A sports memorabilia businessman told Sports Illustrated that former Alabama players Marquis Johnson and Terrence Cody accepted impermissible benefits in December of 2009 before the Crimson Tide won the BCS national championship over Texas. The businessman, Cliff Panezich, alleges that he paid the two players $200 and $400 in exchange for signing memorabilia. The Alabama athletic department declined to comment when contacted by USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. Panezich described a scenario with players at a dorm during winter break in '09 — between the end of the regular season and the national championship game, when the Tide weren't practicing — and said "not everyone took money," noting that former running back Ali Sharrief and quarterback Greg McElroy signed memorabilia but declined compensation to comply with NCAA rules.
Players on Alabama's 2009 title team were paid for their autographs
USA Today | Nov 7