Gene Chizik

Auburn, Gene Chizik respond to latest Auburn report

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Yesterday, writer Selena Roberts, formerly of the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, released a story on her website Roopstigo.com alleging, while centering on former safety Mike McNeil,multiple NCAA violations dating back to and before the Gene Chizik era, including impermissible benefits and academic fraud.

Current Florida coach Will Muschamp, named specifically in the story for allegedly giving McNeil $400 in cash after a practice, has already vehemently denied any involvement.

Now, Auburn and Chizik, fired from the school last fall, are doing the same. In two separate releases — Chizik’s being a rather lengthy one — the school and the coach break their silence on the report. You can probably take a guess as the exact nature and tone of each, which you can read below.

Auburn AD Jay Jacobs:

“Anytime accusations are made against Auburn, we take them seriously. We have no reason to believe these allegations are either accurate or credible. However, as a matter of procedure, we are reviewing them carefully.

“It is important to note that several of the sources in this story have since indicated they were either misquoted, quoted out of context or denied the allegations.

“Unfortunately, the reporter who published this story did not fully represent to us what the story was about when requesting an interview. We were only told that the reporter was working on a story about the alleged armed robbery involving four former football players, which occurred over two years ago.

“We were never told the story would include allegations about academic fraud or improper benefits. Had we known that, we would have responded immediately with the statement above.”

And from Chizik:

“During my tenure at Auburn, the NCAA conducted a multi-year investigation into the Auburn football program that they called “fair and thorough.” The NCAA focused intently on widespread accusations about Auburn players being paid and other alleged recruiting violations. The NCAA conducted 80 interviews. In October 2011, the NCAA rejected “rampant public speculation online and in the media.” Unfortunately, the recent story published by Selena Roberts is more of the same. It once again portrays Auburn University, current and former coaches, professors, fans, supporters and community officials in a false light.

Unfortunately, Ms. Roberts’ story is long on accusation and inference, but short on facts and logic. It is noteworthy that the story comes just days before a player mentioned most prominently in the article is set to go to trial for felony armed robbery. The statements are very generalized accusations devoid of substance. During my time as Auburn’s head coach, I never authorized, instructed or directed anyone to change any player’s grade or provide any type of illegal payment to any student-athlete. Likewise, I am not aware of any alleged grade change or illegal payment by any member of my coaching staff, support staff or anyone else.

As for logic, the notion that the conduct inferred by Ms. Roberts was occurring under the NCAA’s nose, at the very same time the NCAA is conducting its thorough investigation, lacks merit. Further, the notion that there was ever an attempt to sabotage any Auburn student-athlete’s attempt to play professional football is outrageous. Auburn’s success in transitioning student-athletes to the NFL benefits both the student-athlete and the Auburn program.

I remain part of the Auburn family and take these attacks on myself, the University and community seriously. During my time at Auburn, the administrators, professors and academic staff were of the highest integrity. Additionally, the inference that there was academic support staff that worked together with professors to change grades is absurd. As an Auburn resident, I take great pride in the quality and integrity of our police department. Theyenforce the law equally and fairly and my dealings with police Chief Tommy Dawson and his staff have been nothing short of excellent. He has handled many high profile cases with the upmost integrity and professionalism. To imply anything otherwise is simply wrong.

If there is a sad truth here, it is that there are no repercussions for bloggers who blast out widespread, venomous allegations and inferences in such an irresponsible manner. To make bold and outrageous conclusions on such thin support is a travesty.

During my tenure as Auburn’s head coach, we kept the well-being of our student- athletes at the forefront of every decision. We ran our program with the highest level of integrity and accountability. Period. I make absolutely no apologies for that. I stand firm in my statements, my support of Auburn University, its student- athletes (present and former), faculty, staff and community officials. As I stated during the NCAA investigation, I am comforted knowing that the truth always prevails.”

Woman allegedly knocked out by Joe Mixon punch sues Sooner RB

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 5: Running back Joe Mixon #25 of the Oklahoma Sooners runs downfield as linebacker Dylan Evans #54 of the Akron Zips defends September 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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Whether it be the fight over making the video public or now this, one of the darkest moments of Joe Mixon‘s life simply refuses to go away.

In mid-August of 2014, Mixon, a five-star recruit that year, was suspended by Oklahoma for the entire 2014 season, a punitive measure that meant the running back would be excluded from any and all team activities.  The one-year suspension came about after Mixon was accused of punching a woman in a late-July confrontationbreaking four bones in her face and leaving her unconscious.

Media covering OU viewed a copy of the security tape that caught the exchange, including the knockout punch, between the woman and Mixon; Mixon’s attorney had previously claimed the altercation was preceded by racial slurs.

In late October of 2014, a plea deal was reached in the case that helped Mixon avoid a trial. As part of that deal, Mixon was given a one-year deferred sentence, 100 hours of community service and will be required to attend cognitive behavior counseling.

Now, The Oklahoman is reporting, Amelia Molitor, the victim, has filed a lawsuit against the Sooners running back, “alleging negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.” The newspaper writes that Molitor “is seeking compensation for her medical expenses and compensation for ‘severe anxiety, embarrassment, depression, humiliation and emotional distress.'”

