Chizik: Nothing Wrong With Cam's Recruitment

Coach Gene Chizik

Comments from Auburn's head football coach are featured from the SEC Media Days in Hoover.

Hoover, Ala.--If Auburn coach Gene Chizik is particularly concerned about how Auburn recruited Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, he did a good job of hiding it on Thursday at SEC Media Days.

Chizik also disputed a published report from earlier this month that he was confrontational with NCAA vice president for enforcement, Julie Roe Lach, at a meeting with other coaches at the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla.

The Auburn football coach said he normally wouldn't discuss what was supposed to be private conversations, but since there have been media reports of what happened he would give his view of what took place.

"I was simply asking Julie, who is the top enforcement official for the NCAA, to clarify the process," he said. "To be honest with you, I was just very appreciative she was willing to give me some great answers so it was just simply a clarification of questions I had about the process."

Chizik said the exchange was not "testy" as had been reported. "I don't see it that way at all, in my opinion," he noted.

The NCAA official told Chizik the Newton case is not closed, although the quarterback was given the green light to play for the Tigers last year after an investigation into his recruitment.

Auburn had looked into the situation long before the season began and concluded there was no reason to hold out Newton, a junior college transfer who won the starting job and became SEC Offensive Player of the Year as the Tigers posted a 14-0 and won the national title.

Chizik said that the on-going negative publicity has not had a major impact on recruiting. The Tigers just signed the No. 1 rated class in the country by Scout.com and had a strong 2010 signing class.

"I feel really great about recruiting," Chizik said. "We are on track to have another really special class. We have had two back-to-back we hope are going to turn out to be really good classes. We feel like this class (2012) is no different than the previous two.

"As I have said on many occasions, I feel really good about the direction of the program and how we have done it," the coached added. "I put my head on my pillow at night and I sleep very well. I am very confident in the direction and what we are trying to do and where we are going."

Chizik said that he and the coaching staff seldom getting questions from recruits or their parents about the Newton controversy or anything else regarding the NCAA. "We focus on Auburn, we focus on graduation," he said.

Cam Newton

Speaking at the podium in the print room on the second of three days for the annual SEC Media Days, Chizik got this question from Phil Kornbluth, a radio show host in South Carolina. Kornbluth asked, "Danny Sheridan said on a radio show here in Alabama yesterday he had sources at the NCAA that said they think they found a third-party bagman that helped in recruiting Cam Newton to Auburn and tied that in with Auburn. I was wondering about your response to his statements."

Chizik responded, "I'll make this real clear. The NCAA on more than one occasion has said that Auburn has done nothing wrong in the recruitment of Cam Newton. Nothing's changed. Again, I can't control everybody's microphone, can't control everybody's opinion, don't try to, but again I will say as I have said it maybe the fifth time today. I feel really good when my head hits the pillow at night."

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