Tee Martin Relevant in Alabama's Jones/Ingram Case

David KutschCorrespondent ISeptember 1, 2009

10 Oct 1998:  Quarterback Tee Martin #17 of the Tennessee Volunteers throws during a game against  the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. Tennessee defeated Georgia 22-3. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet  /Allsport

I am first and foremost an Alabama fan.  While I try to remain objective when talking college football, I can’t help but see things through crimson-colored glasses at times.  One of those times is now.

It is quite obvious that there are many fans-of-a-team-that-will-remain-nameless *COUGH* Auburn *COUGH* that are really hoping that the National Coalition Against Alabama (NCAA for short) does something, anything to Alabama with regards to the Julio Jones and Mark Ingram story. 

How sad is the state of affairs at Auburn in such a short time that to beat Alabama, Tiger fans have to hope that the NCAA can interfere once again to give their team the upper hand. 

Really?  Is that what you people think is best for this rivalry? 

Let’s take a look at the facts in the Jones/Ingram case.

Curtis Anderson, who is in no way associated with the University of Alabama, paid for a fishing trip in exchange for Jones and Ingram accompanying him.  Anderson has a degenerative disc disease in his back that has limited his physical activity and reports are that Jones and Ingram actually carried this man around so he could go on the trip. 

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To me—violation in the eyes of the NCAA or not—this sounds like payment for services rendered.  Are student-athletes not allowed to have jobs now either?

I say that with glasses firmly in place. 

Even without them you have to admit that, based on the facts, there does not appear to be any violation on the part of the athletes and the university.  Some reports are leaking that the NCAA has already responded to Alabama and found that there is nothing to investigate. 

The SEC, however, still has the option to suspend the players if they choose to do so.  Something tells me that with an SEC BCS contender going up against an ACC BCS contender right out of the gate, the SEC won’t do anything at all.

Again, said with crimson glasses on.

Anyone remember the Tee Martin case?  You know the one, right?  The NCAA investigated a case in 1999 where $4500 was funneled through Mobile, AL sportswriter Wayne Rowe to UT quarterback Tee Martin on behalf of Mobile, AL insurance agent Diane Sanford who just happened to be a UT fan.  All parties admitted that this transaction took place.  However, because Sanford was in no way associated with Tennessee—just a fan—the NCAA ruled that no violation had taken place. 

While these cases are in no way similar, the ruling in the Martin case bears noting because it is applicable in the Jones/Ingram case.  The intent in the Martin case was in direct violation of the rules, but the same cannot be said for Jones/Ingram. 

It is also important to note that Curtis Anderson is not an Alabama fan.  Regardless, because Anderson is not affiliated with Alabama the NCAA has to rule that there is no wrongdoing on the part of the players or university. 

They do have to, right?

Worry creeps in at this point because the NCAA has already shown willingness to break their own rules in the past in an attempt to prosecute Alabama.  Remember the Albert Means witch-hunt investigation?  That’s an article for another time.

What I am trying to get at here is that on the outside there does not seem to be anything that warranted investigation in the first place.  Is it really a big deal that two boys got to go fishing for a day? 

To me, the bigger story is that these two young men took time out of their schedule to help a handicapped man enjoy himself by catching fish. 

It would seem that the NCAA ruled on cases like this one ten years ago.  This time of year the last thing players need hanging over their heads is the possibility that they might not get to play because of something as innocent as a fishing trip.  Let’s all move forward and prepare to watch two very talented young men play the game they love to play and we fans love to watch.

Auburn fans, your team will just need to find a way to level the playing field through the usual means instead of pinning your hopes on interference from the NCAA once again.

Glasses off.

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