BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — If you were the NCAA, at which football program would you have the most investigators?
As I prepared to cover the annual Southeastern Conference Football Media Days, which begins today here in Birmingham, that was the question asked of me by one of bosses.
Even with Southern Cal still dealing with the massive fallout from the Reggie Bush mess and Florida currently embroiled in a potential agent scandal involving Maurkice Pouncey, Alabama still gets my vote as college football’s most consistently dirty program.
If I were king of the NCAA, I would not only saturate Alabama with investigators, I would set up a branch office in Tuscaloosa.
In Alabama, cheating is as much a part of the football lore as the houndstooth hat worn by Bear Bryant and that purty dress worn by Mike DuBose’s secretary.
Alabama has seen it all over the last 20 years. Shady loans. Athletes illicitly accepting cash payments from agents and boosters. Multiple probations. Postseason bans. Scholarship reductions. Lack of institutional control. You name it, the Crimson Tide has done it.
Welcome to Alabama, where the NCAA probations are nearly as prevalent as national championships. Actually, in the last decade, Alabama has recorded more NCAA probations (three) than it has national titles (one).
It should also be noted that the iconic Bear Bryant may not have ever been caught cheating himself, but he tutored some of college football’s biggest outlaws.. Charley Pell, Pat Dye, Danny Ford and Jackie Sherrill all were Bear disciples who went on to provide some of the most unique interpretations of the NCAA rulebook in the history of college football.
Alabama’s rallying cry should be, “We Lied!”
And maybe, too, Alabama should get rid of its elephant mascot and replace it with a pig.
What better animal to symbolize the dirtiest, stinkiest program in recent NCAA history.