According to a report from Sports Illustrated, several members of Alabama's 2009 national championship team — Nick Saban's first at Alabama — received payment for autographs before the Tide's championship matchup against Texas in the Rose Bowl.

SI's longform piece centers around memorabilia fraud and Clint Panezich, who, according to the article, traveled to Alabama's campus during the team's winter break in 2009 and got several players to sign autographs for payment.

According to the article, Panezich and his associate Adam Bollinger — who sold signed sports memorabilia — found Tide cornerback Marquis Johnson outside Bryant Hall, the football team's residence hall, and paid him around $200 to sign various Alabama memorabilia: roughly 40 "white-paneled footballs, each emblazoned with Alabama’s logo."

Panezich in the article is quoted as saying Johnson signed a few before talking about getting paid to sign the rest. At that point, Panezich said, Johnson went inside and recruited players who were paid anywhere from $20 to $40 to sign the memorabilia.