Penalties Disappoint Alabama Leaders

The following is a transcript of the press conference held Thursday addressing the NCAA report issued earlier in the day. Neither University President Dr. Robert E. Witt nor Alabama Athletics Director Mal Moore accepted questions with the explanation given later that because of consideration of an appeal of penalties, the two did not want to answer questions.

Here are the statements:

University of Alabama President Dr. Robert Witt:

"This afternoon the NCAA announced penalties imposed on the University of Alabama because of violation of NCAA policies regarding the distribution of textbooks to student-athletes.

In 2007, when we learned of this problem, we immediately reported it to the SEC and to the NCAA. We rapidly and thoroughly investigated the problem in cooperation with both the SEC and NCAA and reported our findings to both organizations. In our report we acknowledged the violations and accepted full responsibility. The University of Alabama failed to monitor its textbook distribution program. As a result, a small number of athletes purposefully took advantage of the program to obtain textbooks for their friends— textbooks that had to be returned or paid for at the end of the semester.

It's important to note that no coach or staff member was involved in the violation. No sport gained a competitive advantage and not one athlete pocketed one dollar. It's also important to note that the penalties imposed affect the past. They do not impact our future. They in no way affect the ability of our football team to compete fully, without competitive disadvantage.

We are disappointed in the severity of the penalties. We regret that a large number of players and coaches are being penalized for something they were not involved in. The University of Alabama is committed to doing things the right way—to being in full compliance with all SEC and NCAA polices—and steps have been taken to ensure that in the future we will be."

University of Alabama Director of Athletics Mal Moore:

"Upon discovery of this situation in 2007, we conducted an exhaustive review and we have corrected and strengthened our textbook monitoring process.

We have clearly demonstrated our commitment to doing things the right way. Throughout this process, we've worked hand-in-hand with the SEC and the NCAA enforcement staff. We are disappointed in the ruling by the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

This case involves a failure in an isolated area of the program. There is neither evidence, nor allegations, of other NCAA violations. No head coaches or assistant coaches of any sport had any knowledge or involvement. No players gained financially or otherwise. There was absolutely no competitive advantage gained. All of the books were returned.

We will carefully consider our options regarding an appeal, as we feel that we owe that to our current and former student-athletes and to our alumni and fans.

It is important that our fans and supporters understand this: The ruling does not hinder our efforts going forward, in recruiting or in competition, but the ruling is a clear reminder that we must maintain strict compliance with all NCAA regulations."

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