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July 31, 2004

Sanctions Slam ‘Bama

FROM THE SLOWLY SETTLING DUST OF NCAA SANCTIONS comes a focus on the contrast in football recruiting expenditures between SEC rivals Auburn and Alabama.

Beleaguered Alabama, coming off a 4-and-9, NCAA sanctions and the Mike Price crash-and-burn debacle, was outspent 2-to-1 ratio in 2002-03 by state rival Auburn in football recruiting.

Auburn spent $489,180 while Alabama spent $263,763.

Alabama AD Mal Moore indicated that it wasn't uncommon for ‘Bama to curb its recruiting budget. There are a lot of areas that you could run a recruiting bill up, but we try to stay within a sensible frame,” he said. “That's nothing out of the ordinary."

With football generating about 80% of total athletics revenue at SEC schools, it would seem that programs should be expanding their recruiting budgets, not shrinking them, like Alabama.

Long-time Georgia AD Vince Dooley, however, sings a different tune than Moore, saying the football recruiting budget was priority one. "You can cut back on a lot of things," Dooley said. "But you can't cut back on football recruiting. You have to be competitive. Football has got to be the economic engine that drives the other sports. You can't skimp on that."

However, Alabama may not have much choice. For example, Alabama took a whopping $5.4 million hit in shared revenue from the SEC due to NCAA sanctions. Ouch.

Meanwhile, funding or not, Alabama will soon be subjected to recruiting guidelines that will inflict another layer of difficulty to an already challenged recruiting program.

Located 60 miles distant from the nearest major airport (Birmingham), Alabama will suffer from the private jet restrictions about to be put in place. ‘Bama will be forced to endure less effectiveness and efficiency in getting recruits to its campus, not to mention a serious lessening of the “wow” factor so important when dealing with unworldly high schoolers.

More later . . .

(this 310 word excerpt—with accompanying commentary—was extracted from a 964 word article in the Decatur [AL] Daily of 7-25-04)