The Wire

  • Fmr US Rep Jo Bonner named Kay Ivey chief of staff as Steve Pelham takes job at Auburn University

    Excerpt:

    In a move that had been rumored for the last few weeks, former U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner has assumed the role as chief of staff for Gov. Kay Ivey.

    Last November after Ivey was elected to a full term, Bonner was named a senior adviser to Ivey.

    Bonner is replacing outgoing chief of staff Steve Pelham, who will become Auburn University’s vice president for economic development and the chief of staff to Auburn University President Steven Leath.

  • Historic Inauguration Day in Montgomery heralds continued growth for Alabama

    Excerpt:

    It was a day of celebration, unity and tremendous optimism as Governor Kay Ivey and other statewide elected officials were officially sworn into office on Monday.

    The weather played into the symbolism of the occasion, as a cold, overcast day – a storm almost certainly imminent – gradually became sunnier and sunnier as the afternoon pushed on, much like the outlook of the state under Ivey’s steady guidance.

    Political insiders and everyday Alabamians from every nook and cranny of the state gathered in front of the Alabama State Capitol steps for the inauguration ceremony, which began promptly at 10:00 a.m. From the state’s richest man to the single mom who checked her little girls out of school just to see Ivey’s historic oath of office, it was a day that transcended the lines that divide us.

    Because Ivey’s inauguration message of “Keep Alabama Growing” is a theme meant for all. It is a message of hope – that even a little girl from Camden, Alabama can rise to be duly elected as the state’s chief executive through hard work and perseverance.

  • Ivey orders flags lowered to half-staff to honor fallen police Sgt. Wytasha Carter

    Excerpt:

    Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff to honor Birmingham Police Sgt. Wytasha Carter, who was killed in the line of duty on Sunday.

    “I am directing flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for Birmingham Police Sergeant Wytasha Carter who was killed in the line of duty early Sunday, January 13, 2019,” Ivey said in a statement. “Sergeant Carter laid down his life protecting the people of Birmingham, and the entire state of Alabama mourns this tremendous loss.”

4 days ago

Maori Davenport has been ‘consulting with God’ throughout AHSAA ordeal

(USA Basketball)

Throughout USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star Maori Davenport’s ongoing saga with the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), she has leaned on her faith to carry her through and find the silver lining in a trying time.

Davenport’s mother explained in a Facebook post, “I have always told Maori to glorify God with her talents, and she will never go wrong.”

She added, “Even though it seems that her world is turned upside down. She is still consulting with God! What more can a mother ask for!?!”

The basketball phenom’s mother also shared a heartwarming text message exchange between the two.

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Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan, who presides over Pike and Coffee Counties, on Friday issued a temporary restraining order against the AHSAA, meaning Davenport will at least temporarily be able to play again.

The TRO came hours after the Davenport family filed a lawsuit against the AHSAA.

The association, which deemed the star player in Troy ineligible for her senior season, has been heavily criticized by national media and sports figures, as well as members of the Alabama State Legislature.

Davenport is eligible to play in Friday night’s home game against Ozark’s Carroll High School. She will continue to be eligible to play pending a hearing in Reagan’s courtroom. A hearing date has yet to be set.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

4 days ago

Alabama judge rules Maori Davenport can play while lawsuit against AHSAA is reviewed

(ESPN W/Facebook)

Circuit Judge Sonny Reagan in Pike County has issued a temporary restraining order against the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), meaning USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star Maori Davenport will at least temporarily be able to play again.

The TRO was first reported by Alabama Daily News and came hours after the Davenport family filed a lawsuit against the AHSAA on Friday.

“We’re aware of the litigation and in discussions to formulate an appropriate response,” AHSAA spokesman Ron Ingram told Alabama Media Group.

The association, which deemed the star player in Troy ineligible for her senior season, has been heavily criticized by national media and sports figures, as well as members of the Alabama State Legislature.

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After the ruling, Davenport’s mother said, “Thank you, God.”

The star player is eligible to play in Friday night’s home game against Carroll. Davenport will continue to be eligible to play pending a hearing in Reagan’s courtroom. A hearing date has yet to be set.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 days ago

Kobe Bryant on Alabama’s Maori Davenport: ‘Let her play!’

(Wikicommons, ESPNW/Instagram)

Thursday evening, NBA legend Kobe Bryant came to the defense of Maori Davenport, the USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star from Troy who has been deemed ineligible for her senior season by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (ASHAA).

Bryant tweeted, “This #MaoriDavenport situation is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard in youth basketball. Let her play!”

Bryant joins a growing list of national sports and media figures vocally supporting Davenport, who even appeared on Good Morning America this week.

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You can read the latest about how the Alabama legislature is handling the situation here.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 days ago

Swinney on connection with mentor from Atmore: ‘This is how God works through the game of football’

(FOX Sports Southwest/Twitter, YHN)

Dabo Swinney delivered a powerful message at the award ceremony named in honor of Paul “Bear” Bryant.

In front of a bronze statue of the legendary Alabama football coach, Swinney recalled the providential meeting he had with former Tide assistant coach Woody McCorvey.

“This is what the game of football does,” remarked Swinney. “This is how God works through the game of football.”

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In his speech, Swinney shared the story of how the two men met and mapped out the connection that has always existed.

“So Woody McCorvey’s from Atmore, Alabama, Highway 31 which runs all the way through the state of Alabama,” Swinney explained. “He’s from Atmore, Alabama. I’m from Pelham, Alabama. Highway 31, that’s the only road I knew my whole life until they built I-65 through Pelham sometime when I was in middle school.”

“Football brought a guy from Atmore, Alabama together with a young guy from Pelham, Alabama and we meet up at the University of Alabama,” continued Swinney. “He came to Alabama with Gene Stallings, and I’m a young sophomore in 1990. He became my position coach and then he is very instrumental in me getting into coaching, he and Coach Stallings.”

When McCorvey became the first African-American offensive coordinator in the history of the University of Alabama, McCorvey elevated Swinney to serve on his staff.

“Fast forward to 1996, and he’s the offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, broke down a barrier, and he wants me to be his receiver’s coach,” Swinney recalled.

Swinney went to work for McCorvey that year, and the two men have shared a special bond ever since.

