Not Even Alabama Can Escape Off-the-Field Problems

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterFebruary 13, 2013

Alabama became the first college football dynasty of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era on Jan. 7, topping Notre Dame 42-14 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., to claim a third title in a four-year span.

Head coach Nick Saban followed that up with the nation's top recruiting class in the team composite index—his third straight mythical recruiting championship in the rankings.

Needless to say, things are going rather swimmingly in Tuscaloosa.

But despite the sustained success, the Crimson Tide aren't immune to the perils of the offseason.

Three Alabama players—safety Eddie Williams, linebacker Tyler Hayes and defensive lineman D.J. Pettway—were each charged with two counts of second-degree robbery on Monday, according to A fourth player, freshman H-Back Brent Calloway, was charged with one count of fraudulent use of a credit card.

Williams was also arrested on Sunday and charged with carrying a pistol without a license.

Saban issued a statement on the situation and the status of the players on Tuesday (via:

The young men charged are indefinitely suspended as we continue to gather information and talk to the appropriate people. The University and football program have strict guidelines regarding issues of this magnitude. This behavior is unacceptable for any student-athlete at the University of Alabama and not representative of our football program.

Even Alabama, seemingly more disciplined than any other team in the country on the field, has players who forget said discipline off the field. 

But this incident is more than a momentary lapse of judgement. It involves a violent crime in which the three players charged with second-degree robbery allegedly assaulted a student and stole his laptop; and another incident in which Williams reportedly assaulted another student and stole his wallet while Hayes and Pettway waited in a car.

This isn't a case of kids being kids. It involves multiple violent crimes against fellow students.

That's not something that should be tolerated within a football program or in our society.

Kevin Scarbinsky of wrote on Wednesday that an indefinite suspension isn't enough and the players should have been immediately dismissed. He also notes that University of Alabama policies will likely prevent Saban from having much of a say in the matter.

I agree on both counts, but certainly understand that procedures have to be followed for that to happen. 

Alabama is the model of success on the field, but even Saban's process doesn't eliminate the possibility of off-the-field issues.

Unfortunately for Saban, he is being forced to deal with some very serious off-the-field issues this week.