The amount of monetary damages Molitor is seeking in the suit weren’t specified.

Mixon was welcomed back to the Sooners in February of last year and greatly aided OU’s run to a spot in the College Football Playoffs, finishing second on the team in rushing yards (753) and rushing touchdowns (seven). His 6.7 yards per carry led the team, and he added 28 receptions for 356 yards and four touchdowns for good measure.

In February of this year, an appeals court ruled that the assault video, in the possession of the City of Norman, is public record. A judge subsequently ruled that the video should remain sealed, only to see the Oklahoma Supreme Court agree with the appeal court’s ruling that it should be released as a public record.

The video has yet to be released — Molitor supports keeping it sealed — and yet another lawsuit was filed by media outlets in the area late last month.

Gang-rape victim shares her story with Baylor football players

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 12:  The Baylor Bears enter the field before a game against the Lamar Cardinals at McLane Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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As the Baylor football program continues to (hopefully) learn and move forward from the scandal that’s rocked the university this offseason, the current roster has received a stark look at the other side of sexual violence.

Nearly two decades ago, Brenda Tracy, a single mother to two young kids at the time, was gang-raped by four men, two of whom were football players on an Oregon State Beavers football team coached at the time by Mike Riley.  Last month, Tracy spoke to Riley’s players at Nebraska; this month, Tracy, at the request of Baylor interim head coach Jim Grobe, spoke to the current members of the Bears football team.

And, according to Tracy herself after the discussion Monday, the players were very open to her message.  From the Dallas Morning News:

I was prepared to walk into a very hostile environment,” Tracy said. “I was very prepared to walk into a place where nobody wanted me there.”

“They weren’t hostile toward me, and I didn’t go in there trying to destroy their program,” said Tracy, a registered nurse and Oregon native. “We got along, and it was OK. We all survived.”

“Not only do I feel for the victims when I see a stadium,” Tracy said, “but I also see a huge potential for change.

“I guess it’s bittersweet. It used to be just bitter. But today, it’s bittersweet.

Grobe came under fire recently for his stance that there’s not “a culture of bad behavior” at Baylor. While that strident and public defense caused further backlash against the program he’s charged with navigating through these rough waters, Tracy publicly praised the coach.

Jim Harbaugh, on rap video criticisms: ‘It’s only uptight white people that didn’t like it’

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh plays shirtless with participants during the Coach Jim Harbaugh's Elite Summer Football Camp, Friday, June 5, 2015, at Prattville High School in Prattville, Ala. (Albert Cesare/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)  NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT
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What, did you expect Jim Harbaugh to not make some noise at the Big Ten Media Days?

Earlier this month, the Michigan head coach appeared in the video for a rap song titled “Who’s Got It Better Than Us?” If you were a Wolverines fan, you liked it; if you were not a fan of the program, you more than likely abhorred it. And you were probably a stick-up-the-keister caucasian for that matter.

At least, that’s Harbaugh’s take on the criticism, as he relayed during his time with the media Monday.

There you have it, white people, from, ironically enough, the Pasty Khaki King himself.

And, not surprisingly, Harbaugh’s off-field antics aren’t likely in the past.

“My default is usually yes,” Harbaugh said, from transcripts provided by the conference, when asked about how the video came to fruition and why he did it. “Action, why not? And the reaction has been very good. I’ve gotten multiple texts, phone calls, comments from people that really liked it and I think the cool people liked it.”

Take that, uncool white folk.

Jarrett Stidham granted release by Baylor, just not to other Big 12 teams

Jarrett Stidham, Lemaefe Galea'i
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Unlike some recent 2016 signee defections, Jarrett Stidham won’t be afforded the opportunity to haunt Baylor — at least not in conference play.

Earlier this month, Stidham confirmed rampant speculation via Twitter that he would be transferring from the Bears and continuing his playing career elsewhere. Fastforward nearly four weeks, and the quarterback confirmed to ESPN.com that he has been granted a release from his BU scholarship, albeit with restrictions.

Specifically, Stidham will not permitted to transfer to any current member of the Big 12. Texas Tech, which had received a verbal commitment from Stidham before he flipped to BU two months before Signing Day 2015, had been mentioned as a potential landing spot for the transfer.

Other than other members of the league, Stidham is free to transfer anywhere he desires, including schools already on BU’s future schedules during his remaining eligibility. Those would include SMU (2016), Rice (2016-2019), Duke (2017/2018) and UT-San Antonio (2017-2018).

If Stidham goes the FBS route for 2016, he would be forced to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws by sitting out the upcoming season, and would then have three season of eligibility remaining beginning in 2017. There’s also speculation that Stidham could take the junior college path for a season and then move back to the FBS for his final three seasons, although his next step is currently unknown.

A four-star member of the Bears’ 2015 recruiting class, Stidham was rated as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position in the state of Texas.

Last season, Stidham started three games as a true freshman in place of the injured Seth Russell before going down with a broken ankle that ended his own season.  He had been penciled in as the Bears’ quarterback of the future when the senior Russell departed after the 2016 season.