Did you hear about the recruiting scandal at Midwest Polytechnic College? The one where the two-star recruit was given a 1996 Dodge Durango in exchange for his commitment?
Of course you didn’t; Nick Saban wasn’t involved.
If you were anywhere near a computer with an internet connection yesterday, you probably feel like you have a closer connection to Landon Collins’ mom than he does, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. Sports news sites went into a feeding frenzy with breathless reports that Saban had committed the most egregious of all sins in this modern culture; he had ‘disrespected’ April Justin.
First was the claim that Saban had emphasized to Collins – a young man being recruited to play football – that Alabama prepares players for the NFL. While that’s likely true, it does not follow that Alabama is merely a football factory. Alabama placed an SEC-best 38 players on the academic honor roll, something Saban can rightly point to with pride.
Then came the suggestion by Collins’ mother that his girlfriend had been offered a job to work in Saban’s office. News outlets frantically posted stories with red-siren headlines, only to note in the body of the article that they couldn’t confirm the allegation and were only going by what Collins’ mom had told them.
Even if this allegation were true, this may not have been an NCAA violation. As decisively reported elsewhere, the rule in question pertains only to men’s basketball. Don’t worry sports media; if Landon Collins turns out to have an outstanding post-up game, Alabama may have a problem.
So after a day filled with mob-mentality reporting, cheered on by rival message boards filled with the type of feverish thinking that makes a show like Ancient Aliens sound like historical fact, where are we? Right back where we were the day Collins committed to Alabama.
Collins’ relationship with his mother is by all appearances strained, but that didn’t stop her from making a spectacle of herself and leaping to the center of the stage when the cameras turned on. She also appears to enjoy the media attention she’s getting, and might be the star of Bravo’s next dumb reality show. Being disrespected will have been a small price to pay for that kind of notoriety; although given the last week’s events, Saban apparently showed her all the respect she has earned.
Landon Collins still has a bright future ahead. He has the opportunity to get an education and to learn from one of the best coaches in the sport, which could translate into a career in pro football; he’d then be able to buy his mom enough LSU gear to shut her up for life.
And the media? Well, they do what they do; kick the ant bed, then report that the ants are in a frenzy. Saban is used to it, and it’s not changing anytime soon. That’s a good thing for fans of the Crimson Tide, because this story is only news if your team is winning championships.