Good Thursday morning to you, and there’s trouble ahead for the Crimson Tide…
Weather: Rain possible. There’s a slight chance of an isolated thunderstorm today and tonight, but otherwise mostly clear with highs near 90 with lows tonight in the lower 70s. Storm chances are 10 percent today and 20 percent tonight.
“By Vladimir Putin.” That’s probably not a byline a typical New York Times reader would expect to find on the paper’s op-ed page, but there it was. The Russian president wrote a piece that appeared on Wednesday, laying out the case why the United States should not take military action against Syria for that country’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. “A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism…. It could throw the entire system of international law and order out of balance,” Putin said.
Sports: D.J. Fluker accused of getting payments. A blockbuster report by Yahoo Sports is accusing four former SEC football stars and one current player of receiving financial benefits that would appear to violate NCAA regulations, and could possibly cause the forfeiture of games during Alabama’s championship season. The report accuses the former Tide offensive tackle, plus former Mississippi State players Chad Bumphis and Fletcher Cox, former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray and current defensive end Maurice Couch of receiving payments from agents that were set up by former Bama defensive end Luther Davis. The report says Fluker got money wired through Western Union to a Belle Foods store in Tuscaloosa. The reporters could not get Davis to cooperate, but were able to back up the charges with numerous receipts and texting records. Coach Nick Saban was less than thrilled to be taking questions about the article in his press conference Wednesday, saying he had full confidence in the school’s compliance staff and administration, and added that he was pleased with the way that “the high-profile players around here — most of them, for the most part” have handled their affairs. Athletic Director Bill Battle said the school was aware of the report before its release, and was conducting its own investigation… High school football: Gardendale plays its only Thursday-night game of the season tonight as it hosts Mountain Brook. The Spartans are ranked 10th in Class 6A despite opening with two losses… Baseball: The Birmingham Barons scored early with a lead-off walk followed by a Cody Puckett homer, as they scored an 8-3 win over Mobile in the first game of the best-of-five Southern League Championship Series. Game 2 comes tonight at Hank Aaron Stadium.