TUSCALOOSA, AL (WSFA) - The University of Alabama is releasing a letter dated March 31, 2011 in which it announces its disassociation from a Tuscaloosa businessman's menswear store.
Mike Ward, University of Alabama Associate Athletics Director for Compliance, addressed inquiries surrounding the business practices of T-Town Menswear in Tuscaloosa.
The business, owned by Tom Albetar, was issued a cease and desist order in December 2010 that would have kept him from selling items signed by UA athletes.
The March letter noted that while Mr. Albetar appeared to be in compliance with all NCAA rules, the University felt it, and student athletes were being put at risk for NCAA investigations and "sensationalized journalism" because of the number of items in his store. Some of the items were signed by current athletes.
The letter warned that student athletes could be subject to suspensions, even if only temporarily, while the NCAA looked into any allegations of wrongdoing.
Ward issued the following statement to the media:
"Our review of this matter was a part of our normal compliance program. We routinely look at all situations of potential concern. Based on our review of this matter, we concluded that Mr. Albetar was in compliance with NCAA regulations. It is not a violation for student-athletes to sign autographs and it is not a violation for a business to display photos, jerseys or other items depicting current student-athletes. We found no evidence that any student-athlete received any extra benefits.
Due to the concerns expressed in our letter to Mr. Albetar dated March 31, 2011, we disassociated him from our program. As we always do in matters of this nature, we discussed this matter with the SEC Office. Because we found no evidence of any NCAA violation, we did not self-report a violation. UA will continue to be proactive in all areas of compliance monitoring."
The store is barred from participating in any University of Alabama intercollegiate athletics activities for three years.