Based on how the touted prospect’s new year has gone, of course that’s the next logical step.
In less than a month, April Justin, the mother of five-star recruit Landon Collins, has very publicly displayed her displeasure over her son picking Alabama over home-state LSU as well as accusing Nick Saban of “stereotyping” her during an in-home visit last summer.
Now, Ms. Justin has flung additional accusations in Saban’s direction.
In an interview with a website called MomsTeam.com, Justin expounded on her distaste for the Tide as Collins’ choice, saying that “[Alabama] want[s] to redshirt – or greyshirt – him and they want him playing nickleback instead of safety. He is the top safety in the country and he will never play a game his freshman year.” At the choice of school for her son, LSU, “coach Les Miles is offering to play him as safety during his freshman year.”
“His (Nick Saban’s) goals don’t meet the criteria of the family; they meet the criteria of Alabama,” Justin added.
And then there’s the “girlfriend” issue. Prior to Collins’ televised announcement earlier this month, there was reportedly a confrontation between Justin and the player’s girlfriend, Victoria Lowery, over the latter appearing on the stage for the announcement. In the interview conducted last week with the MomsTeam website, Justin claimed that Lowery, who is headed to Alabama as a student, had “allegedly been offered a job to work in head coach Nick Saban’s office.”
The intimation is, of course, that Saban and/or the Tide football program had committed an NCAA violation in order to land Collins as a member of its 2012 recruiting class. If Collins were a basketball player, and if Justin’s accusation were true — UA officials would not discuss the issue — it would indeed be an NCAA violation. As he’s not a hoops player? It’s not. From the Birmingham News:
The NCAA passed a new bylaw in 2010 pertaining specifically to men’s basketball that prohibits a university from employing an individual associated with a prospective student-athlete. This bylaw, however, does not apply to college football recruits. According to NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199:
“In men’s basketball, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position.”
So, that’s that, I suppose. While offering a job to the girlfriend of a five-star recruit may have the look and feel of something unsavory, it would not violate NCAA bylaws. Again, if Justin’s accusation of a job offer is even accurate.
Despite all of the noise surrounding his recruitment, Collins has remained steadfast in his verbal commitment to Alabama, and is expected to sign his National Letter of Intent with the school on Wednesday. Hopefully, Collins’ on-field talent is worth all of the off-field hiccups that have come along with it.