Last night, my email and Twitter DM’s blew up with questions about an internet rumor, alleging that Alabama defensive lineman Jesse Williams took part in the Crimson Tide’s “Pro Day” on March 7. The questions were: did Williams work out at the event and if so, would that constitute an NCAA violation?
The answer to both questions is “No.”
Via email from a university source, Williams—along with several underclassmen on the team—were on hand to watch and cheer on their teammates during the two-hour session of exercises and drills. However, neither William nor any of his underclassmen teammates took part in any of the workouts.
Had he done so, certain rival fans (you can guess which ones) claim it to be an NCAA violation. This too is bogus.
Per the NCAA manual:
184.108.40.206 Tryout After Enrollment. After initial full-time collegiate enrollment, an individual who has eligibility remaining may try out with a professional athletics team (or participate in a combine including that team) at any time, provided the individual does not miss class. The individual may receive actual and necessary expenses in conjunction with one 48-hour tryout per professional team (or a combine including that team). The 48-hour tryout period shall begin at the time the individual arrives at the tryout location. At the completion of the 48-hour period, the individual must depart the location of the tryout immediately in order to receive return transportation expenses. A tryout may extend beyond 48 hours if the individual self-finances additional expenses, including return transportation. A self-financed tryout may be for any length of time, provided the individual does not miss class.
220.127.116.11.4 Professional Team Representative at College Practice. A tryout with a professional team is not considered to have occurred when a representative of a professional team visits a member institution during the academic year and evaluates a student-athlete while the institution is conducting a regular practice session, physical education class or off-season conditioning program session that includes physical activities (e.g., speed trials, agility tests, strength tests), provided these activities are normally a part of and take place during regular practice, class or conditioning sessions.
So there you go, sports fans. Williams was there. Williams did not work out and even if he did, it’s all good.