“You don’t know how impactful Woody McCorvey has been in my life,” Swinney said. “If you don’t think football matters, are you kidding me? Highway 31 and the little pigskin brought these two men together and he’s been a best friend and a father to me in life.”

Tim Howe is an owner and editor of Yellowhammer News.

5 days ago

Bill to provide AHSAA accountability officially prefiled

(AHSAA, K. South/Facebook)

State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) has officially prefiled his heavily supported bill to bring public oversight and accountability to the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) moving forward.

Representatives can prefile bills for the legislature’s regular session that begins on March 5 now since the House’s organizational session adjourned sine die on Wednesday.

South’s prefiled bill has been dubbed HB19 and informally referred to the House’s committee on state government. Once the regular session convenes, the bill will formally be referred to the same standing committee.

The bill currently has 90 House cosponsors, plus South. The chamber is comprised of 105 members.

Cosponsors include Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia), Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville), Minority Leader Anthony Daniels (D-Huntsville) and Majority Whip Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), as well as the committee on state government’s chair and vice chair, state Reps. Chris Pringle (R-Mobile) and Chris Sells (R-Greenville) respectively.

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You can find a copy of the bill here, along with a list of all cosponsors.

While it may be too late to save USA Basketball star Maori Davenport’s senior season at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, South is attempting to fix a problem that he views as much more than an isolated poor decision by the AHSAA.

South’s legislation would do three main things.

First, it would mandate that any rules by the AHSAA regarding a student athlete’s eligibility be reviewed and approved by the State Board of Education. This is directly addressing the type of situation that Davenport now faces.

South’s bill would also codify that 25 percent of the AHSAA governing body be appointed by the State Board of Education or the State Superintendent of Education. This composition would need to be put into place by January 1, 2020, and would provide public accountability throughout all aspects of the AHSAA’s governance.

Thirdly, the legislation would require that the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts audit the AHSAA in the same manner as it would a public agency.

On Thursday, the Alabama House Republican Caucus announced the unanimous endorsement of its 77 members for Maori Davenport’s immediate reinstatement by the AHSAA.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth have called on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport’s eligibility immediately, too.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

5 days ago

Alabama House GOP caucus unanimously approves resolution urging AHSAA to reinstate Maori Davenport

(Rep. Wes Allen/Twitter)

This week, the 77-member Alabama House Republican Caucus unanimously approved a resolution urging the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) to immediately reinstate the eligibility of USA Basketball and Charles Henderson High School star Maori Davenport of Troy.

As the AHSAA continues to get battered by criticism over its decision to rule Davenport ineligible because of a mistake the association admitted was the fault of others, the House GOP members are making their thoughts known in unison. Davenport spoke to the caucus on Tuesday during the first day of the 2019 organizational session.

“After Maori Davenport appeared before our Caucus and very eloquently explained her situation, the 77 Republican members of the Alabama House stand ready to help her regain her eligibility in any way that we can,” House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter (R-Rainsville) said in a press release. “Without exception, our legislators urge the AHSAA to immediately reinstate this impressive young woman who simply wanted to represent our country on an international level.”

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The resolution was sponsored by State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy), who has helped champion Davenport’s cause since the AHSAA decision and arranged for her appearance at the Alabama State House.

“I am proud to stand alongside Maori Davenport as we work to rectify a situation that should have never occurred,” Allen advised. “Rather than being treated with the callous disregard shown by the AHSAA, young athletes like Maori should be encouraged, supported, and praised.”

The text of the House Republican Caucus Resolution, a copy of which will be sent to the AHSAA and its executive director, Steve Savarese, reads as follows:

Whereas the Alabama House Republican Caucus holds a 77 – 28 supermajority in the House of Representatives; and,

Whereas the Republican supermajority maintains the overwhelming and prevailing opinion among members of the Alabama House; and,

Whereas Charles Henderson High School basketball standout Maori Davenport’s athletic skills and talents earned her a spot on the Team USA roster and a gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship; and,

Whereas the USA Basketball program regularly sends a stipend to players who compete for its teams but failed to first check with governing sports officials in Alabama before compensating Davenport; and,

Whereas the 18-year-old Davenport responsibly self-reported the oversight and immediately returned the stipend as soon as it was discovered the check sent to her by USA Basketball exceeded the allowed limit in Alabama; and,

Whereas the Alabama High School Athletic Association ruled Davenport ineligible to play this season in spite of her sincere and timely efforts to rectify a situation that was no fault of her own; and,

Whereas the AHSAA stubbornly refuses to demonstrate empathy and reconsider its decision despite a state and national outcry on Davenport’s behalf by advocates and supporters of amateur athletics; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, that we, the members of the Alabama House Republican Caucus, hereby urge the Alabama High School Athletic Association and its director, Steve Savarese, to reinstate Maori Davenport’s amateur eligibility without delay and take significant steps to ensure that no other student athlete is subject to such callous, unfair, and unjust treatment in future situations of similar circumstance should they arise.

State Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) has also drafted a bill that would bring oversight and accountability to the AHSAA. His bill has bipartisan support and was cosponsored by 87 of the 105 House members as of Tuesday.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth have called on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport’s eligibility immediately, too.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

7 days ago

Maori Davenport rule? State Rep. Kyle South has bill drafted to bring oversight, accountability to AHSAA

(Rep. South/Facebook, ESPNW/Instagram)

While it may be too late to save USA Basketball star Maori Davenport’s senior season at Charles Henderson High School in Troy, one prominent state legislator has drafted a bill to bring public oversight and accountability to the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) moving forward.

As the AHSAA continues to get battered by criticism over its decision to rule Davenport ineligible because of a mistake the association admitted was the fault of others, state Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette) is attempting to fix a problem that he views as much more than an isolated poor decision by the AHSAA.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News during the first day of the House organizational session on Tuesday, South explained that the AHSAA’s lack of accountability and transparency has been an issue – and prickly point of contention with state lawmakers and officials – going back for years.

While the Davenport situation has given the AHSAA a fresh black eye on the national stage, change has been a long time coming. And, seeing that South already has a whopping 87 House cosponsors, and counting, signed on after just one day back in Montgomery, 2019 might just be the year that change finally happens.

