A Sports Illustrated piece regarding autograph forgery came out on Monday.
Titled, "Operation Stolen Base," it is a full record of the story of Cliff Panezich, an independent league baseball player, and his fraudulent autograph ring that scammed buyers out of millions of dollars.
One of the anecdotes of the story (one that could've easily been read over) was the detailed account of Alabama players signing autographs for money in 2009. The 2009 Alabama team, of course, won the national championship that year.
Signing autographs for compensation is against NCAA rules and could carry hefty punishment for those involved. Among the players who are noted as doing this are Terrence Cody and Marquis Johnson, as well as many others. They were paid anywhere between $10 and $40 per autograph, with the more well-known players receiving more.
Greg McElroy, then quarterback and now college football broadcaster, is one of the players who signed but declined payment in order to stay in line with the NCAA regulations.
While these players are too far removed from college to be penalized in that regard, Alabama could be held accountable for their actions, especially if it can be proven that the school knew about the situation.
The NCAA isn't afraid to dole out severe punishments, and while it may never get to this point, there is precedent for revoking wins from a program. For reference of what that punishment could be (at it's very worst), take a look at Ohio State and Terrelle Pryor. Fair or not, the NCAA takes this very seriously.
Stay tuned for updates on this crazy story.