Archived Story

SEC becoming conference of corruption

Published 1:31pm Thursday, July 17, 2014

For what it’s worth, I am constantly reminded that I live in SEC country and that no one gives a darn about the other conferences in college football, so unless it is relevant, do not write about the subservient conferences who must genuflect every time the SEC is mentioned.
Recently, there have been four arrests/citations involving two Auburn football players and two Alabama football players.
I hung out the bait the past couple of days, mentioned these incidents to “homers,” and the immediate response was, “It happens in all the conferences.”
Bait taken!
Thank you for bringing that up, but if I must be so blunt, shall I remind you that you are not interested in hearing about other conferences?
In my opinion, when it comes to football, the Southeastern Conference excuses poor behavior at an alarming rate, subsequently placing a high emphasis on winning, rather than the character and integrity of the student-athlete.
Is the bottom line winning?
When I mentioned that Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was cited for marijuana, I was told that it was a small amount in the area of 8-10 grams. I reminded that individual that it was still illegal and that Marshall has a history of poor behavior stemming from his days at Georgia.
Two weeks ago, Auburn defensive back Jonathon Mincy was arrested and charges with second degree marijuana possession.
Auburn recruit Jason Deadre Smith was arrested March 30 for possession of marijuana and two counts of attempting to elude police. Smith, who previously did not qualify for entrance into Auburn, attended Mississippi Gulf Coast College.
Recruit signee Kalvaraz Besant waited three days and celebrated his signing with Auburn by getting arrested and charged with possession of marijuana, over 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn welcomes ex-Georgia safety Tray Mathews after he was kicked off the Bulldogs team by Coach Mark Richt. Yes, Mathews was arrested in March, along with three other Bulldogs players for multiple violations.
I hear that ex-head coach Gene Chizik was notorious for allowing bad behavior and poor character was ignored – as long as AU won games.
That is called throwing the ex-coach under the bus after winning a national championship.
Speaking of the bus,  if Chizik ignored poor character, I would suggest Malzahn is creating a culture of corruption at Auburn University.
Didn’t Malzahn work for Chizik in 2010?
Not to be denied, Alabama had its share of news this past two weeks.
Defensive lineman Jarran Reed was arrested and charged with a DUI a few days ago. He makes the second arrest in one week – and the sixth this year  – involving an Alabama football player.
2014 arrests for Bama: Kenyan Drake (July 5), Dillon Lee (April 10), Altee Tenpenny (March 24), Tony Brown (Jan. 18).  Let’s not forget Dee Hart, but he is now gone.
Overall, the Southeastern Conference leads the nation in 2014 with 46 arrests involving football players. Five teams from the SEC lead the nation in arrests: Georgia (10), Tennessee (10), Texas A&M (nine), Missouri (eight), and Ole Miss (six).
The Big Ten sits a distant second behind the SEC with a measly 13 arrests for 2014,
Media days … the word of the day should be “disappointed”
I’ve heard that Malzahn is “disappointed” in his players like Marshall and Mincy.
Is he disappointed because they broke the law, or that they got caught?
History will show how Malzahn handles these violations and his legacy as the head coach at Auburn will be written not for the games won or championships attained, but for making tough decisions that may not be popular with the fanatic fan base. He must instill the proper attitude that promotes character and integrity, but most of all, he must teach these student-athletes that they will be held accountable for their actions, even if that accountability means removal from the football team.
As far as Nick Saban and his two recent player arrests are concerned, I heard he was “disappointed”.
Drake tried to move his vehicle that was inside a crime scene. It was a dumb decision. You do not go over or under crime scene tape.
Reed was legally drunk under Alabama law.  This is a serious offense.
Saban has his hands full, so we shall see what is more important: stopping the spread or stopping the spread of crime.
If you are an SEC fan, you should be infuriated with these numbers and you should speak out for change. This is not perception or speculation; it is facts based upon real statistics.
Full disclosure –  as  Auburn season ticket holders, my family and I pay good money to an athletic program, and we expect that program to produce respectable, intelligent student-athletes that do not use drugs.
I believe if you have a complaint, have a solution.
My solution: I expect accountability.
I expect athletic programs to take a proactive approach when dealing with this problem of drugs and alcohol. I want drug and alcohol testing with harsh consequences for multiple offenders. This can be initiated by the university and does not need approval from the NCAA.
Breaking news: Alabama and the USC Trojans will get together on September 3, 2016 in Texas at AT&T Stadium.
When the two most storied programs in college football history face off, there are no losers. Alabama has won five of the previous seven meetings. The last meeting came in 1985 at the Aloha Bowl, with Bama winning 24-3.
Until next time …
Meyers is a sports columnist for The Outlook. You may follow him on Twitter at @brucemeyers11.