Sports Illustrated. The magazine hits newstands tomorrow. The following is Price's statment in it's entirety."> Sports Illustrated. The magazine hits newstands tomorrow. The following is Price's statment in it's entirety.">

'Absurd and ridiculous'

MIKE PRICE ISSUED a statement today in response to the article "Bad Behavior," that appears in the latest edition of <i>Sports Illustrated</i>. The magazine hits newstands tomorrow. The following is Price's statment in it's entirety.

"It is with deep regret that I have to make this statement in response to the falsehoods recently printed in Sports Illustrated and other media sources. A personal embarrassment that I have earlier acknowledged has been subjected to rampant falsehoods and innuendoes that require correction. It saddens me that my history of integrity and honesty has been jeopardized by those who seek to be in a spotlight and profit from a situation that has been sensationalized to a point that has placed the truth in only a dim shadow.

"In reviewing the article written in this week's Sports Illustrated and the statements made by various known and unknown sources, I feel it necessary to refute the untruths that were printed. In the article, a female source stated that I patronized a topless bar moments after my arrival in Pensacola and stayed there until the time when I left for a golf function. She goes on to discuss a number of things that were to have occurred during the time, including things that I was to have said and done during my time there that afternoon. All of her accounts regarding that afternoon are untrue and can be refuted.

"It is impossible for me to have been there as I was on a private jet from Tuscaloosa to Pensacola accompanied by alumni, sponsors, and golf celebrities. We touched down around 4:30 p.m. where airport personnel met us to transport us to the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Upon, our arrival at the hotel at approximately 5 p.m., I checked in and went to my room. While in my room, I shaved, ironed my clothes for the evening, and dressed. I returned to the lobby at 6 p.m. to meet golf tournament officials and sponsors in the lobby.

"At approximately 6:30 p.m., the officials, sponsors, and myself went to a restaurant for dinner. While at the restaurant, I was interviewed by a number of television stations, was the guest on a radio show, and ate with the officials, sponsors and guests until 9:30 p.m. Witnesses will confirm my behavior was nothing but professional at this function.

"The day's timeline and schedule make it impossible for me to have been at a topless bar that afternoon as stated by the sources in the article. Therefore, all of the statements regarding my alleged behavior during that time are false, as I was not in the topless bar that afternoon upon arriving in Pensacola.

"From 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., I accompanied another guest from the golf function and I went to two or three different bars. At approximately 11:30 p.m., we went to a topless bar where we stayed for an hour and a half. During my departure from the bar, a woman, who was not a dancer, seeing that I was heavily intoxicated offered to assist me to my cab. She then rode in the cab with me and helped me to my hotel room where I fell asleep. There was no sex involved. The alleged sexual "threesome" with two women never happened and is absurd and ridiculous.

"When I awoke in the morning in the same clothes as the night before, I was surprised to see that the woman was still in my room asleep. I quickly showered, got dressed, and left for the golf tournament at approximately 7 a.m.

"After the completion of my round of golf, a tournament official informed me that the hotel had called and there was a problem. The hotel desk clerk informed me over the phone that an unidentified woman had charged an unusually large number of expensive items to my room. I told the hotel that no one was authorized to make any charges to my room and that they should not allow her to leave with the items.

"I quickly returned to the hotel and the woman was gone. I asked the hotel to allow the return of the unopened items and they stated that they could not allow that. I then paid the bill in full and left the items at the hotel. I made this truthful and honest disclosure of exactly what happened to President Witt, Mal Moore, and other university officials days before my firing. I have openly and honestly discussed what happened with my wife and children and they stand behind me.

"The "Buffalo's American Grill" where other alleged inappropriate behavior was to have occurred is a restaurant and bar with an older clientele, and not the college bar it was made out to be. It is located off-campus in downtown Tuscaloosa, and I have only visited this establishment three times in the four and a half months I have lived here.

"This report of alleged inappropriate behavior is also untrue, as I do not go to college bars and drink with students and players. I also do no attempt to pick up on college girls. You may ask any of the players I have ever coached or any of the people that I have ever worked with if they have ever witnessed this kind of behavior and they will tell you "no." A number of witnesses, who were with me that night, including my two sons, will attest to my behavior.

"While there, I did not purchase any drinks for myself or for anyone else as the article alleges because the manager of the establishment gave us our drinks complimentary. We left the bar that evening without any problems or incidents.

"I know that I put myself in a bad position in Pensacola by drinking too much. However, most of the events listed in the Sports Illustrated article simply did not happen. No sex and absolutely no illegal activities took place.

"I have lost my job and financial security. I have only my reputation left. It has been well documented that my reputation has been directed toward and built upon efforts in making a positive impact in the lives of student athletes. However, it has been damaged by this story and I intend to fight it and regain my credibility. I have retained legal counsel, Stephen D. Heninger, and we are aggressively investigating all of these accusations. We will pursue any and all legal action necessary against these false statements. I am determined to regain my reputation no matter what the commitment of time and effort require.''

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