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January 28, 2004

No Deals By NCAA

FROM INDIANAPOLIS COMES NEWS that the NCAA has adroitly disputed attorney Thomas Gallion’s claim that the University of Tennessee received a "free pass" in return for cooperation in the investigation of the Alabama football program.

In fluent PR-speak, Jeff Howard, the NCAA’s managing director of public and media relations, said, "At no time does the association make deals with individuals or individual institutions that would preclude the association from investigating any infraction, or possible infraction, at that institution."

Gallion charged that the NCAA dropped its investigation of Tennessee over allegations of academic fraud soon after Vols head coach Phillip Fulmer agreed to be a secret witness against Alabama.  Gallion intimated that this was no coincidence.  The Montgomery attorney said the details come from affidavits gathered by investigators working on the lawsuit filed by former UA assistant coaches.

Gallion says his clients’ reputations have been tarnished by the NCAA thanks mainly to the testimony of secret witnesses, including Fulmer, recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper and a UT booster from Memphis, Karl Schledwitz.

Gallion claims information they provided about possible violations at Alabama was wrong.   Howard acknowledged that NCAA policies allow confidential sources during investigations, but that any 'secret witness’ information must be corroborated.

Gallion repeated his claim that the NCAA used the FBI and federal prosecutors to threaten his clients if they did not produce testimony that would implicate Young in wrongdoing.

"The prosecutorial misconduct, the use of United States federal government in Memphis, Tenn., is beyond anything I’ve ever seen," Gallion said. "Never have I ever heard of a private entity (such as the NCAA) using federal and state prosecutorial powers to not only get two coaches, my clients, but boosters and to try to destroy another state rivalry program."   (Birmingham News  1-28-04)