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Per a copy of the draft bill obtained by Yellowhammer News, South’s legislation would do three main things.

First, it would mandate that any rules by the AHSAA regarding a student athlete’s eligibility be reviewed and approved by the State Board of Education. This is directly addressing the type of situation that Davenport now faces.

Second, South’s bill would codify that 25 percent of the AHSAA governing body be appointed by the State Board of Education or the State Superintendent of Education. This composition would need to be put into place by January 1, 2020, and would provide public accountability throughout all aspects of the AHSAA’s governance.

Which leads into the third change: the legislation would require that the Department of Examiners of Public Accounts audit the AHSAA in the same manner as it would a public agency.

While the AHSAA is a private organization and prides itself on the autonomy therein, South views these changes as reasonable, constructive measures of accountability seeing that the AHSAA boasts membership consisting mostly of public entities, relies on money sent to it by these public entities and holds the majority of its events on public properties.

In fact, South said “in a roundabout way,” the AHSAA subsists off of public funds.

“The majority of their revenues are from gates, during playoffs in every sport, where a third of that money has to be paid back to the AHSAA in the form of a check from the schools,” South explained. “And at the point that they cut a check from a [public] school, it’s public funds. So, for them to say that we don’t have any authority whatsoever over them, technically we could cut off their funding. And that’s not what I’m aiming to do, but if we need to we could go down that road.”

At the end of the day, if the legislature really wanted to, it could create a publicly run entity within or overseen by the State Department of Education to replace the AHSAA. That would possibly be the most extreme solution and one that South is not currently proposing. But he did advise that other states governed their high school athletics by doing just that.

The House of Representatives’ will to get involved and shake up the AHSAA did not happen overnight.

“I think this one situation [regarding Davenport] has highlighted some ongoing issues, and while it’s brought forth things to light for many people, we’re not doing this just because of this one incident. This is a cumulative thing, where there have been situations over the years that have led to this. And [Davenport’s] situation is the one that broke the camel’s back,” South outlined.

From South’s perspective, the AHSAA has general oversight and accountability problems that are leading to poor decisions by the association, which in turn produce poor outcomes for student-athletes and schools.

“My biggest problem with [the AHSAA] is that the schools make up the board members obviously … but for fear of retribution by their governing body, nobody ever brings up any issues and it becomes somewhat of a dictatorship at that point,” South advised. “If you’re scared to say your piece for fear of retribution, then you’ve got a big problem.”

Davenport and South at the Alabama State House on Tuesday
(Rep. South/Facebook)

While South has not moved onto finding a senator to carry the bill in that chamber or solicit Senate cosponsors quite yet, the representative did tell Yellowhammer News that both chambers received a special visit from Davenport herself on Tuesday. State Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy) and the mayor of Troy helped introduce her around to share her story.

The basketball sensation spoke to the House majority caucus and even gave an address on the Senate floor.

South said that Davenport “obviously has a lot of talent, and unfortunately she’s just being kept from showing those talents right now.”

“That’s the unfortunate part,” South added.

But, like South believes, Davenport emphasized to the legislators Tuesday that even if they cannot resurrect the remainder of her senior season, they can prevent this type of situation happening to any more student athletes in Alabama moving forward.

“I don’t know if anything we can do can get her back on the court, but I would like to put as much pressure in place to see that happen as possible and prevent a similar thing happening in the future,” South stressed.

With 87 House cosponsors in one day (South believes that he will end up with over 90 representatives cosponsoring when all is said and done), he is certainly making waves.

“If that doesn’t get somebody’s attention, I don’t know what will,” South remarked.

He expects to prefile the bill when the House organizational session adjourns sine die. The last possible day of the organizational session is Thursday, January 17.

Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth have called on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport’s eligibility immediately, as have additional state legislators from both parties, including state Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) and Allen.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

ESPN’s Jay Bilas: ‘AHSAA statement on Maori Davenport contains false and misleading assertions’

(ESPNW/Instagram)

Criticism of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) continues to crescendo, with ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas now publicly questioning whether the AHSAA lied in a statement on Monday.

The AHSAA released the statement in an attempt at pushing back on national backlash over its decision to deem Charles Henderson High School and USA Basketball star Maori Davenport ineligible for her senior season. However, with Bilas now adding an additional line of criticism to his already strong defense of Davenport, the AHSAA may have just opened up a new can of worms.

One portion of the statement specifically called out by Bilas as “false and misleading” reads as follows:

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“It should be pointed out that a high school student from Illinois also received payment from USA Basketball. However, that student called her high school once she received the check and then returned the check to USA Basketball without cashing or depositing it. Here, the student received the check, endorsed it and it was posted to her bank account. Three months later, AHSAA was notified and the monies returned to USA Basketball.

A high school student from Missouri has also been ruled ineligible for this basketball season for accepting the lost wages payment from USA Basketball.”

In one tweet, Bilas said, “Today’s AHSAA statement on Maori Davenport contains false and misleading assertions. The Illinois player DID deposit her stipend check exactly as Maori did. She sent the money back, ruled eligible.”

“Did the AHSAA lie? Or just make an innocent mistake?” Bilas asked.

He also sought to emphasize that Davenport did indeed pay the money back immediately on being notified by USA Basketball of its error.

“Repaid as soon as the error was noted. Exact same timeline as the Illinois player. False statement by the AHSAA,” Bilas added in a separate tweet.

In another, he explained, “Maori did not knowingly sit on the check for 90 days. When alerted to the issue, her mom notified AHSAA, returned the money next day, just as the Illinois player did.”

This was far from the only “false and misleading” item that Bilas identified from the statement, also calling it “mean-spirited” multiple times.

In another tweet, he outlined, “Davenport’s mother is a certified middle school coach, not an AHSAA certified high school coach. There is an important difference. Was AHSAA intentionally misleading?”

Speaking to the AHSAA statement being “mean-spirited” in his view, Bilas tweeted, “The AHSAA attacks a high school principal on attendance at a meeting? Really? How low ball can you get?”

