For his Tuesday piece titled, “Why did so many Alabama football players sign so much stuff for one men’s store owner?“, BIRMINGHAM NEWS columnist Kevin Scarbinsky visited the T-Town Menswear store owned by University of Alabama booster Tom Al-Betar.
After noting in his story that Al-Betar greeted him at the store by saying, “I can’t talk to you,” Scarbinsky wrote:
The school informed al.com of the letter Friday and provided us a copy of it Sunday. It appears to be a form letter because the salutation says, “To Whom It May Concern” and the letter itself doesn’t include the name of the owner, the business or any specific Alabama player.
The letter accuses Albetar of “selling or distributing, for commercial purposes,” signed memorabilia from current players. The letter tells him that his actions could jeopardize the eligibility of those players and asks him to stop.
On that point, there’s an interesting sticker on the glass storefront. It reads, “Bama Memorabilia. DISPLAY ONLY. NOT FOR SALE.”
An Alabama source said Friday that the school did not believe the eligibility of any current player was in jeopardy and that the school did not forward information about the situation to the SEC or NCAA. That seems an awfully confident stance given the current enforcement climate.
The “interesting sticker on the glass storefront” Scarbinsky referenced in his Birmingham News piece also appeared in a Jan. 22, 2011, TUSCALOOSA NEWS-produced video for TideSports.com.
As part of the video report on a Jan. 22, 2011, autograph signing by former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy produced by Al-Betar and staged outside his T-Town Menswear store in Tuscaloosa’s University Mall, Al-Betar was asked if any of the vast array of signed Alabama football memorabilia inside his store was available for sale.
While standing in front of his “Bama Memorabilia. DISPLAY ONLY. NOT FOR SALE” storefront window sticker and pointing to the inside of T-Town Menswear, the now UA-disassociated Al-Betar said:
“We have stuff for sale and stuff they can enjoy.”
The entire seven-minute video is available exclusively at TideSports.com.