“I barely made a profit.”

If you liked the Todd Gurley paid signature story, you’re gonna love this one.

It all started, Panezich will eventually say, with a working road trip: a 12-hour drive from Ohio to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in December 2009. Panezich and Adam Bollinger, a Chick-Fil-A truck driver whom Panezich met while chasing autographs outside of hotels and stadiums across Cleveland, had agreed to split the costs of an expedition to Alabama, where the No. 1–ranked Crimson Tide football team was preparing to play in the BCS National Championship Game against Texas. Panezich’s sole source of income at the time was a legit autograph business on eBay that he called Athletic Connections Sports Memorabilia, and he knew that Tide items were in high demand…

Panezich and Bollinger arrived in Tuscaloosa during winter break, when the football team wasn’t practicing, so finding players required improvisation. The first member of the Crimson Tide they say they encountered—and asked to sign, outside of a dorm—was cornerback Marquis Johnson. The two collectors had 40-odd white-paneled footballs, each emblazoned with Alabama’s logo, laid out in the rear bed of their SUV, and “[Johnson] signed a few,” Panezich says. “[He] talked about getting paid to do the rest. . . . We paid him up front and . . . he recruited everybody else to come and sign. He’d go into the dorm, grab a couple guys—$20, $30, $40, depending on who the player was—and they’d all come sign 40 team items.”

Panezich says Johnson was paid roughly $200, but “not everyone took money. [Defensive tackle] Terrence Cody was probably the biggest. He got paid to sign all the team stuff—and then we heard he was interested in making some more money. So he came out and signed a bunch of mini helmets that he inscribed, like 2x all-american, or 2 blocked fgs against tennessee, very specific stuff.” Panezich recalls that they paid Cody around $400 total. (SI obtained cellphone video from Panezich that shows Johnson, fellow cornerback Rod Woodson and tight end Colin Peek autographing items; Panezich says that Peek, as well as running back Ali Sharrief and QB Greg McElroy, signed but declined compensation in order to comply with NCAA rules. Cody, through his agent, declined to comment. Says Johnson: “I never got paid. I don’t know [Panezich].” Woodson could not be reached for comment. When asked if the school had knowledge of the signings, an Alabama spokesman said, in part, “As part of our comprehensive compliance and education program, we routinely review all situations of potential concern and address matters such as these with all of our student-athletes.”)

Altogether it took Panezich and Bollinger nearly a week to gather the signatures they wanted, and Panezich says they shelled out more than $1,000 to players—but he figured the investment was worth it. He’d seen a team-signed Bama ball sell on eBay for roughly $800 earlier that month. Even if his own fetched just $500 apiece, “we were in pretty good shape,” he says. But once Panezich made it back to Ohio and listed the items on eBay, he says he found a marketplace newly flooded with what he believed to be forgeries—most selling for less than $150.

At least Gurley cut himself a better deal with his buyer.

Wait a minute.  2009.  That would mean this happened while Kirby Smart was still in Tuscaloosa.  Uhhh… you don’t suppose Greg McGarity would engage in any preemptive sanctioning, do ‘ya?  I mean, you never know about those NCAA folks…  stay on their good side… just sayin’.


Filed under Alabama, The NCAA

14 responses to ““I barely made a profit.”

  1. Russ

    Don’t give them any ideas.


  2. W Cobb Dawg

    Kirby, just go ahead and fire Greg Mediocrity now. Why wait for his next screw up.


  3. ChiliDawg

    I guess the difference is that this guy didn’t turn around and report the guys to the NCAA like the dickwad that got signatures from Gurley. I remember that guy complaining about the treatment he was receiving. He got far better than he deserved, IMO. Hope he’s living in a rotted out double wide.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Otto

    The NCAA could still force Bama to vacate titles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ChiliDawg

      It’s outside the statute of limitations, I think.


      • Otto

        Technically yes, unless they find a pattern

        19.5.11 Statute of Limitations. Allegations included in a notice of allegations shall be limited to possible violations occurring not earlier than four years before the date the notice of inquiry is provided to the institution or the date the institution notifies (or, if earlier, should have notified) the enforcement staff of its inquiries into the matter. However, the following shall not be subject to the four-year limitation: (Adopted: 10/30/12 effective 8/1/13)
        (a) Allegations involving violations affecting the eligibility of a current student-athlete;
        (b) Allegations in a case in which information is developed to indicate a pattern of willful violations on the part of the institution or individual involved, which began before but continued into the four-year period; and
        (c) Allegations that indicate a blatant disregard for the Association’s fundamental recruiting, extra benefit, academic or ethical-conduct bylaws or that involve an effort to conceal the occurrence of the violation. In such cases, the enforcement staff shall have a one-year period after the date information concerning the matter becomes available to the NCAA to investigate and submit to the institution a notice of allegations concerning the matter.


      • Otto

        ..and since when did the NCAA have to follow their own rules?


        • Cousin Eddie

          Some poor Secretary in Bama, “Coach Saban, ncaa on line1 about players getting paid for signing stuff.”
          Coach Saban, “Tell them I don’t have time for this.”
          Secretary, “NCAA said thank you for your help, sorry to bother you.”

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Bright Idea

    Something wierd about the fools who create the market for signed stuff. They have to know lots of this goes on.


  6. Satowndawg

    Thankfully the person in our athletic department who loved depriving our players of their legal rights and seemingly bent over backwards to “work” with the ncaa is now employed at UVA…


  7. ugadawgguy

    You think you’re kidding…I fear you’re right.


  8. 69Dawg

    Mc Goofy will just fine him, he’s on the verge of saving McGoofy’s job why piss him off.


  9. Cojones

    “You mean this signature isn’t worth the football it was written on and that was stolen in the first place?”

    The last words spoken before the college football memorabilia racket crashed to a resounding thud. This occurred soon after police found a robotic signature machine making a wavy line on baseballs, toy footballs and toy college football helmets thereby fraudulently signing for Terence Cody who everyone already knew didn’t know how to write his name and did a swiggelly line to represent.


  10. WarD Eagle

    Ole Miss is gonna get hammered for this.