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More accusations leveled against Auburn’s football program

Gene Chizik AP

Over two years after Gene Chizik, Cam Newton, et al hoisted the crystal football, allegations of misconduct continue to dog the Auburn football program.

According to a report titled “Auburn’s Tainted Title: Victims, Violations and Vendettas for Glory” from former New York Times and Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts on her new website, Chizik and/or his coaching staff — and/or his predecessors — were responsible for multiple violations of NCAA bylaws including impermissible benefits and academic fraud.

The story ostensibly centers on former Tigers defensive back Mike McNeil, one of four ex-AU football players charged with armed robbery in March of 2011.  McNeil was one of a handful of former players quoted on the record for Roberts’ piece, a group that included wide receiver Darvin Adams, defensive end Mike Blanc, defensive end Antoine Carter and defensive back Neiko Thorpe.  Other unnamed sources were utilized in the story, on which AU officials have thus far declined to comment.

McNeil, who’s scheduled to go on trial later this month and faces 21 years to life in prison if convicted, leveled most but not all of the accusations included in the article.  Some of those include:

— After being rebuffed by his computer science instructor and that instructor’s supervisor in an attempt to get a grade changed, McNeil claims he went to an athletic department counselor with his problem. “Within days… the grade was changed from an F to a C and he did not miss a game,” Roberts wrote.  Additionally, three of the players claimed that nine players, including star running back Michael Dyer, should not have played in the BCS championship game against Oregon in January of 2011 because they were academically ineligible. “Auburn found a way to make those dudes eligible,” Blanc was quoted as saying.

— Adams, who set an SEC championship game record with 217 receiving yards that sent the Tigers to the BCS title game, claimed that he was offered financial incentives — McNeil and Blanc claimed it was several thousands of dollars —  by the AU coaching staff to return to the Tigers for the 2011 season.  Instead, Adams turned pro early and went undrafted.

— Following “a difficult day at practice in 2007,” McNeil claims that then-defensive coordinator and current Florida head coach Will Muschamp handed him $400 in cash and asked, “is this enough?  Is this good?”  Through a UF spokesperson, Muschamp, who left AU for Texas following that season, denied such a payment was made.

— McNeil claimed that he was given $500 to host 2008 recruit and eventual 2009 Alabama signee Dre Kirkpatrick — the NCAA limit is $50. “If I’m a star player and I’m a likable person, and a recruit comes in at my position, then, of course, I’m going to take him under my wing,” McNeil said in the article. “If a star recruit was in town, you would get a lot more than the NCAA limit.”

In addition to no reaction from the university, neither Chizik nor his agent have been available for comment, although one of the most-quoted players in the piece offered up this curious reaction via Twitter once the story went viral.

“Man this article is outrageous and isn’t true. The media will do anything for a juicy story smh #sad,” Blanc tweeted this evening.

Roberts’ blockbuster is the latest in a long line of accusations leveled against the AU football program that stretch back to months before their 2010 BCS title.

The most publicized scrutiny involved the recruitment of Newton, the Heisman-winning quarterback who left The Plains after one title-winning season for the NFL.  The NCAA investigated the allegations — that Newton’s services could be obtained during the recruiting process for a substantial financial “donation” to the player’s father — and ultimately determined that no violations had occurred.

Interestingly, there was no mention of Newton in Roberts’ report that focused primarily on that championship season.

In addition to the Newton imbroglio, the AU football program has been investigated over the past two years by the NCAA regarding its recruiting practices… allegations made by four former players on an HBO showTiger ProwlJovon Robinsontwo now-former ace recruiters and their recruitment of Robinson… and that’s about all for now as you get the point.

The NCAA has yet to respond to requests for comment, although they understandably have more pressing issues on their collective plates.

UPDATED 9:21 p.m. ET: In a pair of tweets posted to his Twitter account, Neiko Thorpe claims that he was misquoted by Roberts in her story.

“While I spoke to Selena Roberts about Mike I have just read her article & not only am I misquoted but my words are very out of context. We didn’t talk about NCAA violations or recruiting. I’m proud 2 have played at Auburn & the opportunities it gave me.”

For her part, Roberts stands by her reporting, including the on-the-record quotes attributed to the former players.

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44 Responses to “More accusations leveled against Auburn’s football program”
  1. be4bama says: Apr 3, 2013 8:59 PM

    This is ridiculous…malarkey!!

  2. thekatman says: Apr 3, 2013 9:04 PM

    Cheaters always get caught, and even if you don’t cheat, the NCAA will make up stuff, if they choose to do so.

