Sports | November 7, 2017 9:36 am

Report: Alabama Players Were Paid for Autographs From Memorabilia Dealers

Crimson Tide players were allegedly paid in 2009 for signing merchandise.

Alabama Ranked No. 1 for Second Consecutive Year
Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates their 38-17 win over the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Another autograph scandal has hit the college football world, this time at its most consistent program.

Memorabilia dealers Cliff Panezich and Adam Bollinger claim several members of the 2009 national championship Alabama Crimson Tide team — including star defensive lineman Terrence Cody — were paid for autographs over winter break of that year.

“The first member of the Crimson Tide they say they encountered—and asked to sign, outside of a dorm—was cornerback Marquis Johnson,” Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn writes in his expose. “The two collectors had 40-odd white-paneled footballs, each emblazoned with Alabama’s logo, laid out in the rear bed of their SUV, and “[Johnson] signed a few,” Panezich says. “[He] talked about getting paid to do the rest. . . . We paid him up front and . . . he recruited everybody else to come and sign. He’d go into the dorm, grab a couple guys—$20, $30, $40, depending on who the player was—and they’d all come sign 40 team items.”

This might bring out rival fans calling for retroactive punishments and the typical tut-tutting from hardline purists who view college football as amateur purity, but yet another one of these instances where players are simply capitalizing on their own fame and hard work should have people taking a more holistic approach.

Exactly why again is it a crime for a player to make money from his own name? We’re not even talking thousands of dollars here. These players were allegedly paid in the hundreds, and again, it’s literally their own name they are signing. If someone is willing to pay for your autograph, you should be able to sell it, even as an NCAA player.