Another Year For Bates?

In many ways, it was unfair that Alabama senior defensive end Todd Bates lost a year of eligibility in 2003. At a time when the Crimson Tide was without a head football coach, or even a coaching staff in the wake of the defection of Dennis Franchione to Texas A&M, Bates unknowingly made a mistake for which he paid dearly.

And there will be no recovery for Todd Bates, or at least not for the Alabama football team.

Although there have been rumors that The Univrsity had plans to appeal the ruling that cost Bates a year of eligibility and obtain a fifth year for Bates in 2005, that is not true.

Chris King, Alabama's associate athletics director for compliance, told "There will be no appeal for another year of eligibility for Todd Bates because it does not meet the legislation for an appeal."

During the time between Franchione's departure following the 2002 season and the arrival of Mike Price as Alabama's head coach in early 2003, Bates went to a "health" store and obtained a product that he had used in high school to help him recover from injury. Later in a routine test conducted by The University, Bates was found to have used a banned substance, Ephedra. That substance has now been removed from the product he used, and Bates said at the time he did not know Ephedra was in the product, but the NCAA rule was clear: use of the banned substance carried with it a penalty of being banned from play for a year and loss of eligibility for that year.

And even though the rule was clear and the test was positive, the NCAA committee making the decision on Bate's fate voted the ban by a single vote. Nevertheless, that ends the matter. This will be Bates' final season at Alabama.

Although there has been some speculation that Bates might receive another year if the NCAA passes proposed legislation to give football players a fifth year of eligibility, that legislation (to be considered next year) is now given little chance of passage.

One other rumor making the rounds regarding Alabama football concerns the possibility of so-called "grayshirts" participating in bowl preparation and/or being included with the Crimson Tide football team bowl party. There has been talk of quarterback John Parker Wilson and/or Drew Davis being able to participate with Alabama following the end of the fall semester at The University.

King said this is also an incorrect rumor. He said the only circumstance in which this is possible is when a team is playing in a bowl game in its home state–for instance, LSU in the Sugar Bowl or Georgia in the Peach Bowl. And, he added, the NCAA is in the process of legislating this out.

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