Alabama football

Alabama's team captains with Nick Saban and President Trump, who has his arm around Nick Saban's wife, Terry Saban.

Kent Gidley/University of Alabama

Alabamians' electoral support of President Trump is among the nation's most fervent. Now the state's favorite activity -- cheering for college football -- is embroiled in an odd story coming out of the Trump White House.

It centers on a football signed by Trump that was meant for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, but now the football is AWOL.

More details, from Politico.com:

"In April, when President Donald Trump invited members of the University of Alabama football team to the White House to celebrate their national championship win, (White House press official Cliff) Sims — an Alabama grad — surprised his colleagues by popping unannounced into the Oval Office, pigskin in hand, as Trump was posing for pictures with head coach Nick Saban and others ... Sims explained that he needed to get the ball signed as a gift for Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, at the request of the university. Sims dropped the ball off with another White House staffer and left the room.

"Trump signed the ball. Sims told colleagues he had received sign-off from the White House counsel’s office to have the ball signed and gifted to the Alabama state house, and never handled the ball again after dropping it off. Other staffers said they saw it in Sims’ office after the team left the White House campus. Either way, the ball eventually ended up on John Kelly’s desk, and the frustrated White House chief of staff summoned Sims into his office to ask him what the heck was going on with his unexpected presence in the Oval Office, and a signed football floating around the White House. Sims declined to comment."

Got all that? There are many more details if you read the Politico report. And, in an twist, Ivey is famously an Auburn grad. Never underestimate the rivalry in matters such as these.

-- Phillip Tutor