletes are enrolled, the institution’s conference, institutionally controlled
    (owned and operated) outlets or outlets controlled by the charitable, educational or
    nonprofit organization…. Items that include an individual student-athlete’s name, picture
    or likeness (e.g., name on jersey, name or likeness on a bobblehead doll), other than
    informational items (e.g., media guide, schedule cards, institutional publications), may
    not be sold.

    Signatures = Names

    Issue 2:
    NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.1: After becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be
    eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual:
    (a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to
    advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or
    service of any kind;

    Note that it says “accepts remuneration for OR permits”…I think it’s safe to say these Alabama players were aware that their names (in the form of their signatures) were being used to promote this man’s business

    Issue 3:
    NCAA Bylaw 12.5.2.1: After becoming a student-athlete, an individual shall not be
    eligible for participation in intercollegiate athletics if the individual:
    (a) Accepts any remuneration for or permits the use of his or her name or picture to
    advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or
    service of any kind;

    Ok, so they disassociated this guy 3 years ago. But CLEARLY the players were aware that their names were being sold, given the photographic evidence that they were in the store where they were being sold. And if the compliance office is the “best”, as you claim, they were most certainly aware that this was still going on. Yet it was allowed to continue until Clay Travis called them out yesterday.

    Even if these kids didn’t accept any money themselves (which, while probably too difficult to prove, is unlikely), it’s still an NCAA violation.

    So is it illegal in a court of law? No way. Do you run the risk of a kid becoming ineligible because you sold his autograph? 100% yes.

    Is it a stupid rule? Yes. But it is a rule nonetheless.

    • The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      I see you read Clay Travis’s article, but did you read the article here you’re commenting on? Why not make all the same assumptions about all those players at other schools?

      The answer is writing about Alabama makes more money. Count the number of articles Clay Travis writes or publishes that don’t mention Alabama. It’s his cash cow.

      Again, and in particular because it’s so out in the open and for such a long time, I don’t buy it just because Clay Travis says so during this and every off-season. While I can read the bylaws and understand the rules like anyone else, I don’t get paid to do it as a full-time career. I just don’t think I know better than any compliance department member about the rules at any school, including Alabama, especially because this isn’t the first time we’ve heard the same accusation from the same Alabama profit-writer…and nowhere else.

      Besides, it’s not like Clay Travis, ESPN, ABC, et al, don’t also use Alabama players’ pictures to “advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.” You say potato, I say potato, and Clay Travis says, “thanks for the revenue, Alabama.”

    • ITK January 17, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

      It is a rule, Becky, and I don’t disagree. I only argue that the NCAA doesn’t care about these bylaws as much as you do. The proof is/was in the Johnny Manziel pudding. The kid should’ve never seen the field this season, yet for his egregious acts he was penalized a half…against Rice. Come on. Nothing to see here.

      • becky January 17, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

        ITK, no need to put words in my mouth. I don’t personally care at all about the bylaws, as I said in my post, it’s a stupid rule.

        And you’re right that the NCAA doesn’t seem to care and/or subjectively enforces rules (a hallmark of the NCAA, which is why it’s such a joke).

        But your article explicitly said that it isn’t illegal under the NCAA to do these things and I merely meant to point out that technically it is.

        • The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

          I think the point is addressing the difference between being against the law and against NCAA rules. A college quarterback could make trillions selling his own autographed jock straps but it wouldn’t be against the law, just NCAA rules, absolutely.

          • becky January 17, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

            I don’t know that anyone’s claiming it’s against the law (if they are, they’re wrong). But since the article claimed it was also not against NCAA “law”, I provided evidence to the contrary.

    • interested observer January 19, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

      From August 2011:

      ““There would be no eligibility consequences for the student-athlete as long as they did not have any knowledge and the school issues a cease and desist notice,” says Stacey Osburn, NCAA spokesperson.”

      “12.5.2.1 is not intended to prohibit businesses from displaying memorabilia, nor is it intended to prohibit current student-athletes from signing autographs. It is intended to prevent current student-athletes from jeopardizing their eligibility by selling their autographs or receiving remuneration for endorsing a particular product or service,” said another NCAA source who asked not to be identified.”