The AHSAA’s statement remarked, “Each year these Rules are reviewed multiple times during AHSAA sponsored and hosted seminars with the member schools and are available on the AHSAA website. A review of all Summer Conference and Principals’ and Athletic Directors’ Conference attendees show the Principal for Charles Henderson High School has not attended the 2016, 2017, or 2018 Summer Conferences or the 2016, 2017 or 2018 Principals’ and Athletic Directors’ Conferences.”

It was not clear what that portion of the statement had to do with the association’s action against Davenport, which occurred after all of the meetings listed.

“Today’s AHSAA statement on Maori Davenport not only contains false and misleading assertions, it paints AHSAA as a victim. If anyone is victimized, it’s Maori. Yet, she has conducted herself with grace and dignity. Perhaps the AHSAA should learn from her,” Bilas said.

He added, “This young girl has suffered enough. The adults at the AHSAA are acting like victims. Maori Davenport is the victim. Reinstate her.”

Bilas summarized his thoughts on the matter by tweeting, “I believe the AHSAA was wrong in its ruling, wrong to double down, and wrong to attack the mother, the principal and USA Basketball in its statement. The statement was factually inaccurate and mean-spirited. Principal attendance [at] meetings? Really?”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Marsh, Ainsworth call on AHSAA to immediately reinstate Maori Davenport

(Del Marsh/Facebook, USABasketball/Instagram, Ainsworth Campaign)

State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh and Lieutenant Governor-elect Will Ainsworth on Monday called on the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) to immediately reinstate Maori Davenport for the remainder of her senior season at Charles Henderson High School in Troy.

The USA Basketball U18 star and Rutgers signee was ruled ineligible by the AHSAA on November 30 after the association learned that the forward/center cashed a check for $857.20 that was mistakenly sent to her by USA Basketball as a stipend for lost wages and costs associated with representing her country over the summer.

On Thursday, ESPN picked up the story, which caused a national groundswell of support for Davenport and backlash against the AHSAA.

In a letter sent to AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese on Monday, Marsh called for Davenport’s immediate reinstatement. 

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The letter read as follows:

Dear Mr. Savarese:

As you are aware, when I learned of Maori Davenport being ruled ineligible to participate in her senior basketball season, I was outraged and took it upon myself to investigate this matter.

Having spoken with you and other interested parties on this matter over the weekend, I understand that the Alabama High School Athletic Association Board issued their ruling on Ms. Davenport’s eligibility based on a set of facts as they were presented at the time.

I have been made aware that there has been new evidence presented in this matter and am hereby calling on you to ask the Chairman to reopen this investigation AND reinstate Ms. Davenport’s eligibility pending the outcome of this investigation.

After the release of the letter, Ainsworth took to social media to back Marsh’s stance.

AHSAA comments

Amid the wave of blowback over their decision the AHSAA on Monday released a statement to explain their position and the set of facts that led to their decision.

In this statement by AHSAA Central Board of Control President Johnny Hardin, he doubled down, declaring that no exceptions should be made to association rules and confirming that Davenport is being punished for the mistakes of others.

“No one (including USA Basketball or CHHS) disputes the Amateur Rule was violated,” Hardin outlined in the beginning of his statement.

He detailed, “On August 15, 2018, USA Basketball paid the student $857.20 for lost wages while participating with the USA Basketball team over the past summer. Neither USA Basketball, the student’s parents, the student’s coach, nor CHHS administration reported the student had received the check until three months later, (specifically 91 days). During this time, the student played in several games. The AHSAA Amateur Rule states in part ‘A student cannot accept payment for loss of time or wages while participating in athletics as part of expenses . . . A student who has lost his/her amateur standing may be reinstated after the lapse of one high school season for the sport in which he/she has become professional . . .’”

“The check ($857.20) paid to the student was dated August 15, 2018, and endorsed by the student and posted to the student’s bank account on August 27, 2018. The student’s mother sent USA Basketball a check in the same amount three months later on November 28, 2018,” Hardin said.

November 28 was reportedly when USA Basketball realized its mistake. At that time, they notified Henderson High School in Troy, the AHSAA and Davenport. Davenport then sent the money back and self-reported the incident (her mother notified the AHSAA on her behalf).

Additionally, the AHSAA is contending that the player be held to account for her coach and her mother’s respective backgrounds with the AHSAA.

“The student’s mother is a certified AHSAA Basketball Coach; therefore, she is required to uphold current AHSAA bylaws and rules, including the Amateur Rule quoted above. Furthermore, the Head Girls’ Basketball Coach at CHHS is a former member of the AHSAA Central Board of Control; thus, she should not only appreciate the importance of knowing and following the AHSAA bylaws and eligibility rules but also understand how imperative it is to consistently uphold the same rules,” Hardin asserted.

Hardin also defended the embattled AHSAA executive director, Savarese. National basketball and media figures have called into question Savarese’s job safety, with state Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) joining the fray on Monday.

“Has anyone heard from Steve Savarese? He is flat out wrong here. Do the right thing Mr. Savarese. Maori Davenport should be reinstated immediately. If this is how you do your job, then maybe you shouldn’t have it,” England tweeted.

In the defense, Hardin stated, “Steve Savarese, as AHSAA Executive Director, made the eligibility ruling based upon the plain language of the Amateur Rule. As Executive Director, Mr. Savarese does not have the authority to change a rule. Rather, as Executive Director, his job is to apply the rules as written.”

Throughout his lengthy statement, Hardin made clear that the AHSAA strictly wants “the rules as written” applied. Savarese’s decision to do so was upheld unanimously by two AHSAA appellate boards.

“Following Mr. Savarese’s ruling, the school appealed to both appellate levels for the AHSAA. First, to the District 2 Board – affirmed by unanimous vote of the 4-member Board. Next, to the Central Board of Control – affirmed by unanimous vote of the 15-member Board which represents the entire State,” Hardin detailed. “Thus, this ruling was affirmed by the Board that under the AHSAA Constitution has complete and final jurisdiction over all questions of the Constitution and Bylaws or other facts appealed to it by a member school. Mr. Savarese was not present at the District appeal or during deliberation at the Central Board hearing. To be clear, this ruling was affirmed by the Central Board of Control and as Executive Director, Mr. Savarese does not have the authority to change or reverse a ruling made by the Central Board.”

If this was not enough to throw the onus off of the executive director of the association, Hardin went a step further, casting blame on all of the member schools for writing the rule in the first place instead of the people charged with its enforcement.