  3. onbucky96 says: Apr 3, 2013 9:07 PM

    SEC…Striving Endlessly to Cheat

  4. cometkazie says: Apr 3, 2013 9:12 PM

    I will be glad when the season starts and there is real news.

    A swan song before going off to prison? I wonder how much he was paid for the story?

  5. me6661973 says: Apr 3, 2013 9:24 PM

    Funny how bammers make story up after they have fingers pointed at Sabana and crooked ncaa prez Satan fay lover. I think real story is that lsu scam back when Sabana was coaching suit store the deer antler juice the other stuff

  6. seanb20124 says: Apr 3, 2013 9:27 PM

    Athletes get special treatment . Duhhhh

  7. cometkazie says: Apr 3, 2013 9:44 PM

    seanb20124 says:
    Apr 3, 2013 9:27 PM
    Athletes get special treatment . Duhhhh

    A couple of decades ago I was watching a bowl game with my brother who was teaching at UGa. One of the Dawg running backs made a nice game. Woody said, “He’s not supposed to be playing. I flunked him.”

    Deja vu all over again.

  8. canetic says: Apr 3, 2013 9:49 PM

    One thing is for sure, there is no possible way the NCAA will screw up this investigation.

  9. jesse1834 says: Apr 3, 2013 9:56 PM

    So Oregon and Auburn were both “cheating” that year, I guess the NCAA will tell us that the game never took place.

  10. bonerchamp says: Apr 3, 2013 10:06 PM

    The NCAA has already fired the lead investigator on this case.

  11. Deb says: Apr 3, 2013 10:22 PM

    me6661973 says:

    Funny how bammers make story up after they have fingers pointed at Sabana and crooked ncaa prez Satan fay lover. I think real story is that lsu scam back when Sabana was coaching suit store the deer antler juice the other stuff
    Based on your writing (if you can call it that), you’re too drunk to grasp what I’m saying, but Selena Roberts–the reporter who broke this story–is an Auburn grad, not a “bammer.” I have no idea whether the story is true, but it has nothing to do with Alabama, no matter how much a semi-literate fool like you wants to pretend it does.

  12. deadeye says: Apr 3, 2013 10:31 PM

    Anyone who thinks the SEC doesn’t cheat like crazy is kidding themselves. And anyone who thinks that other conferences don’t cheat similarly is also kidding themselves. The whole thing is rotten from top down, and anyone who looks into it anywhere finds the same crap going on across the board.

  13. atxcane says: Apr 3, 2013 10:46 PM

    Non-story. None of the involved parties knew it was a violation, therefore no violation occurred.

  14. Deb says: Apr 3, 2013 11:42 PM

    atxcane says:

    Non-story. None of the involved parties knew it was a violation, therefore no violation occurred.

    That argument doesn’t work on cops :)

  15. lbroberts123 says: Apr 3, 2013 11:45 PM

    The woman is a former writer of two publications you have heard of, then posts this on her personal website that no one has heard of… You have to have a little bit of skepticism when reading this. Also the most quoted player is one that screwed up his career and was kicked off the team, and the more notable players are being misquoted. Seems to me that Ms. Roberts is trying to get her name back out there.

  16. atxcane says: Apr 4, 2013 12:04 AM

    I guess my wittiness didn’t come across very well; I was alluding to the Cam Newton defense.

  17. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 12:49 AM

    @lbroberts123 …

    Again, I have no idea whether there’s any validity to this story, but roopstigo isn’t Selena Roberts’s personal Web site. It’s a sports site featuring original content from a variety of well-known writers and filmmakers.

  18. lbroberts123 says: Apr 4, 2013 12:55 AM


    In the second paragraph of this article, it clearly states that it is her new website. I was going off of that, but if course the writer for CFT could be wrong.

  19. necr0philia says: Apr 4, 2013 1:16 AM

    Plain and simple “Who will Punish them if it’s true/or Not”?? NCAA?? The same people who tried for 2 years to bring Miami ==U== down!!? The same people who Violated there on rules and regulations in BOTH THE U AND PENN ST CASE!!?? Please,! I say that the NCAA should be dealt with 1st and

  20. roni says: Apr 4, 2013 1:51 AM

    Wow, college kids get paid to play college football…News at 11!

    Coaches & Boosters worth millions hand out a few thousand and what…. hundreds of dollars to unpaid players in a sport that makes billions of dollars!!!!!

    That’s like slavery, murder and adultery all rolled into one ugly crime against humanity! When will we stop this injustice of people getting paid to entertain us? We must take to the streets to stop the best team from winning titles!

