Anyway, after a gym trip and a Chick-Fil-A run, I finally checked on my google reader feed.
Apparently, this NCAA textbook story blew up at some point during that time -- with the words "major violations" and a possible "lack of institutional control" being bandied about.
First, the particulars: apparently the university met with NCAA investigators two weeks ago by the time you read this -- on Friday, Feb. 20, apparently stemming from the rather bizarre "Textbook 5" incident that occurred prior to the Tennessee game in 2007 (the 5 were suspended, if I recall correctly, until the week prior to the Auburn game).
The particulars are listed here at The Rap Sheet. It's a complex issue, that makes very little sense. OTS has the the skinny on Bama's response. His view of the situation is similar to mine.
I swear, this stuff is almost hard to believe. In the first case, these guys weren't even selling the books back, they were just giving them to friends, and as is my understanding were being charged for doing so (so no freebies were being given out to anyone). If anything, it seems like they were basically giving their books to friends and then paying back the university in return. And then the second "violation" seems to be more aligned with just a technical screw-up by the employees at the book store who just made some honest mistakes when bundling some of the textbooks and materials. Big whoop, a few guys got some test booklets they shouldn't have, or maybe some recommended reading for a class that was technically not required. Aside from the fact that the players received nothing that they really wanted in the first place -- I mean seriously, what kind of undergraduate football player wants the recommended reading for a class? -- they nevertheless paid the university back for every dime of it, in addition to all of the suspensions that they were given.Like OTS, I can't believe this could possibly that big a problem. On the other hand, as someone who lived through the hateful time from 2000-2006, the mere notion of the NCAA sniffing around Alabama's campus makes me feel nauseous (and I'm not even kidding). It's like finding out your buddy who's been out of rehab for 6 months suddenly had a relapse -- anger, betrayal, sadness and pure, abject fear.
Perhaps I'm just being a stupid homer, but this is just hard to fathom how this can be considered a "major" infraction. Could you possibly get any more minor and nitpicky stuff than this? All I can say is that if the NCAA gives us a serious penalty over this junk, we all ought to go to Indianapolis and riot.
I know, I know. Probably nothing.
(I need to keep telling myself this.)
UPDATE: Rapaport finished reading the docs and just posted his interpretation in a nutshell.