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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Trouble Might Be Brewing for UAB Athletics

We've written several times recently about a variety of problems at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), my former employer.

Now it looks like the university's most high-profile endeavor--the men's basketball program--might be facing an NCAA investigation.

Paul Finebaum, a Birmingham-based journalist and talk-radio host, reports today that UAB is about to receive an official letter of inquiry regarding alleged academic fraud. I was a guest on the Finebaum Show today and discussed the developing UAB story. We will provide a link to that conversation shortly.

Sources have told Legal Schnauzer that the inquiry dates to the end of Coach Mike Anderson's tenure (he's now at Missouri) and the arrival of current coach Mike Davis. NCAA investigators reportedly have visited with one of Davis' close personal associates.

The day got off to a rough start for UAB with reports that an arrest warrant had been issued for former football standout Will Dunbar. One of the Blazers' leading tacklers in recent seasons, Dunbar is charged with failing to register as a sex offender. In 2004, Dunbar was convicted of aggravated sodomy and rape of a 16-year-old girl in Fulton County, Georgia.

UAB is best known for its academic medical center. But because of the nature of sports, nothing has spread the university's name like the successful men's basketball program started in 1978 by former UCLA Coach Gene Bartow.

The brewing problems in athletics are just the latest of several storms that have developed on the campus under the leadership of President Carol Garrison. Others include:

* Numerous human-resources problems, including a number of lawsuits involving veteran faculty and staff members;

* Rampant research fraud that, according to court documents, was mostly covered up by U.S. Attorney Alice Martin, a George W. Bush appointee;

* UAB employees using state-owned equipment to send racist and homophobic e-mail messages, apparently with little or no punishment;

* The curious exit of UAB's human-resources director for what appears to be a lesser job at Wake Forest.

Also, Finebaum has publicly chided Garrison for her role in a scandal that resulted in the resignation of former University of Tennessee President John Shumaker.

Shumaker repaid UT some $30,000 for using the university airplane to make personal trips to Birmingham to visit Garrison. The two had worked together at the University of Louisville, and Shumaker's wife filed for divorce just as he was starting at UT.

Shumaker and Garrison shared a hotel room for three days at a conference in San Antonio, and Shumaker lied about the arrangement to Tennessee officials.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can count on the NCAA finding absolutely NOTHING WRONG with anything any big athletic program does. The NCAA only cares about one thing, money and more money.
jim gundlach

Anonymous said...

Wow, Jim, you must not be paying attention to the news recently. Alabama and FSU come to mind.

Anonymous said...

I see your venom continues to spew for your former employer. And to carry your news onto Finebaum is just icing on the cake for you I'm sure.

Rick D said...

Roger,

Just listened to your interview on the radio show. It didn't sound like Anderson was involved in anything shady when he left UAB. Did I miss something? Or misunderstand? Or did you leave something out that you can't talk about now?

Also, have you heard any new rumors about Anderson coming back to Alabama? I liked the rumors about UAB folks submarining Anderson's chances of coming back, but I'd like it better if he wasn't even looking. :)

FYI, the Mizzou/Texas Tech game will be on ESPN2 tonight at 8:30 pm Central time (you guys are in Central time zone, right?).

Anonymous said...

Dr. Garrison needs to go NOW!

She has a proven record of not being a quality administrator. Just look at the laundry list of situations that have presented themselves during her tenure at UAB.

The Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System need to take a hard look at Garrison and what she has done to UAB. If they take the best interest of the institution to heart, they will relieve her of her duties IMMEDIATELY!

You know, I think I will write each member of the Board a letter urging them to take action to remove Dr. Garrison at their next meeting.

UAB has an outstanding record as a research institution. This record should not be tarnished by the likes of it's current President.

Anonymous said...

Garrison and every Dean and administrator that she has hired must go before they drag down UAB anymore than they already have.