    We must get these people who expect to be paid out of college football!!! These non-amateur athletes must be forced to go play in the NFL Minor league! Why the chose to go to college when they have avenue right out of high school??? I just don’t get it. And I’m SHOCKED!

  21. atmason says: Apr 4, 2013 2:30 AM

    Not a fan of Chizik. But, he just is not that stupid.

  22. pistolpete0903 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:37 AM

    I am shocked (sarcasm!!)

    The NCAA has become such a sham; none of these uncoverings should surprise us anymore.
    Just disband the whole collegiate thing and start a D-league.

  23. noring4youstill says: Apr 4, 2013 7:43 AM

    Yes but they just swept it under the rug. Way to go NCAA. Lets go get Miami though.

  24. packerbadger says: Apr 4, 2013 8:19 AM

    Like I have posted here time and time again…. SEC athletes don’t go to school and get paid. Thank you for validating my point.

  25. omniusprime says: Apr 4, 2013 8:48 AM

    Not surprising that cheating allegations keep dogging Auburn and Cam Newton. A shame the NCAA whitewashed it’s investigation of Auburn and Cam when we all know Auburn paid his crooked pastor daddy.

    Just another typical day of business in the corrupt SEC, the most prolific conference of cheaters ever. About time that the NCAA start investigating every SEC school for cheating and paying players, how else does Alabummer keep winning?

  26. vie05ua says: Apr 4, 2013 10:13 AM

    @atmason, you sure about that? You must not have read his book talking about his championship year. He took all the credit for the win, and only mentioned Malzahn recruiting Newton. Rest he threw under the bus.

    @SEC haters – you may hate on the SEC, but the jealousy abounds in your comments. If you think boosters aren’t paying players or giving some other benefit in other conferences, or even your favorite school, you’re a fool. Everyone hates on the SEC because they have been THE dominant conference since its inception.

    People bash because the SEC doesn’t schedule big out of conference games, yet over half of the crystal footballs reside in an SEC school after spanking non-conference teams. SEC teams win the majority of post-season bowl games consistently year after year. When a big non-conference game is scheduled and won, the haters love to say “well they weren’t good anyway, they’re having an off year.” Didn’t Michigan start out ranked 8th and was completely dominated by Alabama? Didn’t Florida beat a top 10 Florida St?

    Alabama was in talks, at one point, to play a Home-Away with USC. Usually, standard payouts from ticket sales even out on each side on the big name games. Alabama pulled out of negotiations. USC folks were claiming UA was scared, but truth was, USC was demanding more than double what UA pays D-IAA teams to come play.

  27. taintedlombardis says: Apr 4, 2013 12:19 PM

    This is awesome. Eventually every win the SEC has ever had will be vacated (except for maybe Vandy). I wonder if the NCAA will pull the “See No Evil” act and sweep this under the rug. Can’t destroy the Southern cash cow, now can we? The SEC–a pathetic and corrupt conference that has made a mockery of collegiate athletics.

  28. floridacock says: Apr 4, 2013 12:28 PM

    A real credible witness…..NOT

  29. akirchstein says: Apr 4, 2013 12:56 PM

    Is anyone actually surprised? Something was up with Chizik and Newton and it was only time before the NCAA found something. Of course it happens after Chizik left.

  30. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 1:14 PM

    @lbroberts123 …

    JT was reporting what’s been reported elsewhere, which does imply that it’s Roberts’s own site. But I was curious about the weird name–roopstigo–and spent a little time wandering around the site itself.

  31. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 1:16 PM

    @omniusprime …

    I know this is probably beyond you, but Alabama is winning because the school hired an exceptional coach who knows how to recruit and knows how to game plan. But keep whining. We enjoy it.

  32. packerbadger says: Apr 4, 2013 2:05 PM

    Um…WRONG Deb! SEC (that includes Alabama) wins because they CHEAT! EVERYONE (but SEC sympathizers) know the SEC “wins” because they cheat. Your idiot football players couldn’t compete in the Big 10 because that would actually require for them to read BEFORE they got to college. Funny how Saban wasn’t all that great at Michigan State. Even Bulemia had a much better record at Wisconsin than he did. Saban is actually able to keep your room temp IQ players in school because they can keep taking Napping 101 and Football 101 repeatedly for credits!

