Keeping Up with Jones' Testimony

Almost overshadowed by the bizarre rulings and orders in the public/private figure argument was the testimony of former NCAA director of enforcement Mark Jones at the trial in Judge Steve Wilson's Tuscaloosa Circuit Court on Thursday.

In was what has come to be known as vintage Tommy Gallion, the firebrand attorney was tossing out questions that doubled as accusation against the NCAA and it's enforcement process in his cross examination.

The difference Thursday, however, was that he was not asking those questions rhetorically, but was asking someone who should have been more than capable of providing adequate answers.

Jones is a current employee of the Indianapolis firm Ice-Miller. He took the stand as a third-party witness.

Ice-Miller often represents institutions in NCAA infractions matters, and former Ice-Miller attorney Rich Hilliard represented Alabama at one time during its most recent investigation. Jones, who has been with the firm for over a year, had been attending the trial as a corporate representative of the NCAA and had been sitting at the NCAA defense table before that portion of the case was tossed out of court Wednesday.

Jones was subpoenaed by both Gallion and Tom Culpepper attorney Scott after the NCAA was released from any liability in the case.

Three attorneys who represented the NCAA portion of the $60 million lawsuit that was thrown out on Wednesday were also in the courtroom Thursday, and before Jones was brought before the jury, NCAA lawyer John Morrow fretted to Judge Wilson over what questions might be asked of Jones.

Morrow asked Wilson to quash the subpoena and to limit the matters Jones might be questioned about.

At one point in Jones' testimony, NCAA lawyer Robert Rutherford rose from the gallery section of the courtroom and objected to a question asked by Tommy Gallion, marking the second time in the trial an attorney without a client that is either a plaintiff or a defendant in the case interpose an objection to the judge.

John Falkenberry made arguments to the judge last week during Paul Finebaum's testimony, saying he represented Finebaum in the matter.

Jones took some fire from both Scott and Gallion for the NCAA's actions in the Alabama infractions case.

Noting the differences between a real judicial system and the NCAA's pretend system of justice, Jones told Gallion the NCAA did not prohibit hearsay from its cases.

"You'd probably like our process better for that reason," Jones offered.

Gallion replied, "No, I despise your process."

Under questioning from Scott, Jones said the use of confidential source information was a "very unusual circumstance" in the Alabama case. When asked if he had to have a signed document from the institution allowing the NCAA to use a confidential source, Jones testified, "It was helpful that Gene Marsh offered this. I would say it was a huge help."

But Jones also said that there were no documents that Culpepper had signed authorizing the NCAA to use information he provided in any way.

Jones said that if no one authorized the use of such information the NCAA's only recourse "would be to allege that they did not cooperate."

Later under cross examination, however, he said the NCAA was not obligated to share information they had received about Albert Means' recruitment with Alabama.

"The cooperative principal means that both the NCAA and the school have to share information. We have to use our judgment to decide to allow them (the institution) to participate," Jones said. "I wasn't going to sabotage the investigation by letting him (Logan Young) know we were investigating him.

And later, "All that would have happened is they would have gone to Lynn Lang, Albert Means and Logan Young, who would not have told the truth."

Jones disagreed with former faculty athletic representative and current chairman of the committee on infractions Gene Marsh's earlier testimony that had he and compliance director Marie Robbins known about the allegations concerning Means that Means would have never put on a sock or a shoe at Alabama.

Jones also said the NCAA never used information it received from Phillip Fulmer, Roy Kramer, Karl Schledwitz or Tom Culpepper to form its allegations against the University of Alabama. Jones said the information the NCAA used was originally supplied by Tennessee booster Duke Clement, but that no one at the NCAA ever checked Clement's background.

"The problem is we don't know what you relied on. We only have the findings," Gallion said.

Jones also testified that Trezevant assistant coach Milton Kirk was a reliable source of information.

"We consider Mr. Kirk to be a reliable source," he said. "He got upset because he was iced out of the deal and he lost his job because he told the truth."

Asked by Gallion if he considered convicted felons reliable sources, Jones responded, "Bad people sometimes tell the truth and sometimes lie."

BamaMag Top Stories