Price's conduct under fire at AlabamaPosted: Wednesday April 30, 2003 10:32 PM
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -- University of Alabama officials are gathering information about whether football coach Mike Price's behavior at a golf outing in Florida was improper, University President Robert Witt said.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, Witt said he has been in discussions with Price and athletic director Mal Moore "concerning information we have received about Coach Price's behavior in certain public settings and the appropriateness of that behavior.
"We are involved in a very deliberative process of gathering information, discerning what is factual and discussing these findings with Coach Price."
Witt did not specify the nature of Price's behavior.
Price had declined to say earlier Wednesday what, if anything, he had done to put himself under scrutiny by university officials.
Appearing at a pro-am golf event, Price said he could not address the issue, which surfaced at a time the Crimson Tide is looking for stability in its troubled football program.
Newspaper and broadcast reports a day earlier said Price met at least twice with Moore last weekend amid rumors involving his actions two weeks ago while in Pensacola, Fla., for a golf tournament. A party was held on the eve of his round.
There were no reports on what Moore and Price discussed.
A playing partner of Price, Tuscaloosa businessman Larry Wilkin, said he saw nothing unusual the day of their round in Pensacola. Price showed up about 30 minutes early for an 8 a.m. tee time and was "in a good mood, fresh."
"I'm still trying to figure out what all the conjecture is about," said Wilkin, who did not attend the pre-tournament party.
Moore hired Price from Washington State last year after Dennis Franchione left abruptly for Texas A&M. Alabama is on probation for NCAA rules violations under coach Mike DuBose, who was forced out in 2000 during a 3-8 season.
Witt said Tuesday there were no plans to take disciplinary action against Price.
Asked if the university's extended silence had left him unable to defend himself, Price responded, "No, I think the university is being thorough."
Responding to another question, he said the matter was not a legal issue, but he didn't elaborate.
Price seemed relaxed as he spoke while sitting in an armchair in the clubhouse of Greystone Golf Club. Later he began play, accompanied on the course by three Hoover police bodyguards and his regular state trooper escort.
Price told The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., on Tuesday night that he didn't know if his job was in jeopardy. He told the paper he hoped a statement by the university would help end the situation.
"Sometimes people make mistakes," Price said.
Price told the Montgomery Advertiser the university was "handling the situation."
"But everything is going to be OK," he said.
UA System trustee John H. England said Witt and Alabama system chancellor Malcolm Portera contacted him last weekend about a situation involving Price.
England said he did not know the details, but was told the trustees were being notified in case any action needs to be taken against Price.
Price, hired in December after 14 seasons at Washington State, agreed in principle to a seven-year deal worth about $10 million when he was hired, but the contract has not been signed.