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Bartow Was in Fear of UCLA Booster : Basketball: Former Bruin coach believed an NCAA investigation of Sam Gilbert would have endangered his life.

August 04, 1993|DANNY ROBBINS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

He went on to cite several cases involving Alabama players or recruits that, in his view, warranted scrutiny from the NCAA.

" . . . You think of the Charley Pell situation at Florida, the Jackie Sherrill situation at Texas A&M and the Danny Ford situation at Clemson, and now we have the Auburn situation," he wrote, referring to several highly publicized NCAA infractions cases. "All (of the coaches involved) were trained by Coach (Paul (Bear)) Bryant at Alabama.

"David, cheating in recruiting has been a way of life here in this state. . . . I do think that when Coach Bryant died, Ray Perkins (Bryant's successor) tried to clean up the Alabama program. When Ray left and Bill Curry came in, I think (Curry) ran a pretty honest program in football, and I think (current coach) Gene Stallings is probably trying hard to keep it clean."

Bryant served as the school's football coach and athletic director from 1957 until 1982. He died in January of 1983.

Bartow declined to elaborate on his claims regarding Alabama in the letter to Berst.

"I've written David a couple of times over the years about little things that have been turned over to me by other people," he said. "But I don't want to get involved in that now."

Two NCAA enforcement representatives met with Bartow in Birmingham in February of 1992 as a follow-up to his letter, according to a source familiar with the meeting. During that interview, Bartow recounted many of the concerns he had expressed in his letter and also raised some additional issues, according to the source.

That information is presently being reviewed by the NCAA as part of an investigation of the Alabama athletic program, the focus of which is former Alabama football player Gene Jelks' claim that he received improper payments from Crimson Tide coaches and boosters, according to a source familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation was initiated after an account of Jelks' dealings with the coaches and boosters appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last November.

Cecil (Hootie) Ingram, Alabama's athletic director since 1989, said he knows nothing of Bartow's charges and declined comment on them.

"All you're talking about is Greek to me," Ingram said.

Wimp Sanderson, who coached the Crimson Tide for 13 seasons, resigning in May of 1992 after being accused of striking his secretary, did not respond to interview requests for this article.

Berst, citing NCAA policy, declined comment when asked if his office had made any inquiries as a result of Bartow's letter.

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