  33. lundy337 says: Apr 4, 2013 2:13 PM

    Grade changes are NOT an athletic issue, just ask former North Carolina Gov. Jim Martin.
    In his whitewash review of hundreds of grade changes and fake NOT easy classes at North Carolina which were made to keep players like Julius Peppers elligible the Gov. claims that the issue is academic only because regular students benefited too.
    So as long as Auburn gave cash and fake grades to non-athletes as well then they are in the clear since the NCAA has already let unc skate on this issue with only a 2 year postseason ban, which ended this year.
    It’s known as the unc-CHeat defense.

  34. packerbadger says: Apr 4, 2013 2:14 PM

    yet over half of the crystal footballs reside in an SEC school after spanking non-conference teams. SEC teams win the majority of post-season bowl games consistently year after year.
    Wisconsin beat Auburn the last two times they played them in bowl games. Just wait till they strip you of all those “wins” and crystal balls after all ya’alls get yer behinds busted into the next decade! Funny how SEC keeps getting busted for idiots and idiots cheating and you guys defend them to the hilt….ie Mr. Honeybadger.
    “Well, all ya’alls only gave him three chances and he’s got it hard. Its hard to get paid and go to school and play football and have everybody love me! Its haaard!” Lol!

  35. polegojim says: Apr 4, 2013 2:58 PM

    Forget for a second whether they ‘violated’ rules or not…. and I’m NOT CONDONING wrong acts or violations…

    But… what a piece of work! True or not, the university treated him like royalty.

    I got busted for ARMED FREAKING ROBBERY… and my recourse is… to expose my school???

    Seriously? Where’s the logic in that?

    Talk about biting the hand that FED you!

    Got to be a ‘deal’ on the table for his ‘evidence’.

  36. osage44 says: Apr 4, 2013 3:37 PM

    Selena Roberts publicly accused the Duke LaCrosse players of rape. (false accusation) She also accused Auburn of paying Cam Newton. (false accusation) In the course of her bitter vendetta against her alma mater, she has gone from the NY Times to SI and now to “”. None of her stories, i.e., accusations,have ever withstood scrutiny. This latest one is already unraveling. Where does a “journalist” go from

  37. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 3:37 PM

    @lbroberts123 …

    Not sure why people are taking offense at my saying I wandered around the roopstigo site. But in case there’s a misunderstanding: If you visit the site, you’ll discover it’s not Selena Roberts’s personal site, but it is a new sports site featuring original material from many well-known writers and filmmakers. It only takes a second to click a link and find out who’s behind a report like this, and I’m usually curious enough to do that. That doesn’t mean I’m endorsing the reporting. I’m not curious enough to double-check Roberts’s info.

  38. be4bama says: Apr 4, 2013 4:06 PM

    Please remember the magic word……POOF

  39. nightman13 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:38 PM

    I’m pretty sure they call things like this “business as usual” in the SEC.

    Pretty easy to dominate when every team in the conference is a filthy rotten cheater.

    Well, not every team. This might explain why Vandy has struggled for so long. It’s tough to win football games when you care about things like reading above a fourth grade level.

  40. nightman13 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:40 PM


    Just because the NCAA didn’t punish them does not mean the accusations were false. BIG DIFFERENCE

  41. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 6:27 PM

    @osage44 …

    Selena Roberts has a long career in sports journalism, so you can’t say nothing she’s written has ever withstood scrutiny. She followed the lead of the now-disbarred prosecutor in the Duke case and reported what other newspeople reported at the time. She also reported what others sports journalists were reporting on Auburn regarding Cam Newton. The fact that his father confessed to soliciting money from Mississippi State–which by itself should have gotten Cam suspended according to the NCAA’s own bylaws–means her reporting was not unfounded. Is this story unfounded? I don’t know. We’re just going to have to see how it plays out.

  42. mrpowers88 says: Apr 4, 2013 7:25 PM

    Just putting it out there, but when the players say that they are “misquoted,” they might just mean that they actually did the stuff she alleges, but didn’t realize it was against the rules until they heard about/read her article. If someone else spoke to them, it might go something like this (if they’re honest):

    Q: Did you tell her that you got $500 to host a recruit?
    A: Yeah
    Q: Did you tell her that what you did was against NCAA rules?
    A: Hell no! I ain’t no snitch!

  43. gt40bear says: Apr 4, 2013 7:36 PM

    Yeah, she stands by her “reporting” on the Duke lacrosse case too. While I don’t give a furry rat’s behind about Auburn, check her record and the record of employers over the years. I’m going to need more than her word before I believe this.

  44. be4bama says: Apr 4, 2013 8:06 PM

    Exactly, gt40!! You must be very wise.

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