Saban Will Move On After Penalties

The scene is several years from now, an ex-IU (Insignificant University) football star being questioned by his young son. "Dad, I thought you said Alabama didn't beat you, but this record book says…." "Don't pay any attention to that, son. Bama had a competitive advantage -- using players who had received textbooks improperly."

Although NCAA penalties against Alabama for athletes abusing the textbook distribution system affected 16 sports, the interest is clearly on football. As expected, Alabama Football Coach Nick Saban had an attitude of "It is what it is" (although he didn't use that catch-phrase). Saban is ready to move on.

The NCAA penalties against Alabama included three years of probation for all sports, but the sanctions against football otherwise was most notable for the Crimson Tide having to vacate victories that were earned on the field in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Nick Saban doesn't appear to be one who looks back.

The NCAA penalties do not affect the future of Alabama football, and that is key. There were no losses of scholarships, either in initial signees or in total number of scholarshipped players. There were no post-season restrictions.

This means Saban can do what he does best: continue to recruit outstanding football players, the type players who had Alabama number one in the nation during an undefeated regular season run last year. (Last season was not affected by NCAA sanctions.)

"We're always happy to move on and we're looking forward to the future and are excited about the things we can accomplish," Saban said.

That probably means another outstanding recruiting class. Alabama has been the nation's best in football recruiting the past two years and appears headed for another top haul next February. It is by stacking excellent recruiting classes that the Crimson Tide will achieve the Saban goal of dominating the opponent.

Saban was asked about the penalties even before the specifics had been announced. He said. "First of all, I think The University of Alabama, Dr. (Robert) Witt and Mal Moore, did a great job demonstrating institutional integrity in the way this was handled internally. I'm really happy for the players that we have in the program, the future vision of the program, that this is not going to affect their future there or the players that we're recruiting."

In Saban's first year as Alabama head coach in 2007, just before Alabama was to play Tennessee, Antoine Caldwell, Glen Coffee, Marlon Davis, Marquis Johnson and Chris Rogers were all suspended. Although Bama defeated Tennessee that day (marking the end of victories from 2005 through the first half of 2007 that were not vacated), Bama lost the next four games.

"Nobody likes to deal with unfortunate situations, but you learn from it, you deal with it, you go on, and do the best you can to deal with it in a positive way," said Saban.

As for the national perception of Alabama, he said, "I think it's a positive that we have made tremendous progress as an institution academically. I am proud of the progress we've made in the athletics department as well as the football program. I see The University of Alabama as one of the hot schools in the country. We're more getting more merit scholars and have done a great job in terms of improving the academic quality for the students in the state of Alabama. So I think there are a lot of positive things out there to talk about in terms of what we've done and what we're doing, and there a lot of people responsible for that. I'm happy to be a part of that."

Both University President Dr. Robert E. Witt and Crimson Tide Athletics Director Mal Moore noted the lack of future restrictions on football. Witt said, "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."

From Moore: "The ruling does not hinder our efforts going forward, in recruiting or in competition…"

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