Alabama Probes Dismissed Tickets
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) _ Two members of Alabama’s athletic department didn’t break any NCAA rules when they had their traffic tickets fixed, but that may not be the case for receiver Shamari Buchanan.
Marie Robbins, the university’s NCAA compliance officer, said Wednesday the school was investigating the circumstances surrounding a speeding ticket Buchanan received in April that was dismissed.
The investigation coincides with Gov. Don Siegelman’s order for state agencies to find out if any employees have been involved in ticket fixing.
On Tuesday, Alabama assistant football coach Jeff Rouzie and associate athletic director Mal Moore also admitted to having tickets fixed for them between 1992 and this year.
``I’m not going to lie about it,″ Rouzie, a linebackers coach, told the Birmingham News. ``It’s like paying taxes _ you don’t want to pay any more than you have to.″
Acting Alabama Department of Public Safety Director Col. Mike Sullivan resigned under pressure Friday after Siegelman confronted him about documents obtained by reporters indicating his office was involved in fixing tickets.
Robbins said Tuesday she hoped to have Buchanan’s case resolved by the end of the week. Buchanan was held out of last week’s game at Florida.
Robbins also questioned cornerback Reggie Myles and one other player about tickets they received in the past year.
Having a ticket dropped does not necessarily mean something improper occurred, but it could be an NCAA violation if a ticket was fixed by Sullivan or others.
NCAA rules prohibit players from receiving extra benefits. Robbins said Rouzie and Moore did not fall into that category.
Alabama is under NCAA probation until 2004 due to past violations.
Alabama coach Mike DuBose called the controversy over the ticket issue ``silly.″
``I imagine ... there’s people all over the world (doing it),″ DuBose said.
State court records show that at least eight current and recent Crimson Tide players have had traffic tickets, mostly for speeding violations, dropped in district courts across the state.
Moore, who was a quarterback for coach Bear Bryant and later worked as an assistant for him, did not pay fines for a speeding ticket he received in 1992 and two more in 1997. He said that in each case he was traveling close enough to the speed limit that he thought the tickets might be reconsidered.
Rouzie, an Alabama defensive lineman in the early 1970s, was cited for speeding four times between 1994 and 1999, and all were dropped.
``I wasn’t concerned about the cost of the fines, but if I can get help to keep my insurance rates down, I’m going to get it,″ Rouzie said. ``If it’s illegal, I’m truly sorry. That was not my intention.″
Moore said he ``never dreamed″ that Sullivan would lose his job over the handling of speeding tickets.