  4. becky January 17, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

    “Besides, it’s not like Clay Travis, ESPN, ABC, et al, don’t also use Alabama players’ pictures to “advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind.”

    – there is a part in that 2nd clause that says media can use those items. I left it out because it wasn’t pertinent.

    Anyway, I did read the article. My point wasn’t that all of those other players weren’t also in a situation where their eligibility could be questioned, my point was just that this statement, ” Selling such merchandise isn’t illegal, neither by NCAA rules nor in a court of law.” and this statement, “The only illegality from an NCAA standpoint comes from the player receiving compensation for signing it.” are totally false.

    But since you bring it up, surely you can see the difference between various signed items popping up from a few sellers on the Internet
    than when you have seasons and seasons of players from the same team who all have an odd relationship with the same middle-aged business man, & according to photographs spend a significant amount of time in his store WHERE items they signed are sold? And the same guy claims that “fans” bring him game-worn merchandise?

    Now, I’m not saying he did or did not pay those players for autographs & merch. To my knowledge there’s no proof either way. And according to the by-laws it technically doesn’t really matter either way. I’m just saying it looks bad from an outside perspective.

    • The Conduit January 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

      Just a few sellers? There are sellers making a living off merchandise. It’s not like they’re all one-off guys selling the one thing they got signed. Again, the point is that it’s everywhere. I think it’s just that simple. It’s not just a guy who goes to senior day and gets a hat signed or something. The fact that the same guy writes everything about Alabama doesn’t seem coincidental to me, it seems more logical actually, just like this not doing anything the last time, the time before, the time before that, etc.

      Otherwise, the assumption has to be that any team’s compliance office could be that blind, deaf, dumb and wrong (nevermind the players themselves). I don’t buy it. I get the argument, I just don’t think it makes more sense each time it comes up from the same guy who makes a living doing it.

      Let me ask you this; you don’t have to like any Saban-coached player, but don’t you think any of them would be terrified of coach finding out they did something that’s allegedly so wrong? And does that not make it more logical that is isn’t the case? Or is Saban part of the conspiracy here with all the deaf, dumb, blind and wrong compliance officials? Sorry, I’m not buying it, for more reasons than to reconsider the same thing we’ve seen before from the same guy.

      • becky January 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

        Of course people make a living off of it. And I’m sure many team’s players are getting paid for autographs. But in the example given for Nick Marshall, the items are scattered around at different places, thus, “a few sellers”.

        That’s a different scenario than one business man having the obviously close relationships he has with almost every top Bama player over the last few years, and pretty much exclusively selling THOSE players memorabilia. And your average person does not have access to that many items actually worn/used in-game. I’m sorry, it’s a tough sell to convince a reasonable person that players are giving random fans their personal uniforms, etc on A day and all of those different fans think to themselves, “I know! I’ll take this to T-Town Menswear!” Whether something fishy is going on or not, it really, really appears that way.

        IF there was another situation with memorabilia as blatant and seemingly outlandish as this, I imagine that Clay Travis or some blogger and/or media outlet would have shed some light on it. And it’s not like Clay Travis made his story up. Yes, he said it would only make sense that these guys were paid, but that’s his opinion and he states it as such. I also think a lot of what is interesting here is that this guy was disassociated and instead of complying, actually ratcheted up his memorabilia sales with the addition of a website at some point. While not directly related to any potential violation, the defiance is unbelievable.

        Just to clarify, I don’t dislike any players because they are “Saban’s players”. I think AJ McCarron has stupid tattoos, but that’s neither here nor there.

        As far as the compliance office goes, I said earlier, “And if the compliance office is the “best”, as you claim, they were most certainly aware that this was still going on.” But if you think that players on ANY good football team are not getting improper benefits in one way or another, you’re delusional. It happens EVERYWHERE. People just get over-defensive when their own program comes under fire. Saban does what he needs to do to keep his players happy and continue getting top recruits. And if that means turning a blind eye to a few things and covering things up to protect his players, you better bet he does it. And he’s not the only coach doing it. Is he covering for his players regarding this Tom thing? Who knows. But it’s certainly not out of the question for a coach to do such a thing.

