Back at the end of April, Will Collier noted that Kevin Scarbinsky's column on the Limo Gambit had included a rather curious reference to lawyers leasing out vehicles to recruits. Will didn't mention a second, equally curious turn-of-phrase, however, at the end of the column:
As recruiting tactics go, better stretching out in a limo than stretching the truth. And better the coaches show up in a sweet ride than the recruits.For any Auburn or Alabama fan with an Internet connection, both of these references are so obvious that's it's not even accurate to call them "veiled"--K-Scar is slyly playing off of the Gadsden rumors that I'm sure 99.9 percent of this blog's readership are already plenty familiar with.
Will cites these little dropped hints as an indication Scarbinsky "knows the score," and that might be accurate, but what's interesting to me is not what they say about K-Scar--it's what they say about the rumors. For the state's leading sports columnist to acknowledge their existence, however subtly, means we're reaching something approaching critical mass. We moved another notch closer at the tail end of last week, when (as TrackEm noted) a Gadsden car dealership was raided by the feds, shut down, and had financial documents confiscated.
Now, let me as clear as I can about this: I am NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT claiming that the rumors are legitimate. Not claiming the raid was connected to any kind of NCAA investigation. Not claiming any of this is anything more than message board ravings and tinfoil hat conspiracy-mongering. Rumors of this sort so, so rarely become anything more than "Hey, remember when people were saying such-and-such?" footnotes and cautionary tales that putting stock in any of them before the NCAA is actually in the process of announcing something is a fool's errand. That the Gadsden thing really started gathering steam after Textbookgate broke--when the anti-Tide conspiracy traders are going to have the most receptive audience--is another reason to stay on the skeptical side until proven otherwise.
However: there is a lot of smoke out there if there's no fire. It's like a gauge, with one side yellow and the other red, with a line in the middle and either side labeled "Nothing out there"/"Something out there." When there's this much smoke out there, it's only fair to say that needle has starting moving towards that "something out there" reading, right? Even if the most likely outcome today is still, probably, "nothing," we've reached the point where pretending a) it's a total non-story b) every mention of it is to be blithely dismissed as orange-and-blue desperation isn't the most rational response.
Since it's quite possible there could be something big out there and it still won't amount to anything when all is said and done, I don't blame the cynics for assuming this will all just be a lot of sound and fury over nothing. But when there's this much sound, this much fury, at the very least it's time to start listening. No one knows what's going to happen in Gadsden, but no one knows what's not going to happen, either.