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It wouldn’t be recruiting season without a brewing controversy down South surrounding one of the nation’s top five-star recruits, safety Landon Collins. As you can see from his Rivals offer list, everyone wanted the five-star safety — LSU, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Florida, USC, Texas A&M, and Georgia all offered.
But ultimately the choice came down to the hometown LSU Tigers or their bitter rival the Alabama Crimson Tide.
You’ll recall that Collins picked Alabama over LSU at the Under Armour all-star game, a decision that left his mother unhappy and sparked a viral video.
But why was his mother unhappy? You need to read this interview.
Mom wanted her son to attend LSU, the school much closer to home. So how did Alabama pull away Collins from the team his mom preferred? Generally you can’t go wrong if you win over momma. Nick Saban didn’t win over momma, indeed, momma felt that Saban “stereotyped” her. So Saban went after another woman: Collins’ mom claims that Nick Saban promised a job to Collins’s girlfriend.
Let’s go to the interview:
Mom was upset because she believed Alabama wasn’t recruiting fairly. Sitting directly behind Collins on the stage that day was Nick Saban’s secret weapon, girlfriend Victoria Lowery.
Surely, hiring a recruit’s girlfriend would be an NCAA violation, right?
Not according to AL.com which determined that NCAA prohibitions on hiring “an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete” only applies to basketball.
“The NCAA passed a new bylaw in 2010 pertaining specifically to men’s basketball that prohibits a university from employing an individual associated with a prospective student-athlete. This bylaw, however, does not apply to college football recruits. According to NCAA bylaw 18.104.22.168:
“In men’s basketball, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position.”
Impermissible under NCAA rules?
Welcome to Alabama, where coaches play the NCAA rule book like a fiddle. So now the NCAA has another loophole to close. (Why, one wonders, was this rule ever made specific to only basketball? Wasn’t it just a matter of time before coaches exploited it to their advantage in football? If you ask this question you’re too smart to work at the NCAA.)
Between Cam Newton and now Landon Collins, the official state emblem of Alabama should be the loophole.
In the meantime, here is Nick Saban’s secret weapon.