Hardin pleaded, “Also, please remember, the AHSAA member schools, not Mr. Savarese nor the AHSAA staff, write and approve the AHSAA eligibility rules which include the Amateur Rule.”

“The AHSAA Legislative Council has the authority each year at the annual meeting to amend the AHSAA Constitution and Rules. Meaning, each year the member schools (including Charles Henderson High School) have an opportunity to change a rule or create new ones. The penalty for violating the Amateur Rule has not been amended in at least the past 10 years with Mr. Savarese as Executive Director. Which, in turn, means each year Charles Henderson High School has agreed to the penalty for violating this Rule without comment or pursuing any kind of rule change within the legislative process,” he continued.

Hardin then turned his aim to the principal of Charles Henderson High School.

“Each year these Rules are reviewed multiple times during AHSAA sponsored and hosted seminars with the member schools and are available on the AHSAA website. A review of all Summer Conference and Principals’ and Athletic Directors’ Conference attendees show the Principal for Charles Henderson High School has not attended the 2016, 2017, or 2018 Summer Conferences or the 2016, 2017 or 2018 Principals’ and Athletic Directors’ Conferences,” Hardin remarked.

He then circled back to the assertion that no exceptions can be made to AHSAA rules.

“The stories and comments being circulated throughout the media and social networks are asking that an exception be made to the Amateur Rule because it was not the student’s fault; the fact the money was repaid, and that the student is an exceptional athlete and will miss her senior year. However, if exceptions are made, there would no longer be a need for an Amateur Rule,” Hardin claimed.

He continued, “The Rules are applied equally to ALL athletes. Furthermore, most eligibility violations are the result of adults failing to follow the rules. Here, the student’s mother as a certified AHSAA Coach should know the rules; the School’s Principal should know the rules, the Head Basketball Coach, as not only a Coach but also as a former Central Board member, should know the rules.”

Hardin also emphasized another reason for ending Davenport’s senior season, saying that the AHSAA did not want to create a loophole for other athletes to exploit in the future.

“Another point not mentioned in the public stories being circulated is that creating an exception to this Rule would have provided an avenue to exploit student-athletes by providing an opportunity for students to receive money and prizes for athletic participation and if discovered, state they didn’t know the rule, thus allowing them to return the items and retain eligibility,” Hardin outlined. “This is why AHSAA stresses to the leadership of its member schools how important it is to know the rules and advise their students regarding all rules that affect eligibility. Informing student-athletes of the consequences for violating such rules is the responsibility of the adults supervising them.”

Hardin then moved on to criticizing USA Basketball specifically.

Part of his statement reads as follows:

“It should be pointed out that a high school student from Illinois also received payment from USA Basketball. However, that student called her high school once she received the check and then returned the check to USA Basketball without cashing or depositing it. Here, the student received the check, endorsed it and it was posted to her bank account. Three months later, AHSAA was notified and the monies returned to USA Basketball.

A high school student from Missouri has also been ruled ineligible for this basketball season for accepting the lost wages payment from USA Basketball.

USA Basketball never called Charles Henderson High School or AHSAA to ask if payment for lost wages violated AHSAA rules until November which was three months after payment was made and accepted by the student. This was not a clerical error but a complete lack of administrative oversight on the part of USA Basketball, thus possibly rendering multiple student-athletes ineligible as most states have an Amateur Rule.”

One glaring omission in Hardin’s statement was this unanswered question looming in the air: What if Davenport – and USA Basketball – had not notified the AHSAA after they realized their mistake?

To observers, unanswered, it seems that the AHSAA is saying that admitting a mistake and returning the money deserves no flexibility in the application of the “rules as written,” while hiding the payment (lying) would have allowed Davenport to play her senior season.

Hardin ended his statement with praise for Savarese and the AHSAA staff for upholding its “Constitution and Bylaws.”

“Lastly, misstated facts and placing Mr. Savarese’s email on social media has led to Mr. Savarese and the AHSAA staff receiving threatening, irresponsible, and vulgar communications,” Hardin said. “We, as the Central Board of Control, stand by the staff of the AHSAA and thank them for their unwavering support of the AHSAA mission, educational athletics, as well as the AHSAA Constitution and Bylaws.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

Byrne wagers six-pack of beer on Tide championship

(UA Football/Twitter)

Republican Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-1) has placed a friendly wager with a congressman from South Carolina as the Crimson Tide and the Clemson Tigers face off Monday night in the college football national championship game.

Freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) tweeted at Byrne that he had “a 6-pack of Lowcountry beer that says Clemson wins.”

Byrne responded, saying he’ll “put a 6-pack of our finest Alabama beer” on a victory for the University of Alabama.

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The game will be televised on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. CST.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 week ago

National outrage erupts over USA basketball star suspended by Alabama High School Athletic Association

Maori Davenport, second from left, after being named to the FIBA U18 All-Star team in August. (FIBA/Twitter)

Support for Maori Davenport is pouring in from across the nation as the USA under-18 star continues to be suspended from playing her senior season at Charles Henderson High School in Troy by the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA).

The AHSAA ruled Davenport ineligible after the forward/center cashed a check for $857.20 that was mistakenly sent to her by USA Basketball as a stipend for lost wages and costs associated with representing her country over the summer.

On Thursday, ESPN picked up Davenport’s story, which had thus far been chronicled mostly by local publications like the Troy Messenger.

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On November 30, the star Rutgers signee and defending state champion was reportedly getting ready for the fifth game of her senior season when she got the summons to her principal’s office.

“I don’t know what this is,” Davenport told ESPN of her thinking at the time, “but it’s probably not good.”

Tipoff was hours away before the meeting. Afterwards, her high school basketball career was over.

Kelley and coach Dyneshia Jones told Davenport that she had been ruled ineligible for the rest of her senior season by the AHSAA. At issue was the stipend check for $857.20 sent to Davenport by USA Basketball. She had led Team USA in rebounding and blocks en route to a gold medal in Mexico City at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in August.

USA Basketball routinely pays players small amounts during its summer programs to help them recover costs, including lost wages and employment opportunities. Typically, they confer with high school federations to determine if players are allowed to accept payments.