        • ITK January 18, 2014 at 8:48 am #

          Becky, you make good points, but a few things if you’ll allow me, and I don’t mean to patronize you by using your quotes, but have to in order to offset your thinking:

          “That’s a different scenario than one business man having the obviously close relationships he has with almost every top Bama player over the last few years,”

          You can make the assertion that this guy has “obviously close relationship with almost every top Bama player” just from photographs? If that’s the case I have close relationships with them too, as well as George W. Bush, Lionel Richie and Shakira (who is hot in person, by the way). Does the man have a business that thrives on gaining items signed by Bama football players, yes. But does this (or photos) automatically mean a “close relationship” with these players, and everything the mind allows you to adjoin to that? That’s not a slam dunk as you painted it to be.

          “And your average person does not have access to that many items actually worn/used in-game.”

          Your average fan doesn’t live in Tuscaloosa, literally steps from these players. I once parked at University Mall for a game and walked to Bryant-Denny Stadium, passing the football facility about 2/3 of the way there. He has tremendous proximity that supercedes most “fans”. Who knows how he got these items. For one, are the items legit, REALLY used in games? It’s a tougher sell convincing anyone of that, and proving it to boot.

          “it really, really appears that way.”

          Which is what Bama haters thrive on in a story like this. There is often way more to a story or situation than appearances. I don’t know if you’re a Bama hater or not, and don’t really care, but the more you are floored by the way things “look” the more hope you seem to have that it’s true.

          “IF there was another situation with memorabilia as blatant and seemingly outlandish as this, I imagine that Clay Travis or some blogger and/or media outlet would have shed some light on it.”

          I don’t know if you’re familiar with Clay Travis, but let me enlighten you. He is a douchebag who hates Alabama more than he loves life itself. He is a self-proclaimed, unapologetic Tennessee fan, which in and of itself instills a hatred for Alabama with a foundation several decades old. He is ANYTHING but an impartial journalist. The seven game losing streak doesn’t help, but what has really gotten under his saddle is the fact that the man whom he trumpeted as the savior of his beloved program (Lane Kiffin) when there left UT after just one year, literally in the cover of night for greener pastures….and is NOW in Tuscaloosa…the object of his hate.

          So, to suggest he is a noble, impartial journalist on the hunt for all things good and true is hysterical. Witch hunts look at his agenda against Alabama and say “Dang, that guy needs to chill.”

          “I also think a lot of what is interesting here is that this guy was disassociated and instead of complying…”

          Stop right there. Disassociated means UA takes no funds from him. They give him no foothold in the program. To suggest that means he has to comply, on HIS end, means you don’t have a basic understanding that UA has no jurisdiction over him. The only thing they can do is hit him for license infringement, which legally they may or may not be able to do because of discrimination laws that aren’t as black and white as you and I might think they should be. I’m not beating up on you here, but get it in your mind that UA can’t force this guy to act, one way or the other.

          “While not directly related to any potential violation, the defiance is unbelievable.”

          I agree. But again, UA has not control over his actions. The guy sees an opportunity and he’s gone after it. That does NOT however mean UA has done anything wrong.

          “As far as the compliance office goes, I said earlier, “And if the compliance office is the “best”, as you claim, they were most certainly aware that this was still going on.” But if you think that players on ANY good football team are not getting improper benefits in one way or another, you’re delusional.”

          I agree in part, but knowing something is going on and being able to stop it altogether are two different things. Sometimes it’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. I’ll say it’s just as wrong to assume that all good football players are receiving improper benefits as it is to assume they aren’t. Some are doing it the right way, and I would argue that more are doing it right than those who aren’t. Human cynicism sometimes leads a person to color between dots that aren’t necessarily there.

          “Saban does what he needs to do to keep his players happy and continue getting top recruits. And if that means turning a blind eye to a few things and covering things up to protect his players, you better bet he does it.”

