When Sports Illustrated’s report surfaced on Tuesday that members of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team may have used banned substances such as deer antler spray prior to the their matchup against the LSU Tigers in the national championship in 2012, many were left seeking answers.
Did the dynasty that was being built in college football have some assistance from illegal substances? That is exactly what S.W.A.T.S co-owner, Christopher Key, wanted people to believe.
Key told ESPN today that he witnessed at least five players use the spray last year.
In response to the allegations, Alabama’s Assistant to the President and Associate Vice President for University Relations, Deborah Lane, issued a statement.
“UA has been aware of this situation for some time, and we have monitored this company for several years. They have twice ignored cease and desist letters sent by our compliance office. We have maintained consistent education of our student-athletes regarding the substances in question and will continue to do so.”
Alabama did, in fact, send two cease and desist letters to the S.W.A.T.S. company. One of the letters was sent on March 31, 2009 and another three years later by Alabama compliance director Matt Self on October 31, 2012 — you can read the 2009 letter and the 2012 letter here.
“We further request that you refrain from any future contact with any of our current student-athletes,” self wrote in the 2012 letter to Christopher Keys.
“Any future contact should be directed to the coaching staff, the athletics training staff, or the compliance office. Additionally, we ask that you not give or sell any product to our student-athletes. If they wish to use your product, they should obtain them through the athletic training staff and under the supervision of the athletic training staff.”
It is unlikely that any punishment will come Alabama’s way because of the allegations, but the university wanted to be clear that they were aware of the association with S.W.A.T.S. in the past and they wanted to put this story behind them. Alabama handled this exactly how they should have when they first caught wind of the potential issue over three years ago.