Official: Tide not aware of Young
Testimony: Booster influenced recruits
SCOTTSBORO (AP) — An NCAA investigator testified that Alabama was not informed that Tide booster Logan Young had been fingered by at least six rival schools in the probe of illegal recruiting that landed the Tide football program with sanctions in 2002.
Rich Johanningmeier, the lead NCAA investigator in the Alabama case, said
University of Alabama officials were not alerted to Young's apparent attempts to use cash to lure recruits because the late Memphis businessman "could have sabotaged the whole investigation."
"We had confidence in Alabama, but not confidence that anyone at Alabama could rein in Logan Young's influence," Johanningmeier said in a videotaped deposition.
His testimony was played Monday for a jury hearing former Alabama booster Ray Keller's defamation suit against the NCAA, The Birmingham News reported.
Keller's attorneys, as they have through much of the trial, tried to show that Alabama was a victim unable to protect itself as the NCAA went after Young and swept in Keller in the process.
But Johanningmeier said the NCAA found Keller, a Stevenson businessman and timberland owner, was involved in the illegal recruitment of former North Jackson High prospect Kenny Smith, who signed with the Tide in 1996 but never enrolled because of academic problems.
NCAA attorneys also argued that Keller had long been a concern of Tide athletics directors, coaches and other boosters.
Recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper, who has been identified as a secret witness in the NCAA's case against Alabama, told Johanningmeier that while Young bragged of buying players to get them to attend Alabama, Keller "provided money once they got on campus."
Culpepper, in a taped interview played at the trial, said Keller considered that role his "Christian duty" and scoffed at NCAA regulations about providing extra benefits.
Johanningmeier, in his deposition played for the jury, said Culpepper first told the NCAA about parties for Tide football prospects.
He said the parties, hosted by varsity players, included strippers and "oral sex and sex of every kind" between the exotic dancers and prospects and players.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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