          This is an incredible reach based on nothing but your opinion. You have no way of defending this thought with basis or fact. Your bias splattered all over the screen with this statement.

          “Is he covering for his players regarding this Tom thing? Who knows. But it’s certainly not out of the question for a coach to do such a thing.”

          I’m sure Saban sees the huge task at hand of steering his players away from these kind of situations. Has anyone spoken out against predators of football players in recent years MORE than Coach Saban? I challenge you to name one. So is he doing one thing then in the cover of darkness calling this guy to set up signings for his players? Come on Becky.

          The inference of wrong doing based on appearances is simply an irresponsible misjudgement. If this case were to go to a court of law your argument would be shredded like a dying oak meeting a saw mill.

  5. AUtiger47 January 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Bingo!! Hammer, meet nail head.

    • frank January 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

      fuck you idiot. hate noted.

    • frank January 17, 2014 at 4:54 pm #

      you barners hook up with a tenn freaks. stupid barners.

    • ITK January 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      The only way it’s ever going to be an issue is if the NCAA can find stone cold evidence that a player was paid for his John Hancock and that is not easy. Players hanging out and looking around in T-town Mensware is nothing.

      So, hammer “miss” nail, actually. Rinse and repeat, over and over again..

      • almightytmc1 January 18, 2014 at 2:08 am #

        Say WHAT!?!!!
        Players going to malls and sports shops? Say it ain’t so!!! What is wrong with young people these days?

  6. almightytmc1 January 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

    It amazes me that we are having this conversation about a Clay Travis piece.
    Anyone who knows anything about Clay Travis knows that he makes his money in half truths, innuendoes and truthiness.
    Every major school sells signed objects. And there are a lot of people out there who buy, collect and sell sports memorabilia. And they make pretty good profits whilst doing it.
    As long as there is no proof that the players themselves are profiting from this, common sense dictates there is no noteworthy issue here. And of course, Clay Travis pathetic.

  7. RC January 18, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    There’s no actual firsthand “proof” that DJ Fluker accepted anything either BTW, for all the legal “scholars” out there. The NCAA cannot throw down the gauntlet without FIRSTHAND ORIGINAL documentation from the ACTUAL parties involved. The NCAA does not operate like the criminal justice system when it comes to an admissable evidence. PDF files you and I can see and print from the ‘Net is not admissable to the NCAA alone. Do any of thrse Auburn fans know anything about business law and its application with NCAA bylaws? Of course not

  8. peachy January 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    And the NCAA investigation has more to look into. This thing is going to be surprising when its over.

    • RC January 19, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

      are you that stupid to believe the NCAA will mess with Saban? If you reply “textbooks” you are stupid

    • The Conduit January 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

      Um, what NCAA investigation?

      There is no NCAA investigation, Nick Saban is not living in Austin, TX, Lane Kiffin had not been fired and pretty much everything that site says about football at the University of Alabama is inaccurate.

      • ITK January 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

        Shhhh….Conduit. You’re breaking this person’s fantasy….

  9. Elite tiger January 20, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    Wanted to correct something I said earlier. The store had been declared off limits to the players. I thought it had, and if Saban is smart, he will make it that way. Normally when one is banned from a program, that means no contact will exist in the future. But CNS decided to allow them to keep going there. That is not wise on his part. Kellen Williams said Tom is a bad guy, and he had no dealings with him. That eliminates the speculation of wrong, if none of the players ever go there. Tom is the one who posted most of the photos, so he has no one to blame but himself. For the record, I am not saying CNS is not smart, so don’t take it that way, as some have probably already done.

    • ITK January 20, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

      Good points Elite Tiger. I only differ in saying there’s a difference between allowing players to keep going there and being able to do anything about it. Too often a coach doesn’t find out until after the fact. We saw Bama suffer an end to 2013 because some players weren’t available for play because they were a’fixed in Saban’s doghouse. If Kenyon Drake gets five carries in the 4th qtr against Auburn we convert 1 of the 3 3rd/4th and 2’s. I suspect somewhere along the way you have to develop a hierarchy of things that put you there, and maybe this offense has been downgraded. You have to be able to eventually field a team, you know.

