Disassociated Alabama Booster Continues to Own Bama Program
Remember our old friend Tom al-Betar, the owner of T-Town Menswear, a shady suit and Alabama memorabilia store, in the local Tuscaloosa mall?
A couple of years ago Alabama disassociated the booster from the program after he sold lots of player autographs. Alabama argued -- wink and nod -- that the players had no idea their autographs were being sold.
So what's on the front page of the website?
Autographed jerseys from AJ McCarron, TJ Yeldon, and Amari Cooper.
Two of these guys are current players for the Crimson Tide.
That's an NCAA violation.
Displaying the jerseys in this manner is also a direct violation of the requirements Alabama laid out in this disassociation letter that it sent nearly three years ago to Al-betar.
In its letter disassociating him from the program Alabama instructed Al-betar as follows, "You should refrain from obtaining any items of memorabilia from our student-athletes, including used equipment and apparel. You should also refrain from obtaining autographs from our student-athletes when they are in your store."
Despite Alabama's hectoring letter, Al-betar didn't just "refrain from obtaining any items of memorabilia from our student-athletes," he opened a memorabilia store designed to sell these objects!
Just scroll through the products available for sale here -- whether it's the gloves that Christion Jones wore in the Virginia Tech game -- just $1200, but you can get his game-worn signed cleats for just $950 -- Kenyan Drake's LSU game gloves, also just $1200 -- there are also Drake jerseys and cleats for sale -- or Vinnie Sunseri's gloves from Texas A&M. Heck, how about CJ Mosley's gloves too, also from the big Texas A&M game.
How about TJ Yeldon jerseys and signed gloves too?
He's got that too.
But maybe you're thinking, screw that, I need the whole 2012 team's autograph on a helmet.
Heck, even if you aren't a top player, you've probably got gear for sale too.
By my count there are 11 currently eligible Alabama players selling game-worn gear on this site.
That list includes TJ Yeldon, Amari Cooper, Caleb Castille, Deion Belue, Christion Jones, Jeoffrey Pagan, Dee Hart, Kenyan Drake, Adrian Hubbard, Xzavier Dickson, and Kenny Bell.
All eleven of these players didn't just sign autographs, they signed either jerseys, cleats, wristbands, or gloves.
Some signed all four.
It's amazing how eleven of these Alabama players are kind enough to just give away their gear for free to a memorabilia store owner.
They're so nice!
I'm sure they had no idea it would be put up for sale.
And I'm sure they're getting nothing for it either.
Just the sweetest boys possible.
Al-betar seems to have a very good relationship with bunches of Alabama players, including quarterback AJ McCarron, who even liked to hang out in the store with his girlfriend Katherine Webb.
AJ's in at least 13 or 14 different outfits, meaning he made a regular habit of signing autographs and hanging out in a mall store that then sold his autographs.
He even brought his mom by.
That's completely normal, right?
I mean, raise your hand if you weren't friends with an old guy who ran a mall store while you were in college.
There's nothing to see here at all.
Move right along.
Alabama's compliance office has got this covered.
They're on it, guys.
Look, I don't begrudge any player getting paid for his autograph, but if you don't think it's hysterical that a mall-store owner in Tuscaloosa holds Nick Saban's entire legacy in the palm of his hand, you aren't a college football fan.
If Al-betar ever talked, Nick Saban's dynasty would be a smoldering pile of ruins.
Indeed, Al-betar may be the only guy in Tuscaloosa who doesn't give a damn what Nick Saban says. (That's probably why the players like him.) Because he's still hanging out with players and violating NCAA rules by having current players sign jerseys, cleats, wrist bands, and gloves that they know will then be sold.
God bless you, Tom, I'm actually becoming a fan of yours. Unlike the NCAA, at least you're paying the players for their work.
But I think it's definitely time for Alabama to send him another letter.
Roll -- disassociated booster -- Tide, y'all.