[Retired judge Steve] Wilson says shoddy reporting by the state and national media led to a frenzy of anger that resulted in the $30 million judgment against Culpepper.News writer Jason Morton can't help gilding the lily here, though. Morton adds this editorial laugher towards the end of his story:
The retired judge said his book contains details that show it was part of lead Cottrell attorney Thomas Gallion's legal strategy to use the media to mislead the public into believing that there was a University of Tennessee-led conspiracy to bring down Alabama football and that was what led to the defamation of Cottrell and Williams. He also said the book would show that lawyers withheld certain documents from the press to help deliver that message.
For example, the much-discussed memos from Fulmer to the SEC home office that raised questions surrounding Means' recruitment made no mention of Alabama's involvement, Wilson said.
The SEC's investigation of those memos resulted in the allegations being declared an “unsubstantiated rumor,” which in turn meant that none of its member institutions were warned that violations, specifically by UA booster Logan Young, were occurring in the recruitment of Means.
“(Another) thing that was not told to (the press) is that the Albert Means violation was not reported by the University of Tennessee,” Wilson said, “but by the University of Arkansas. ...
“All of these facts totally refuted the UT conspiracy in the case.”
Still, Wilson said the penalties imposed against UA by the NCAA — a two-year bowl ban, 21 lost scholarships and five years' probation — forced the athletics department to correct its course and become the respected model of NCAA compliance it is today.
Gee, the last time I checked, the 'respected model of NCAA compliance' was back on probation, and not even a year ago, the NCAA itself referred to UAT as a "'serial repeat violator' with an 'abysmal infractions track record' and an 'extensive recent history of infractions cases unmatched by any other member institution in the NCAA.'"
But, y'know, tough times. Gotta sell those papers.