AG’s office to review Andre Smith situation

Published 1:12 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

MONTGOMERY — The Alabama attorney general’s office is reviewing reports of alleged contact between Crimson Tide offensive tackle Andre Smith and a sports agent after the All-American was suspended from the Sugar Bowl.

The attorney general’s office began reviewing the situation on Tuesday to see if a full investigation is warranted, spokesman Chris Bence said.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban suspended the Outland Trophy winner on Monday for violation of unspecified team rules, but several media outlets reported that the punishment stemmed from improper dealings with an agent.

NCAA rules prohibit players from having contact with agents.

“The attorney general’s office has been active in prosecuting sports agent violations,” Bence said. “It’s a felony. That’s a serious law.”

Saban sent Smith home to Birmingham on Monday and issued a statement saying “we will do all we can as an institution to support him in all future endeavors.”

No. 4 Alabama plays No. 7 Utah on Friday night in New Orleans.

Smith has been projected as a high first-round NFL draft pick if he skips his senior season. He told The Birmingham News Tuesday that it was “possible” he would return.

“I haven’t decided whether I’m going to go (pro) or come back,” Smith said.

The Alabama Uniform Athlete Agents Act requires sports agents to register in Alabama and prohibits them from giving anything of value directly or indirectly to a student athlete. The law also requires sports agents to notify university officials if a contract has been made with an athlete.

The state has prosecuted 10 cases involving violation of the law and most of them have resulted in convictions, the AG’s office said.