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Big Trouble Looms In Tuscaloosa

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Could yesterday's news ultimately lead to more sanctions for Moore and Bama?

It's no secret that we give Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs hell around here from time-to-time. Judging from the reaction he received in December following the hiring of Gene Chizik as football coach, I thought it would probably be a good idea if he got around the clock security. And no, I'm not kidding. I really feared for the guy's safety. Even today, there are many who would prefer that he exit stage left.

With all of that said, thank God we don't have Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore running the show in Auburn. If you live in the state of Alabama, you undoubtedly heard the breaking news yesterday of the NCAA knocking on the door again in Tuscaloosa. Instead of George Wallace standing in the school house door, it's again Moore standing there trying to explain away another possible major NCAA infraction.

This latest scandal involving textbooks dates back to 2007 and revolves around players improperly receiving textbooks and other supplies (See the post below for the story). Initially, this infraction was thought to be minor. Five players were suspended for four games during the 2007 season. Conveniently, all five players were later declared eligible for the Auburn game and the Independence Bowl. The violations were uncovered after an Alabama Supply Store employee noticed that one athlete had more than $1,600 in charges for the fall semester of 2007.

Case closed? Not so fast my friend.

Yesterday it was revealed that Alabama admitted in its response to the NCAA's notice of allegations that infractions occurred in several sports and that it didn't adequately monitor its distribution of textbooks to athletes. According to NBC Sports, "The NCAA letter, dated May 19, 2008, said the allegations against Alabama were potentially major. They included allowing athletes to improperly receive textbooks and other supplies, failure to monitor textbook distribution and to provide adequate education on the rules to athletes and employees at the university bookstore."

The infractions took place beginning in the 2005 school year and ran through 2007. Why is this important? Alabama was placed on probation on February 1, 2002, which means the school could be punished as a "repeat offender" because the violations occurred within five years of the last probation. Punishment includes loss of scholarships, bowl appearances, television appearances and even possibly the dreaded death penalty.

Now realistically, Alabama is not getting hit with the death penalty. It's just not going to happen. But admitting to not adequately monitoring parts of its program is potentially big stuff. It's not out of the realm of possibility that they could receive sanctions equal to what was handed down seven years ago.

Should that happen, you can be certain that Nick Saban will hit the road. In case you haven't noticed, it's all about Nick. Now there's no indication that Saban is being implicated in any of these admissions of guilt by the Alabama Athletic Department.

The one common denominator in all of this is Moore. He's the bridge that links the two violations together. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting he knew about it while it was happening, but as head of the department it ultimately falls on him. Somebody was not doing their job - again. Don't be surprised to see Moore ultimately pay the price. At the same time keep an eye on Saban; he'll be doing his best Baltimore Colts impression, escaping town in the middle of the night.

It's still great to be an Auburn Tiger.