BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Alabama athletics director Mal Moore
denied a magazine's report that he twice chastised former football
coach Mike Price over his drinking, but he said he did discuss
rumors about bar hopping with the coach.
Moore's comments were made in a sworn statement given last week
in Price's $20 million lawsuit over a Sports Illustrated story
about the night of heavy drinking that led to Price's firing last
Price's lawyer, Steve Heninger, made a copy of Moore's testimony
available to The Birmingham News, which reported on the statement
in a story Wednesday. Price is now the head coach at Texas-El Paso.
Moore said Sports Illustrated's report that he twice called
Price into his office to chastise Price for "buying drinks for
students" and "serving as the life of the party in too many
bars" were untrue.
Moore testified he never called Price into his office. Instead,
Moore said he went to Price's office once when rumors began to
surface that Price and some of his coaches were frequently being
seen in bars in an area frequented by students in Tuscaloosa.
Moore said he told Price he could go to a nice restaurant and
have a drink, but "what you can't do is go bar to bar and then to
another bar and then to another bar where people see you there two
or three nights a week." Moore said he did not discuss buying
drinks for students, as the magazine reported.
Moore said he also visited with Price and his coaching staff two
or three weeks later as they prepared to go to Panama City, Fla.,
for a golf tournament. This was before a golf tournament in
Pensacola, Fla., where Price's actions eventually led to his firing.
Moore said the meeting was to explain the importance of the
weekend because many important Alabama alumni would attend. Moore
testified that during that meeting, he mentioned rumors that
coaches were out at bars a lot and he told them: "You just can't
do that in this town."
Asked by Heninger whether he gave Price any specific warnings
about the consequences of being seen drinking in bars, Moore
testified he did not. Moore said in his statement that his meeting
with Price was not a threat, but rather "advice."
The university contends Moore's comments to Price constituted a
warning over his behavior.
While the magazine reported that Price had "aggressive sex"
with two women at a Pensacola hotel after leaving a strip club in
the Panhandle city, Moore said Price claimed he couldn't perform
sexually unless he took the impotence drug Viagra, and that he had
not had any that day.
Price, who publicly admitted to drinking heavily that night at
the strip club, said he passed out after returning to the hotel
with a woman who spent the night in his room, Moore said in the
Price claims he was libeled and slandered by the article and is
seeking damages from Time Inc., which publishes the magazine.