NCAA clears Tide duo after repayment
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No. 5 Alabama will have two of its key offensive players for the opener Saturday night against No. 7 Virginia Tech.
The NCAA reinstated receiver Julio Jones and tailback Mark Ingram on Wednesday on the condition that they repay the cost of a Gulf Coast fishing trip paid for by businessman Curtis Anderson during the spring. An Alabama spokesman said the money had been paid to charity.
"According to the facts of the case submitted by Alabama, the student-athletes received impermissible food, lodging, transportation and entertainment from an individual with whom one of the student-athletes had become acquainted prior to enrolling in college," the NCAA said in a statement.
"Consistent with NCAA membership requirements, the institution reported the violation and declared the student-athletes ineligible. As part of the reinstatement request, the institution required the student-athletes to make repayment of the value of the impermissible benefits to charity."
The ruling was good news for the Crimson Tide. Jones was an All-Southeastern Conference receiver as a freshman in a receiving corps that lacks other proven playmakers. Ingram is set to replace All-SEC tailback Glen Coffee after leading the team with 12 touchdown runs as a freshman.
"We are gratified that this matter has been resolved," Alabama athletic director Mal Moore said. "Our compliance department, the SEC and the NCAA worked closely throughout this process and we appreciate the professional manner in which it was handled."
The NCAA said it considers factors such as similar cases in the past and "the student-athlete's responsibility for the violation, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the institution"
"I think the institution has handled the situation with tremendous professional integrity and we're hopeful that we'll have some kind of resolution to this situation in the short term," coach Nick Saban said before the NCAA ruling was announced.
Also, Saban said defensive end Brandon Deaderick probably won't play Saturday. Deaderick was shot in the arm during a robbery attempt. He was released from the hospital Tuesday night.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press