But due to an error USA Basketball admits it made, no call was made to the AHSAA, which does not allow payments of more than $250.

When USA Basketball realized its mistake, it notified Henderson, the AHSAA and Davenport. Davenport then sent the money back and self-reported the incident (her mother notified the AHSAA on her behalf).

However the AHSAA showed no flexibility, ending Davenport’s season two days after being notified.

After hearing the news in her principal’s office, Davenport called her grandfather, Moses Davenport.

“He’s the toughest person I know,” Davenport told ESPN in her first public comments on the matter. “He’s survived four heart attacks. He told me that God has a plan for me.”

AHSAA ‘should be embarrassed,’ ‘ashamed of itself’

With the national spotlight now on the issue, outrage directed at the AHSAA is surging.

Renowned college basketball analyst Jay Bilas ripped the AHSAA for its decision in multiple tweets starting Friday.

“The Alabama High School Athletic Association should be embarrassed and, frankly, ashamed of itself over this ruling. The AHSAA acts as if the players exist for the AHSAA, and not the other way around. Just awful. Maori Davenport did NOTHING WRONG,” Bilas said, tagging the official AHSAA account at the end.

Later, he added, “On the side of harshly punishing a young player (for a clerical error) with ineligibility stands the Alabama High School Athletic Association. On the other side (reinstatement) stands, quite literally, everyone else. The AHSAA is wrong on this.”

More national basketball stalwarts are publicly joining Davenport’s defense, including the WNBA, NBA star Chris Paul and Spalding.

“No young woman should have her future jeopardized because of an unintentional administrative mistake,” Bethany Donaphin, head of WNBA league operations, explained. “When we heard Maori’s story, we wanted the AHSAA to know that we disagree with its decision and to let Maori know we support her right to play.”

Even Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer voiced her support, telling NJ Advance Media, “Maori hadn’t done a doggone thing except receive the check from USA Basketball. It was grown-ups’ fault. And grown-ups did not lay claim to that. Maori sent the money back the next day. She’s a great kid, great student. She tried to do the right thing. And then the Alabama association … are you kidding me? This girl was up for player of the year, All-American. How can you do that?”

On Saturday, NBA star Demarcus Cousins chimed in, drawing from his personal experience. The Mobile native played at LeFlore Magnet High School in his hometown.

Cousins tweeted, “What the Alabama High School Athletic Association has done to Maori Davenport is wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to start. I know what this feels like because I was treated like shit by them too. Being a kid from Alabama, I’m with Maori Davenport. Fix this now!”

What next?

There is also a petition circulating calling on the AHSAA to reinstate Davenport, but so far the association has shown no signs of budging.

Her one-year suspension has been upheld twice on appeal, once by an AHSAA district board and then by the association’s central board. Davenport, who turned 18 on December 15, said that her holiday spirits have been dashed since that devastating meeting with her principal.

“I realize this is the reality,” Davenport told ESPN softly. “But it hasn’t gotten any easier.”

She said one bright spot has been the support she has received from her community, and now prominent decision-makers across the state are becoming more vocal in advocating for Davenport, too.

In addition to the strong support of Rep. Kyle South (R-Fayette), who has been speaking out since December on the issue, Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) has taken to social media in recent days criticizing the AHSAA.

“I would love to see a reasonable explanation for this one. Seems to me that the Alabama High School Athletic Association needs some oversight,” England said.

Rep. Wes Allen (R-Troy) tweeted that he is “exploring options to find a solution that remedies this unfortunate situation.”

“I agree this is nonsense,” Allen added.

The AHSAA has been silent on the issue since ESPN reported on the story Thursday.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 weeks ago

The off-the-field fight that defined the last time Alabama and Oklahoma squared off

(@KELLLLKAY, YouTube)

While all of the attention will be on the field during Saturday night’s College Football Playoff semifinal matchup between the University of Alabama and the University of Oklahoma, it was an incident in the stands that drew the spotlight last time these two powerhouses faced off.

As reported by Yellowhammer News after that ill-fated Sugar Bowl contest for the Crimson Tide on January 2, 2014, it was the “Bama Sugar Bowl mom” that fans and casual observers across the nation became fixated on.

After the initial video below of Michelle Prichett fighting Oklahoma fans at the Sugar Bowl went viral, spinoffs began to take off in their own rights, including one set to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”

In an exclusive interview with Yellowhammer News after the incident became a social media sensation, Pritchett, a local photographer from Sweet Water, Alabama, at the time, said she was “sorry” but would do it again if she had to.

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“Everyone’s making me look like such a bad guy,” Pritchett said. “What I did was probably not the thing to do. But they were taunting us. They began by going after me. But then they crossed the line and started taunting my 16-year-old son.”

At that point, Pritchett explained that she walked over to the Oklahoma fans to ask them to “leave her son out of it.”

“It started off being friendly, just us going back and forth about the game,” Pritchett recalled. “But what ended up happening had nothing to do with the game. It escalated. When they said something to my son, I told them to shut their mouths. They were telling my son to come down there and ‘do something about it.’ I said, ‘no, that’s not going to happen. This crap needs to stop.’”

As Pritchett’s husband pulled her back the first time she approached the Sooner fans, Pritchett outlined that one of the Sooners called her a “stupid b****” and that was when she ran across the aisle and dove on top of them.

“The security people had already gotten on to those guys for throwing bottles at people,” Pritchett advised. “When they escorted me out, the security guard told them there was no reason to be pressing charges on me because those guys were out of control the whole game. I defended my son. If they had kicked those boys out to begin with, it wouldn’t have happened the way it did.”

Pritchett said she regrets that things escalated the way they did and that she wanted to apologize to “Bama nation.” Her biggest concern seemed to be what Coach Saban’s reaction would be when reporters question him about it.

“I’m embarrassed. I love The Tide and I apologize to all the players and to Coach Saban and to the entire fan base. I’m sorry. Coach Saban’s going to say ‘those crazy fans don’t know how to act.’ And I wasn’t intoxicated either. I want people to know that. I’d had a couple of drinks, but I was not intoxicated,” she added.

But Pritchett said she would do it all again if she had to.

“I hate to say it, but I’d do it again if I had to. I’m not going to let anyone go after my son,” Pritchett emphasized.

