Auburn, Ala.--Auburn fans are used to being under attack and it seems like they have come more often since the Tigers won the 2010 BCS Championship. Recently the articles from Roopstigo and ESPN have gotten plenty of talk after allegations surrounding the Auburn football program were written about.
Much of the content for the Roopstigo article came from Mike McNeil, a former Auburn defensive back that was preparing to go to trial for Armed Robbery. Deciding to believe his word instead of going to Auburn to find out what their stance was, Roberts wrote a detailed account of what she believed went on during the Gene Chizik era at Auburn. Included in that were talks of rampant drug use and grade tampering.
Having already answered back once on the allegations, Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs fired back again on Monday with a detailed account of fact and fiction sent out to Auburn Alumni. Here is some of the response from Jacobs and it's to the point and fired directly at Roberts.
Watch Jacobs Video
Claims by Roberts are in bold:
The reporter wrote that Melodie Campbell claims
the family didn’t get a call about the arrest of her
son, Mike McNeil, until 3:30 p.m. on March 11,
Phone records show that Athletics Department
employees talked with a member of the family
three times before 3:30 p.m. and once afterward
on March 11, 2011. Calls were made at 9:01 a.m.
(3 minutes), 11:34 a.m. (9 minutes), 1:07 p.m. (7
minutes), and 4:45 p.m. (10 minutes).
Campbell was also quoted as saying, “To this day,
no one from the University has talked to the
Phone records show that Athletics Department
employees talked with a member of the family on
March 12, 2011. Calls were made at 11:41 a.m. (1
minute) and 11:44 a.m. (5 minutes). Athletics
employees also talked to a member of the family
on March 13, 2011. Calls were made at 12:07 p.m.
(1 minute) and 8:54 p.m. (18 minutes). In addition,
Auburn’s team chaplain had continued
conversations with a family member, including an
80-minute phone conversation on April 1, 2011.
McNeil’s defense attorney was quoted in the
story as saying, “To show you how innocent he is,
Mike is willing to go to trial because he says he
didn’t do it.”
Five days after the publication of this story, McNeil
pled guilty, accepting a deal for three years
imprisonment and three years probation for firstdegree
Roopstigo wrote, “Three players say that before
the 2011 BCS Championship game, the team was
told that as many as nine of their teammates
would not be able to play in the title game
because they were academically ineligible.
Roopstigo also quoted Mike Blanc as saying,
“Auburn found ways to make those dudes
An internal review by Auburn Athletics and an
independent review by Auburn University Internal
Auditing found no evidence that improper grade
changes occurred. In fact, six players were deemed
academically ineligible for the game and did not
travel with the team to Arizona. Mike Blanc later
Tweeted his reaction to the story: “This article is
outrageous and isn't true. The media will do
anything for a juicy story.”
Roopstigo quoted Mike Blanc as saying, “We
thought we would be without Michael Dyer
because he was one of them.”
Mr. Dyer was never in any jeopardy of being
ineligible for the 2011 BCS game. He passed 15
hours during the fall. He only needed 6 to be
eligible per NCAA rules. Mr. Dyer actually passed a
total of 24 hours through the Summer and Fall
semesters in 2010. He had a 2.8 GPA at the end of
the Fall semester.
Mike McNeil is quoted as saying of a computer
1000 class, “I was doing B work, but missed too
many classes; and I went to the instructor and said, ‘I really need this grade.” McNeil contends
that his academic advisor got the grade changed
from an F to a C.
Mr. McNeil’s grade was changed after
documented excused absences, due to medical
reasons, were provided to his professor. The
professor followed institutional policy in making
Mr. McNeil says he recalls coaches giving him
$500 to host Dre Kirkpatrick while Mr. Kirkpatrick
was on an Official Visit to Auburn.
Dre Kirkpatrick never attended Auburn on an
official visit. After the article was published, Mr.
Kirkpatrick publicly stated about his unofficial visit
to Auburn, "Nobody gave me any money, and
nobody spent any money on me that I know of. I
don't know what they would have spent it on. We
went to a party, but nobody was paying to get in
there. We just walked in like everybody else
seemed to be doing."
Ms. Roberts wrote, “As players recall, more than
40 players tested positive for recreational drugs
after the National Championship.”
In a six-month period from August 2010 through
February 2011, three football players tested
positive for recreational drugs out of 231 tests
performed. In the two months after the National
Championship game, an additional seven football
players tested positive for synthetic marijuana,
prior to synthetic marijuana being added to
Auburn’s drug policy as a banned substance.
Roopstigo quoted McNeil as saying, “When the
new coaches came in under Chizik, they
implemented new rules and it was kind of no
tolerance, but it always seemed to be aimed at
black guys. Chizik didn’t like tattoos and he didn’t
Numerous players on the 2010, 2001 and 2012
teams wore dreadlocks. Specifically from the 2010
team, they included Darvin Adams, T’Sharvan Bell,
Josh Bynes, Kenneth Carter, AJ Greene, Byron
Isom, Mike McNeil and Ryan Smith. None were
made to cut them off.
