Attorney details allegations

Montgomery attorney Tommy Gallion has pledged to expose wrong-doing by the NCAA, Tennessee boosters, and federal law enforcement officials. <br><br>Outside Bryant-Denny Stadium Tuesday afternoon, the attorney for former Alabama football coaches Ronnie Cottrell and Ivy Williams discussed in a press conference the suit he has filed on behalf of the coaches.

The press conference was attended by Cottrell, former recruiting coordinator for Alabama, and Williams, who coached Crimson Tide running backs and recruited the Memphis area. Also attending were other attorneys involved in the case, including Delaine Mountain of Tuscaloosa, Philip Shanks of Memphis, and Tyrone Means of Montgomery.

Although some have criticized the original lawsuit filed by Gallion on December 21, 2002, as "clumsy," Gallion was organized and interesting (entertaining, even), and seemed to be fully informed on all facts and facets of the case.

Among the issues discussed were Williams joining the suit. Both Cottrell and Williams claim they have suffered financially because of the NCAA case against Alabama. Although Williams was not sanctioned in the NCAA findings and Cottrell was mentioned only for an inconsequential violation, both have presented evidence that their livelihoods have been taken away. Cottrell has not been able to find another job in coaching, while Williams is working at tiny Savannah State.

The suit is aimed at a number of NCAA officials and includes outgoing Alabama Faculty Chairman of Athletics Gene Marsh and former Bama Associate Athletics Director for Compliance Marie Robbins. Additionally, Gallion said that Robbins had identified recruiting expert Tom Culpepper as the so-called "secret witness" whose testimony was instrumental in the NCAA case against Alabama. The press conference included issuance of a package of depositions, many of which questioned the credibility of Culpepper.

Gallion said that Marsh and Robbins, along with former Alabama President Dr. Andrew Sorensen (who, Gallion said, had been informed he would not be retained by The University), elected to give up Cottrell and Williams and booster Logan Young. The resulting penalties against Alabama were devastating and Gallion indicated The University employees "may" have been "double-crossed" by NCAA officials.

Cottrell (left) confers with his attorney Tommy Gallion (right) before Tuesday's press conference.

Gaillion also took aim at a number of Memphis supporters of the University of Tennessee, naming Roy Adams, Karl Schledwitz, and Arthur Kahn as having been complicit with NCAA officials in bringing a false case against Alabama. The Memphis connection was the cornerstone of the NCAA case with the allegation that former Alabama booster Logan Young had paid former Memphis Trezevant Coach Lynn Lang in order to entice Albert Means to sign with Alabama.

The Montgomery attorney characterized Lang as a "slave trader" who has "brokered" players to other colleges, including Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee. Gallion also pointed out that there have been allegations of Williams having helped rig the taking of the ACT for Means, but that Means took and passed the test as a junior before Williams began recruiting Means.

Fred Godwyn, an assistant United States attorney in Memphis who is in charge of a criminal investigation, was criticized as having violated the admonition of privacy in a case by having discussed it on the record with a Memphis newspaper. Gallion noted that Godwyn would not put Lang, his chief witness, before a grand jury because Lang has told so many different stories. He also noted the grand jury is entering its 21st month with no indictments.

Gallion characterized NCAA investigator Richard Johannegmeier, one of the defendants in the case, as unqualified.

Gallion seemed to delight in the NCAA motion for a "protective order," a motion to keep details of the suit from the media. Gallion said his team would "fight tooth and nail" against such a motion because The University of Alabama is a public university and public money has been spent on this case. Gallion noted that it would be the decision of a judge as to whether details will be kept secret. Moreover, Gallion said his side is still waiting for the NCAA to provide information under its discovery motion.

Tuscaloosa County Circuit Judge Steve Wilson will hear the first information on the case Thursday. However, he is not expected to consider any motions, including an NCAA motion to dismiss the case. One attorney said it is highly unlikely that the case would be dismissed, particularly since the NCAA has not provided discovery information.

For brief summaries of the several affidavits provided by Gallion, follow the links: Dale Strauss, Bruce Parris, Forrest Davis, David Sprinkle and Tim Harris.

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