Bama Expands Textbook Probe

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The University of Alabama is investigating the distribution of textbooks to athletes on scholarship in all sports after five football players were suspended for violating rules covering free books for course work.

The internal probe, announced in a news release yesterday, is to determine if any scholarship athletes violated NCAA rules by obtaining more textbooks than they were allotted for their own classes.

The Alabama case surfaced just days after the NCAA put Ball State on probation for two years because of misuse by athletes in several sports of a textbook loan program.

Alabama offensive linemen Antoine Caldwell and Marlon Davis, tailback Glen Coffee and defensive backs Marquis Johnson and Chris Rogers were suspended for Alabama's 41-17 victory over Tennessee on Saturday. University officials said the suspensions involved impermissible receipt of textbooks.

Head coach Nick Saban, in a speech to the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham, said the players used "poor judgment," but that the university's textbook distribution system for athletes also failed the players.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)