Yesterday, Tidesports.com’s Aaron Suttles reported that Alabama spent most of the day Friday investigating the bare allegations of improper benefits received by Tide commit Brent Calloway. Later, Suttles reported again on the story, and said that Alabama found no irregularities in the recruitment of the Russellville High standout.
Furthermore, Alabama’s compliance has no plans to file a report with the NCAA and considers the matter closed.
Tide compliance staff traveled to Franklin County on Friday and spoke with Calloway, his adoptive father Harland "Peaches" Winston, officials at First Metro Bank, Russellville principal Tim Guinn and Russellville resident and Winston/Calloway family friend, Darren Woodruff.
Staff learned that Woodruff's relationship with Calloway dates back to when the kid transferred to Russellville High as an incoming freshman and predates Calloway's status as a prospective student-athlete. Accordingly, the school found no impermissible contact.
Charges that Calloway’s father received cash benefits for his adoptive son’s signature were also demonstrated to be false. Charges that Winston received mortgage assistance were also demonstrated to be false, but details of that story remain confidential because, unlike AuburnSports.com’s Jeffrey Lee, UA officials respect the privacy of personal financial records.
In other words, there was no “there” there.
Here’s what he had to say:
“Nobody gave me no thousands. Nobody paid my mortgage off. I haven’t received no lump sum. I didn’t receive no $2,500. Nobody gave me money every month. Brent does not have a car. He doesn’t even have money. I go there (to Russellville High School) and pay for his lunch by the month, (for) him and (his adopted brother) Travis (Daniels). If he does have money, I don’t know nothing about it.”
On the accusation of receiving help paying his mortgage:
“Nobody paid my house off, or my mortgage. My house has been paid for over 15 years, man. And I have four houses I rent out here.”
Regarding the accusation that he was paid $2,500:
“I think I heard one of them say I got $2,500. Lord, if I’m going to get some money, please let me get more than that. I mean, c’mon. That’s a joke.”
On the accusation that Calloway was given a car:
“Brent rides the bus to school, man. Him and Travis ride the bus to school every morning. They don’t drive. The only time they might drive my car sometimes is when we’re going to church and back.”
Winston also said people have misconceptions about his motives for adopting children:
“Brent has been with me for five years. Nobody but me and my wife that has taken care of him for five years. We didn’t get no money. It’s the grace of God. For people to come and say that, what they don’t understand is Brent and Travis aren’t the first kids I’ve had at my house, man. We’ve had over 10 or 12 kids at our house that we’ve helped taken care of. We didn’t bring them in trying to get any money.
“We didn’t know that when we brought Brent in that he was going to have the kind of ball-playing (skills) that he has. I was trying to keep him from going into the system. They called me a recruiter. If you know my heart, you wouldn’t say that. But I could care less.”
That giant sucking sound you heard yesterday was Jeff Lee’s credibility, circling the drain.
You will never, ever see such bare allegations leveled here. Every blog post on this site that covers hard news items will either be sourced with links and information you can check out and verify yourself, or will come from sources that are so rock solid that you can take the story to the bank.
Remember the human trafficking angle of the FBI’s involvement in the Cam Newton story last fall? you first heard about here. That story was proven accurate when John Bond’s attorney acknowledged an interview with the FBI, the subject of which involved the shopping of young men. Remember when you read here that the Brown and Kissick plea agreements were just the start? That story was followed by three more top Taylor Bean and Colonial officials pleading guilty. There’s one more out there that hasn’t come to fruition yet, and that would be the FBI’s expanded probe in the Bingo case. That’s not over, folks.
But you will read the truth on that, here. Credibility is any journalist’s lifeblood, whether that journalist works for a mainstream media outlet or posts as a part timer on a blog like this one.
Shame on those who would and make people like the Winston and Woodruff families spend an entire day answering stupid questions about their personal business.