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Reuben Foster met with Alabama officials, not the NCAA, about eligibility issues

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Earlier on Tuesday, Prep Rally and other sources like USA Today followed up on reports from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other sources which claimed that high school senior and uber-recruit Reuben Foster and his mother were meeting with NCAA officials to discuss his transfer from LaGrange (Ga.) Troup High to Auburn (Ala.) High, a move which preceded Foster's switch of college commitment from Alabama to archrival Auburn.

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Troup linebacker Reuben Foster — Rivals.com

Troup linebacker Reuben Foster — Rivals.com

Now, Rivals.com and other sources are confirming that Foster never met with NCAA officials at all. Rather, he and his mother, Anita Paige, spoke to officials from the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which was investigating his eligibility to play for Auburn High, not Auburn University.

It seems the mass confusion about exactly who was investigating Foster for what was due to quotes given to Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Michael Carvell by Paige herself. Carvell was offered up the following quote by Paige, which he interpreted to mean that the family was being looked at by NCAA officials.

"They (the NCAA) are talking with Reuben and me. They want to make sure there was nothing illegal done to get us down here, or anything like that. They want to make sure there wasn't a college booster involved."

Carvell insists that Paige specifically said that it was the NCAA which was investigating the family. Yet when he tried to confirm that later on Monday evening, Paige refused to return any calls seeking comment. There was additional reason for Carvell to believe that the NCAA might have been looking at Foster's recruitment, with two current Auburn freshmen recruits facing additional scrutiny in the past week alone.

Yet, according to the Opelika-Auburn News, there were also reasons for the AHSAA to take at least a cursory look at the superstar's transfer, in part to ensure that they were not seen as giving Foster preferential treatment. That was made necessary by the contentious transfer of another top player from another state -- Washington (Fla.) High defensive lineman and Alabama recruit Darius Paige -- to an Alabama high school.

That makes sense, too, and Foster has since confirmed to ESPN that he met with the AHSAA, not the NCAA. Still, one can understand why Carvell was sure that he had tripped across an evolving controversy of national significance. After all, the recruit's mother told him so herself.

As for the family tattoos, Paige will probably want to keep receipts from them as well, as the NCAA does tend to check up on those type of things. Ohio State is currently living through a free tattoo scandal. The last thing anyone at Auburn wants is to follow in those ignominious footsteps.

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