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Alabama man asked to stay away from Tide players after fishing trip


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama has asked an Athens man to stay away from two Crimson Tide football players he took on a Gulf Coast fishing trip, though the university didn't report any NCAA violations or penalize itself over the outing.

The university investigated the trip that Curtis Anderson took this past spring with star receiver Julio Jones and running back Mark Ingram and forwarded its findings to the Southeastern Conference.

Anderson, who has a condominium in Gulf Shores, has been asked to end his relationship with the players during their playing careers, and Jones and Ingram were told not to contact him. He paid for the trip.

"The university is aware of Mr. Anderson, and has taken appropriate steps," said Alabama spokeswoman Deborah M. Lane. "Mr. Anderson is not affiliated with UA. He is not a UA booster, fan or alumnus, and is not a UA season ticket holder. In fact, Mr. Anderson told us that all of his family are fans of another SEC school."

No. 5 Alabama opens the season Sept. 5 against No. 7 Virginia Tech in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.

The 56-year-old Anderson said he's not a football fan and denied initially even knowing that Jones and Ingram played football.

"When I was told, 'This is Julio Jones,' I said, 'Whoopty-do,"' Anderson told The Birmingham News. "I had no idea who Julio Jones was. I've got my right hand on this Bible. I swear to Jesus Christ, I had no idea who Julio Jones and Mark Ingram were when I met them and they became friends of mine.

"I didn't know for weeks and months."

Jones is from Foley near the coast and reportedly used to work for Zeke's Landing, a marina that offers offshore fishing charter trips.

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The NCAA bans athletes from being given "preferential treatment, benefits or services because of the individual's athletics reputation or skill or payback potential as a professional athlete." With violations in which the benefit is $100 or less, the athlete can repay the money without losing eligibility.

Jones' family denied any wrongdoing.

"(Julio) never went fishing with any Alabama booster. We're not that crazy," Sam Jones, Julio's uncle, told the Mobile Press-Register.

The Tuscaloosa News reported that at least one member of the Alabama compliance staff has traveled to Indianapolis to discuss the trip with NCAA enforcement representatives.

Jones was an All-Southeastern Conference receiver as a freshman. Ingram rushed for 728 yards and a team-high 12 touchdowns.

Anderson owns Eagle Wholesale Supply in Athens. He paid for a fishing charter in the spring with Jones and Ingram.

He said his physical ailments include degenerative disk disease, and that he has been through six major operations. The players helped him onboard the boat, he said.

"I didn't carry them fishing," Anderson said. "They carried me fishing. I can't even stand up by myself."

He said he hadn't been able to go fishing in seven years before the trip with Jones and Ingram.

"I wanted to go one more time," Anderson said. "I said, 'If I can get a hook in one fish, I'll be happy."'