Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day #5-3/4 - Clarifications

My "Glass House Theory" post earlier today was done just after having an exchange with an Au fan. I was somewhat angry and need to make some clarifications regarding that post. While everything I said in the post is what I believe to be true, I did not make one thing abundantly clear that I should have.

When Alabama got in trouble during the Dubose years, I viewed everything much like Au supporters are viewing the stuff I talked about in "Glass House" post. I felt like Au, Ut and a couple of other schools were out for blood and only wanted to shut Bama's football program down. These days, I am of a different mind set. Maybe it is my age, maybe it is the fact that I am about to have a daughter leaving home for college (and yes, it appears that Au is high on her my money very well could be heading to the plains as well. This also weighs heavily on why I want things straightened out). The one thing both Alabama and Auburn supporters have in common is that both sides have lost sight of what is supposed to be happening at each school. When I said I didn't care if it meant every school in the NCAA getting in trouble, I meant it. Right now, the corruption going on with the state of Alabama "Bingogate" and   "Colonial Bank" investigations has caused Au to be brought into the limelight. Not once have I said that Alabama, LSU, UGA or anyone else is squeaky clean, but I do think those schools are making an attempt to move in that direction. If they are not, we may see a thread start up on any one of them similar to "As the Plains Burn." I think the reason for all of the accusations being leveled at Au are justified because of the school's association with so many of the players in "Bingogate" and the Alabama corruption trials. I think Au will continue to be scrutinized until they sever ties with all of these people. It's a classic guilt by association type of thing. In one's personal life, if they chose to hang out with a bunch of convicted felons, even if they are lily white and squeaky clean; they can expect to be considered a felon as well by society at large. It's human nature.

We all need to remember that both Alabama and Auburn are institutions of higher learning FIRST. Their prowess on the football field should be a distant second. I know, that's hard to embrace, but it is why these kids are supposed to be getting their free rides to school. If the allegations I pointed out yesterday do prove to be true, I think many Au supporters will have an Epiphany much like I did after the Dubose tenure. If they are found innocent of any wrong doing, I will dedicate an entire post to nothing but apologizing for being so wrong. At this time, I think I am correct though and I have a right to say it.

Some people have questioned my information. On the very first thread of this blog I plainly stated that I was not 100% accurate. Like everyone else, I get some things wrong. One thing I saw was someone questioning the whole Saban to Bama time frame. I stated that my friend had put Saban coming to Bama about 9 days before it hit the media. I still stand by that as can about 10 other people that were involved in those discussions back then. It makes for a great story and I'll tell you what I remember of it as accurately as possible.

 When Shula was let go, Mal Moore put together teams of former Alabama players and boosters to go after certain targets in the coaching search. At that time there were two factions involved and for the purposes of this article, we will call them the Old Guard and the New Guard. The old guard consisted of people like Billy Neighbors, Joe Namath and Lee Roy Jordan (who were actually the team that was sent after Saban). The new guard had some people like John Hannah involved. I do not know very much about the new guard as for who all was on what "team" but it was obvious that Rich Rodrigeuz was their target. The new guard wanted Richrod, the old guard wanted Saban. Saban was in the middle of attempting to make the playoffs for the Dolphins. There were some discussions with Saban, but he basically told Bama that he wasn't interested and needed to do his job. The old guard team stayed after him, but were basically brushed away. The new guard got Richrod's interest and he came to Tuscaloosa for a visit. If you will remember, it was widely speculated that a deal had been struck paying Richrod in the neighborhood of $2 mil per year. It was at this time that a member of the old guard team was contacted by the Saban camp. Again, Saban was in the middle of trying to get Miami to the playoffs (or could have actually already been a lock for them when this happened. I'm not 100% sure if it was locked in at this time or not). The Saban camp basically relayed that Saban would come, but would not discuss it until after the Dolphin's season had ended. This is where Mal Moore probably made the biggest gamble of his career and it obviously paid off. What I was told is that Saban and Moore spoke with the blessing of the Dolphin's owner (Huzienga I think was his name). Saban had already heard the $ amounts being offered through the old guard team so, he knew what was on the table. I was told that Saban's conversation with Moore was very short and basically consisted of (paraphrased), "I will come, but it will have to be after the Dolphins season is over.You have to trust me." Moore chose to trust him. Okay back to Richrod and his Tuscaloosa visit. As already mentioned, for all practical purposes a deal had been struck with Richrod. Then suddenly Richrod backs out. Message boards went wild with the reason the deal fell through but it seems like the one that got the most attention was that Richrod's wife didn't like Tuscaloosa. That may have been true, but I think Mal Moore made a play that caused him to back out. Ok...from this point out, I am speculating on what Moore did. It was discussed with the same group of ten I mentioned earlier and this was the general consensus. It does not mean this is what happened. I think Moore leaked to Richrod the amount they had offered to Saban in hopes of making him mad and as a result, back out of the job. It worked, Richrod left, the Dolphins lost and Saban came to Bama. Had it not worked, I think Richrod would have come to Tuscaloosa. So technically, the deal to bring Saban was struck right around the time Richrod came to visit Tuscaloosa with his wife. It just wasn't discussed, even behind closed doors until the Dolphins season ended. Anyway, my friend who told me about 9 days before the media hit had been telling me all along that it was going to be Saban. He sounded pretty sure, but didn't tell me to bank it until about that time. That's where my "9 days" statement comes from. There was a lot more to it and I remember thinking at the time that it would make one helluva book.

Ok that's what I was told on the Saban hiring. Was I in the room for any of these discussions? No, but I do believe I am pretty spot on about what happened. If someone knows of something different, feel free to comment this post. I would like to hear it. As I have said all along, if I am wrong on something, I don't have a problem admitting it.


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