RELATED: Fan says flying Bama mom was drunk and acting ‘like a monkey that hasn’t evolved’

Fast forward almost five years, and “Bama nation” will certainly be hoping for a different end result on the field. And no distractions off of it.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 month ago

BJCCA hosts groundbreaking ceremony for new stadium

(BJCCA)

Local and state leaders came together yesterday at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex to break ground on a new open-air stadium that will serve as the home of UAB football and host other sports and entertainment events.

 The $175 million stadium will seat up to 55,000 people.

Speakers at the groundbreaking event noted that a new stadium in Birmingham has been discussed for more than three decades, and that there have been two previous groundbreakings for stadium projects that never came to fruition.

“This one,” said Birmingham City Council President Valerie Abbott, “is going to stick.”

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Officials from the Jefferson County legislative delegation, the Jefferson County Commission and the City of Birmingham said the long-sought project is happening now because of an unprecedented level of cooperation and commitment among public and private partners – cooperation that bridged racial, partisan and geographical divides.

“This transformational change we’re witnessing today is happening for this one reason: cooperation,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin. “Everyone has come together to say what can be and make it a reality.”

Said State Rep. Jim Carns, “This is a good day when we’ve got everybody pulling in the same direction.”

Utility work and other site preparations are already underway at the stadium site. Construction is set to begin in the early summer of 2019, with completion targeted for mid-2021, in time for The World Games, said Tad Snider, BJCC executive director and CEO.

The stadium will be home to the UAB Blazers, but President Ray Watts noted that the stadium project will have a much bigger impact for Birmingham. “On the 350 some odd other days, it’s going to be a great attribute for the city of Birmingham,” Watts said. “This is going to be the finest facility of its kind in Alabama.”

Officials said the multi-use stadium – along with anticipated renovations of Legacy Arena – will spark additional development in the area surrounding the BJCC.

“This is just the beginning for this part of Birmingham. You’re going to see, in my opinion, north Birmingham explode,” said State Sen. Jabo Waggoner. “North Birmingham will come back to life.”

The benefits will go beyond the north Birmingham area, officials said. “This project is only the beginning for what I think is going to be a golden renaissance time for Jefferson County,” State Sen. Rodger Smitherman said.

Said Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens: “I can’t think of a better time to live in Birmingham, Alabama … A rising tide raises all ships, so hold on: The tide is about to come in.”

Rep. Rod Scott said the cooperation that led to success for the stadium will be a foundation for other successes moving forward. “This is just the beginning … to begin making Jefferson County what it always should have been, and of course, that is the best county in Alabama,” he said.

Carns said the stadium project is coming to life in a Birmingham that is already experiencing considerable momentum. Carns recalled his time as a county commissioner when no construction was happening downtown.

“When I walk outside of any building downtown now, you can hardly see the sky for all the cranes,” he said. “That is an unbelievable thrust forward.”

The stadium will allow the BJCC to attract additional sports and entertainment events – and boost the tourism revenues that have a huge economic impact.

Dennis Lathem, chairman of the BJCC Authority board of directors, said the complex is already “a tremendous asset” that supports 2,500 jobs, produces $73 million in earnings, and generates $217 million in spending.

Rather than being satisfied with success, Lathem said, “The people you see here today …  had the courage to look beyond that and look to the future and ask how can we be a bigger asset.”

Woodfin noted that new revenues generated because of projects in the BJCC area will support a revitalization fund that will assist all 99 neighborhoods in the city of Birmingham.

“Elevating small businesses, boosting tourism and entertainment options, and stimulating neighborhood revitalization is what we’re committed to doing,” Woodfin said. “This groundbreaking today has allowed us to lay that foundation.”

1 month ago

SEC championship game thriller draws huge TV rating for CBS

(CBS Sports/YouTube)

The SEC championship thriller between Alabama and Georgia on CBS drew the highest television rating for regular-season college football game in seven years.

CBS announced Sunday the game drew a 10.52 rating, an increase of 25 percent over last year’s SEC title game between Auburn and Georgia and the best rating for any non-bowl game since LSU and Alabama played a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in November 2011. That Game of the Century got an 11.9 rating on CBS.

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The network said Alabama’s 35-28 victory Saturday was the second-best rating for an SEC championship since the event started in 1992, trailing only Florida-Alabama in 2009 at 11.8.

The previous highest-rated game this season was Ohio State-Michigan last week on Fox, which drew a 7.5 rating.
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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2 months ago

Jalen Hurts after comeback performance: ‘I put it in God’s hands’

(CBS Sports/Twitter)

After University of Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts led the Crimson Tide to a 35-28 comeback victory against the Georgia Bulldogs, Hurts shared his testimony, giving the credit to God.

On stage during the postgame trophy presentation, Hurts told the national television audience what made his made-for-Hollywood story possible.

“I put it in God’s hands,” Hurts emphasized. “I put it in God’s hands. He handled it for me and here we are.”

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When starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went out with an injury in the fourth quarter with the Tide trailing by a touchdown, Hurts stepped up and led Nick Saban’s team to two touchdown drives, throwing one and running the winning score in with just over a minute left in the game.

This came after Tagovailoa replaced Hurts at halftime of last year’s National Championship game against Georgia, leading the Tide to that historic comeback.

Hurts’ postgame comments came in context of his decision not to transfer and to instead stick it out in Tuscaloosa. He has been widely praised for the character and leadership he has shown, especially this season supporting Tagovailoa and his teammates largely from the sidelines.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 months ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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2 months ago

Byrne makes ‘friendly wager’ with GA congressman over SEC Championship Game

(UA, UGA/Website)

Republican Congressmen Bradley Byrne (AL-1) and Drew Ferguson (GA-3) on Thursday announced a “friendly wager” on the upcoming SEC Championship Game between the University of Alabama and the University of Georgia.

Ferguson is staking Chick-fil-a on a Bulldog victory and Byrne is putting up Alabama seafood, pulling for a Crimson Tide win.

Byrne and Ferguson had a similar wager during last year’s National Championship Game when the congressman from southwest Alabama and the Crimson Tide came out on top.

