Ala. Notified of NCAA Investigation

Thursday, February 22nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The University of Alabama was formally notified Thursday that the NCAA is investigating allegations of recruiting violations in its football program.

The NCAA's preliminary letter of inquiry said it is investigating whether university representatives offered inducements to prospective players and provided extra benefits to those enrolled from 1997 to 2000, as well as ``potential academic impropriety.''

``The University of Alabama fully intends to continue its aggressive investigation of any issues involving rules compliance, working closely with NCAA officials,'' university President Andrew Sorensen said in a statement. ``Our goal is to get to the bottom of these matters as quickly as possible.''

The letter, sent to Sorensen by NCAA enforcement chief David Price, forbade Alabama officials from discussing specifics of the investigation, which doesn't include any of the current football coaches.

The period in question covers the four seasons when Mike DuBose was head coach of the Crimson Tide. He was forced to resign at the end of last season, when Alabama finished 3-8.

Price indicated investigators hoped to complete the investigation by June.

The letter said ``information has been reported'' indicating former Alabama coaches knew of, or were involved in, some of the alleged violations which would put them afoul of the NCAA's unethical conduct legislation.

No specific names or episodes were cited.

The NCAA and Alabama officials have been investigating claims that a Memphis high school coach received $200,000 from Alabama boosters when defensive lineman Albert Means enrolled last year.

Former Trezevant High School assistant coach Milton Kirk has said his former boss, Lynn Lang, received the money from representatives of Memphis businessman Logan Young, an Alabama booster.

Lang and Young have denied the allegations and questioned Kirk's credibility.

The Tuscaloosa News, citing university phone records obtained through a public records request, reported Thursday that former Alabama assistant Ivy Williams had made six calls to Young's business answering service from December 1999 through February 2000.

That included two calls on signing day, one of which lasted eight minutes.

Williams declined to comment on the phone records, citing the NCAA investigation. Young told the newspaper that he ``probably called Ivy to see if we got everybody we were trying to sign'' and that Williams was likely returning his calls.

Means, who is not accused of any wrongdoing, enrolled at Alabama last fall but withdrew and enrolled at the University of Memphis this month after learning of the allegations.

The Birmingham News has reported the recruiting investigation also includes questions about tuition payments for several players attending an expensive prep school in Connecticut.

Faculty Athletics Representative Gene Marsh had instructed former recruiting coordinator Ronnie Cottrell and DuBose in August 1999 to stop referring recruits to the prep school.

The Birmingham News quoted two sources as saying Marsh was concerned about Milford because he believed the prep school had a reputation as a college eligibility factory. He also believed it raised questions about how recruits could afford the $19,000 per-year tuition.

Cottrell has declined comment, citing NCAA rules prohibiting him from discussing the current investigation. But Tyler has said Cottrell had nothing to do with him attending Milford.

The NCAA is required to update the status of an investigation within six months of the preliminary letter Since Alabama has been on probation twice in the past decade, the university cannot request a quick resolution.