The story claims McNeil was not read his Miranda
In the “Affidavit Charging Crime” document
available to the public, it is stated, “All four
suspects made rights-advised statements
admitting involvement in the robbery.”
Roberts contends that Auburn obstructed
McNeil’s transfer process to Livingstone College.
After his arrest, Mr. McNeil did not properly
withdraw from Auburn University, making him
academically ineligible to transfer per NCAA rules.
Auburn Athletics Compliance and the Office of
General Counsel assisted Mr. McNeil in addressing
those issues with the NCAA. Those efforts
ultimately rendered him eligible to play at
Jacobs also had a message for the Auburn Family in response to the recent attacks in the media and the tough season in athletics for the Tigers:
"There is no question that this has been a tough year for Auburn Athletics. We all expect better, and we know we have to win. As disappointing as this year has been, rest assured we will bounce back. We always have.
"As part of our efforts to get better, we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with our stakeholders. That is why I wanted to let you know that a top-notch team of current and former coaches, athletics administrators, student-athletes and business executives will be coming in to give us a comprehensive evaluation. We welcome this review.
"The review committee, which was selected by President Gogue, is comprised of individuals whose expertise and experience puts them in position to independently and objectively evaluate the Athletics Department—while also offering insight into our strengths as well as the areas in which we must improve.
"It will be a top-to-bottom review, but Dr. Gogue has asked the committee to focus on five specific areas. They include the following: academic and support services for our student-athletes; the department’s financial management and health; the gameday experience for fans and customer service; all aspects of competition, including sportsmanship, compliance and winning; and the department’s management structure, including the effectiveness of its leadership.
"This review of athletics is part of Dr. Gogue’s regular evaluation process that takes place annually for all senior administrators and campus units."
Making his first public comments since a release following the initial story, former Auburn Coach Gene Chizik was on WJOX radio in Birmingham Monday and answered questions on a variety of topics. One of those was concerning making the right decisions off the field and the education programs in place at Auburn. Chizik said they did everything they could to educate players on making the right decisions and even included a meeting the day of the arrests of the four players for armed robbery.
"I can assure you this as the head coach at at Auburn: there were multiple educational sessions on making the right choices, doing the right things, to the point that, even when that unfortunate event happened," Chizik says. " had a team meeting that morning and we were getting ready to go on spring break. I explicitly told them and reminded them of the decisions they needed to make. They were getting ready to have seven or eight days consecutively off. The importance of not embarrassing their family, this university, everybody you represent, because the truth of it is, is when one player makes a bad decision, then it exponentially affects everybody around them. So, it's really tough.
"What I want to make clear is you can't take two players -- or four players in this case -- that made a bad choice. You can make a case depending on everybody else. Let's be honest, OK? It still comes down to personal responsibility, so I feel very confident that on a daily basis we did what we should do to educate these players, to try to coach them into making the right decisions, if they got off on the wrong path we tried to direct them back on the right path. We did that."
Chizik also responded to Darvin Adams' role in the original story. Mentioned as having received money to stay in school while at Auburn, Adams has since come out on record saying that was not the case. Chizik says he's proud of Adams for standing up for what is right and truthful.
"Darvin is a very quiet guy," Chizik says. "He loves to play football and he doesn't like the spotlight. He doesn't want to be the media darling. What was important to Darvin was to get the truth out. The allegation, if you go back, was that he was offered money to stay. That's just simply not true. I want to go back and address the facts and that's why I'm very proud of him. He addressed the facts and the facts were no coach and no booster offered him anything to play at Auburn, and no coach or booster offered him anything to stay at Auburn. That was simply a bogus allegation."
Chizik also addressed Cam Newton and the claims that have surrounded him seemingly endlessly since 2010. While Auburn continues to have to fight off rumor and rumor about the program, Chizik says once again the facts don't add up.
"The NCAA has probably spent the better part of two years at Auburn," Chizik says. "If you're an educated person, starting back at Cam Newton which I want to refresh everyone's memory started out as a Mississippi State problem and then somehow for 13 months became an Auburn problem.
"The NCAA comes in and does their due-diligence, which they do well. When they come in and they're going to do their investigations and there is something wrong then they're going to find it. Let's look at the facts. Let's look at Miami and Ohio State and North Carolina and most recently Oregon. They spent the better part of two years at Auburn so would it not be common sense that when they came in to look at Auburn about payments of players they found nothing.
"The problem is for 13 months, when there is an investigation going on, are there people frustrated because I can't say what's going on? Can Auburn come out and say that? No, because if you no the strategies of the NCAA you can't impede the process of an investigation. Our compliance department, myself, anyone related to Auburn, we can't come out and do that. That's going to be impeding the process of an investigation.
"I'm absolutely sure there was nothing going on. That's why in the first part of the season people are asking us 'how can you be so focused?' I was adamant and sure they weren't going to find anything with Auburn. My point is the NCAA leaves and you get a one-sentence response of getting drug through the mud and what did they find? They said they found nothing. Here's something people need to know. Auburn has not had a major violation in 20 years. My suspicion is that when they leave Auburn again and tie up whatever they're finishing tying up at this point, a year from now it will be 21 years. That's how confident I am."
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