In a press release, Byrne commented, “There is no doubt Alabama is the powerhouse in the SEC this season. Time and again Alabama’s offense has rolled past team after team to secure a perfect 12-0 record. I expect that same focus, drive, and intensity against Georgia this Saturday. Nick Saban and Tua Tagovailoa will make it 13-0 against the Bulldogs, and I look forward to another delicious Chick-fil-a meal from my Georgia colleague.”

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Ferguson stated, “I am confident this will be the year the student becomes the master and Kirby Smart leads the Dawgs to victory over Nick Saban and the Alabama team. With phenomenal players like the Third District’s Terry Godwin, the Georgia Bulldogs are sure to win the SEC Championship and head to the playoffs. I look forward to enjoying some Alabama seafood to celebrate the win.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 months ago

College football week 13: A look at the state’s matchups and national lines

(AU, UA/Facebook)

The college football regular season is wrapping up, and a handful of Alabama’s favorite teams play this holiday weekend.

With Small Business Saturday upon us, you will be able to come home and watch some great matchups after shopping and eating local, including the Iron Bowl.

You can find all of the state’s game times and how to watch below, as well as the lines for the nation’s top matchups.

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Friday, Nov. 23:

South Alabama vs. Coastal Carolina (Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL), 2:00 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

Saturday, Nov. 24:

Troy at Appalachian State (Boone, NC), 1:30 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

UAB at Middle Tennessee (Murfreesboro, TN), 2:00 p.m. CST
Listen online here.

Alabama vs. Auburn (Bryant-Denny Stadium), 2:30 p.m. CST
TV: CBS

JSU vs. East Tennessee State (Burgess-Snow Field, Jacksonville, AL), 6:30 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

Graphic by Alabama’s Paul Shashy; lines by Oddshark

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 months ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

1
2 months ago

Report: Alabama native Condoleezza Rice could be interviewed in Browns’ head coach search

(KMOV/Twitter)

According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Cleveland Browns want to interview Alabama native and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for their vacant head-coaching job.

Rice would be the first woman in history to be interviewed for an NFL head-coaching job if the Browns move forward with their interest.

ESPN noted that, “Rice, 64, is a lifelong Browns fan, a love she got from watching Cleveland’s games with her father at their home in Birmingham, Alabama. Rice has been featured in a Browns jersey in NFL ads, and there has been speculation that she even could become commissioner of the NFL.”

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The Browns’ GM, John Dorsey, seemed to throw water on the idea of Rice being under consideration, even though it has been speculated that the team’s ownership, rather than the team’s management, is behind the Rice interest.

An interview, if it happens, would certainly not guarantee that the Browns will hire Rice, but Schefter reported that the team is interested in talking to her about the job and seeing what she could bring to the position and the organization.

“She’s an amazing person,” one team source told ESPN.

The interview process could lead to Rice becoming more involved in the organization in an official capacity or as a consultant, rather than being hired as head coach.

In a Facebook post, Rice responded to the report, expressing her love for the organization but emphasizing that she believes experience matters in coaching. Rice also called for women to be able to develop that experience in coaching at high levels of football.

“I love my Browns — and I know they will hire an experienced coach to take us to the next level,” Rice said.

She continued, “On a more serious note, I do hope that the NFL will start to bring women into the coaching profession as position coaches and eventually coordinators and head coaches. One doesn’t have to play the game to understand it and motivate players. But experience counts — and it is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches.”

Her conclusion seemed to take her out of the head coaching mix for now, but questions will persist about whether she will join the Browns in a different leadership role, perhaps in its management structure or as a consultant.

“BTW — I’m not ready to coach but I would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas! And at no time will I call for a ‘prevent defense,'” Rice added.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 months ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pexels)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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2 months ago

Watch: Para-Commandos jump into Bryant-Denny Stadium

(Alabama Athletics/Twitter)

Before the University of Alabama’s home football game against Mississippi State on Saturday, Para-Commandos jumped from a military aircraft and landed in Bryant-Denny Stadium as part of the pregame, Veterans Day weekend festivities.

The Para-Commandos are the United States Special Operations Command’s “premier aerial parachute demonstration team.”

In an incredible video posted by the university, you can watch one of the commandos’ approximately three-minute descent into the packed stadium.

Watch:

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The Para-Commandos are members of current Special Operations Forces. They are comprised of active duty special operators, including Army Special Forces, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force Combat Controllers and Marine Raiders. Their jump into Bryant-Denny has become an annual tradition for UA.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 months ago

College football week 11: A look at the state’s matchups and national lines

(YHN)

The college football season is in the home stretch, and all of Alabama’s favorite teams face week 11 matchups on Saturday.

With Veterans Day upon us, you will be able to see some fitting tributes to those heroes who have served our nations throughout the seven home games in the Yellowhammer State this weekend.

You can find all of the state’s game times and how to watch below, as well as the lines for the nation’s top matchups.

All games below are on Saturday, November 10:

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Troy at Georgia Southern (Statesboro, GA), 12:00 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

Samford at The Citadel (Charleston, SC), 1:00 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

Alabama A&M vs. Grambling State (Louis Crews Stadium, Huntsville, AL), 1:00 p.m. CST

UNA vs. North Greenville (Braly Stadium, Florence, AL), 1:30 p.m. CST

JSU at Tennessee State (Nashville, TN), 2:00 p.m. CST
Listen online here.

UWA vs. West Florida (Tiger Stadium, Livingston, AL), 2:00 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

Alabama State vs. Jackson State (New ASU Stadium, Montgomery, AL), 2:00 p.m. CST

Alabama vs. Mississippi State (Bryant-Denny Stadium), 2:30 p.m. CST
TV: CBS

South Alabama vs. University of Louisiana at Monroe (Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL), 4:00 p.m. CST
Watch online here.

Auburn at Georgia (Athens, GA), 6:00 p.m. CST
TV: ESPN

UAB vs. Southern Miss (Legion Field, Birmingham, AL), 6:30 p.m. CST
TV: BEIN

Graphic by Alabama’s Paul Shashy; lines by Oddshark

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 months ago

This weekend’s comprehensive college football TV schedule

(Pixabay)

For a printable version, click here. Pro tip: Save the image below to your phone for quick and easy access all weekend.

(Note: All times are Central)

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