    • The Conduit January 20, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

      Didn’t Saban say it wasn’t off limits, or at least that he didn’t see any reason to make it exactly that?

      And didn’t the same guy responsible for this story say Saban was coaching at Texas?

      I sure do miss Saban.

      I’m tired of this story. Frankly, this is a time to be excited for all college football fans with signing day coming up. Especially Alabama fans. Roll Tide.

  10. Elite tiger January 21, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    Saban did say it wasn’t off limits. That is unwise IMO, because there has been/ is a problem with Tom. Nick can do what he wants, but if I was an Alabama fan, it would concern me when a problem exists, and my coach did nothing to put an end to it. Thank goodness I am not a Bama fan, nor will I ever be one. Friends in 2012 told me that a problem existed at AU, and I didn’t want to believe it, because that is my school. Some of the same overall signs exist here, though it is a different situation. Take that for what is worth.

    • ITK January 21, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Make this distinction: There “is a problem” with it according to Clay Travis and other douchebags looking for website clicks and cheap headlines.

      If compliance has looked into it and Saban hasn’t built fences around his team from this guy, there isn’t a problem with it. Believe me, he has a better finger on the pulse of that situation than you or I.

    • The Conduit January 21, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      It’s not that I don’t want to believe “it,” if that’s what you’re suggesting.

      But you’re saying Nick Saban said things that not only he didn’t say, but he explicitly said the exact opposite. Let’s start there.

      “You know, I guess I could ban our players from the place but until somebody can sorta convince me that somebody is doing something wrong – which I haven’t been convinced of yet – I don’t know if that’s fair to our players.”

      Either something hasn’t debunked another one of Clay Travis’s rumors yet or Alabama and Nick Saban are in the middle of the most blatant plain-sight benefits scandal in the history of all sport. I don’t think anyone actually thinks Saban is that stupid no matter how much they hate him and the University of Alabama.

  11. Elite tiger January 21, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    If you read my last 2 posts, you would see I corrected where I said Saban had declared T town Menswear or Gallery off limits. When I find out I am wrong, I admit it. That is not hate as you like to say. That is making sure my facts are right. As said before by me, maybe nothing wrong is going on, but it looks that way from the outside. You can deny that, but to quote a lot of Bama fans , “Where there is smoke, there is usually fire.” And there is a ton of smoke at UA. If none of you want to admit that, that is fine.

    • The Conduit January 21, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

      Where there is smoke there is fire?

      Listen. When Cam Newton finished his eight months in Auburn the NCAA created the new rule that would have made him ineligible. It wasn’t a rule, now it is.

      The difference here is first there’s no NCAA investigation. You can say the NCAA is in bed with Alabama or Emmerit and Saban are BFF’s, but the absence of any kind of NCAA investigation means more than zero. It’d be one thing to suggest Alabama and Saban once again had no idea about any of this, but to also say the same about the NCAA is an even bigger stretch. If the NCAA knows about it and there is no investigation, where’s the smoke?

      Are recruits bailing? Are reporters investigating? Is anyone talking about this story other than the guy who makes more money bashing Alabama than writing about anything else, the same guy who roots for a team who was once coached by Alabama’s new offensive coordinator? The timing certainly doesn’t seem inconsequential.

      Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and where there’s Clay Travis there’s usually nothing accurate about the University of Alabama.

      “There is a ton of smoke at UA.” No, there is not. It’s one thing to say there’s smoke for this story coming up again, it’s another thing to say there’s a ton of fishy stuff going on at the University of Alabama.

      However, if it helps, Alabama does have an outstanding compliance department. I say that only to preface that you’ll almost certainly get an official statement from the University of Alabama’s compliance department itself about this story soon enough. I won’t expect all doubt to be removed after the statement is released, but until then, or recruits start leaving and the NCAA announces any kind of an investigation, I think it’s more likely there isn’t fire. Maybe I’m a homer, but I’d still say Alabama’s compliance department is a better source of information than Clay Travis.

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