Archived Story

Unsubstaniated allegations against AU grow tiresome

Published 11:15am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

By Andy Graham
As the initial news broke last week of scandalous accusations against the Auburn University football program by (supposedly legitimate news organization) ESPN the Magazine and internet blogger Selena Roberts, I got the same old queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach that I always do when something like this happens.
However, as I began to read the stories in more detail and began to see source after source run from the Robert’s story like a teen actress from the scene of a car accident, I stopped feeling queasy and started feeling like Howard Beale.
You know, I wanted to go to my window and stick my head out and yell, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
I am so sick of Auburn being unjustly convicted in the media by unsubstantiated rumor and hearsay.
I am so sick of headlines that read: Auburn football in trouble again.
Again?  By again do they mean the 1992 Erik Ramsay situation 21 years ago?
They must, because that’s the last time AU football was in trouble with the NCAA for a major violation.
The Tigers were acquitted on all counts in the Newton investigation if anyone has forgotten.
Surely they’re not referring to random buffoons ranting about tapes and a bagman.  Most of all, I am so sick of my beloved University’s reputation being besmirched by disreputable sources without the slightest shred of proof or factual basis.
To be honest, the story about Auburn’s handling of synthetic marijuana by ESPN the Magazine was the more disturbing of the two stories to me.
I was ecstatic to see AD Jay Jacobs and Auburn finally respond in a clear concise manner to a very serious set of allegations.
Jacobs’ open letter (which you can read at eviscerated the article with a novel concept that is apparently lost to many in the infotainment world today… documented facts.
If Jacob’s letter is accurate, which it appears to be, then ESPN did an egregious job of fact checking.
Undoubtedly, the full article that comes out later this month and the E:60 television special associated with it will paint Auburn in a very negative light.
I find comfort in the truth that Auburn University not only was proactive, but went above and beyond the call of duty in dealing with this national problem.
With Mike McNeil changing his plea to guilty to first-degree robbery on Monday, it now appears these “allegations” were more about four young men making a terrible life altering choice and then trying to blame everyone else but themselves.
I’m not naïve. I know Auburn isn’t perfect, and I truly believe if they paid players and changed grades, they should be punished for it.
To be quite honest, the Tigers have brought a lot of this on themselves by recruiting too many players of low character.
However, I also know the NCAA has conducted multiple, thorough and lengthy investigations over the last few years and found absolutely nothing of consequence.
Note to Bruce Meyers: The lady who told Chizik the Newton investigation wasn’t over was recently fired for condoning unethical practices in the Miami investigation.  I guess it’s over for her now.
The fact is that after 18 months of investigation by the NCAA, Auburn University came out smelling like a rose with the truth on its side.
I find it appropriate that these latest allegations coincide with the blooming of fragrant flowers.
Graham is a sports columnist for The Outlook.