Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Alabama Ad Says No Probe Resulted from Bartow Letter

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Alabama Ad Says No Probe Resulted from Bartow Letter

Article excerpt

Alabama's athletic director said Wednesday he knew of no probe resulting from a 1991 letter to the NCAA by Alabama-Birmingham basketball coach Gene Bartow, who accused the Crimson Tide of widespread cheating.

Bartow's letter, written to National Collegiate Athletic Association enforcement director David Berst and first reported Tuesday in The Los Angeles Times, said four former Alabama players told him of rules violations after transferring to UAB.

Bartow also linked former Alabama coach Bear Bryant to numerous rules breaches in college athletics.

Tide athletic director Hootie Ingram said he learned of Bartow's letter in a recent telephone call from a Times reporter. Ingram described the allegations as "kind of way out."

"I haven't heard anything about any investigation, period," Ingram said. He would not say whether he had talked to Bartow about the claims.

Berst did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment. Bartow is out of state on vacation and unavailable for comment, said UAB sports information director Grant Shingleton. Bartow replaced John Wooden at UCLA in 1975 before coming to UAB after the 1976-77 season.

In the Nov. 1, 1991, letter, Bartow also discussed his coaching tenure at UCLA. Bartow wrote Berst that he believed his life might have been in danger had the NCAA delved too deeply into activities of a prominent UCLA booster when Bartow coached the Bruins.

"I want to say `thank you' for possibly saving my life," Bartow said in the five-page letter. The booster, Sam Gilbert, "was Mafia-related and capable of hurting people," Bartow claimed.

Bartow's letter came while Wimp Sanderson was still basketball coach at Alabama, UAB's toughest in-state recruiting rival. Sanderson was later forced out amid claims he struck his secretary.

Bartow, who also serves as athletic director, wrote that "cheating in recruiting has been a way of life" in Alabama. …

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