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Muschamp ‘totally denies’ illicit payment claim in Auburn report

Will Muschamp AP

The fallout from yesterday’s explosive report on the Auburn football program continues today, with a former AU assistant and current SEC head coach very stridently denying claims of improper conduct leveled against him.

In the report from Selena Roberts of, former Auburn defensive back Mike McNeil, amongst myriad other claims, alleged that in 2007 then-Tigers defensive coordinator Will Muschamp had given him $400 in cash following a particularly rough day at practice.  From Roberts’ report:

McNeil recalls having a difficult day at practice in 2007 and then-defensive coordinator, Will Muschamp, calling him into his office. “I had no clue what it was about because I’d never directly asked him for anything,” says McNeil. “He slid about $400 over to me. He went into a drawer and gave me money and said, ‘Is this enough? Is this good?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’m good.’”

Muschamp, now the head coach at Florida, denied the allegation shortly after the story broke through a UF spokesperson.  Thursday, Muschamp, who left AU for Texas following the 2007 season, met the claims head-on with a brief statement to the Gainesville Sun.

Totally deny it,” Muschamp told the Sun‘s Robbie Andreu. “I don’t know where this is coming from.”

In a cryptic tweet, Pat Dooley of the Sun stated that he too had spoken to Muschamp today and that the coach “[h]as an idea why it was made.”  What the reason was is unclear.

Two other ex-players quoted in the article that briefly mentions Muschamp, defensive end Mike Blanc and defensive back Neiko Thorpe, have very publicly backed off quotes attributed to them, with the former claiming “this article is outrageous and isn’t true” and the latter alleging he was “misquoted… my words are very out of context.”

McNeil is awaiting trial this month on an armed robbery charge that led to his dismissal from AU two years ago.  McNeil has claimed he’s innocent of the charge, although he faces 21 years to life if convicted.

Neither AU nor the NCAA have publicly addressed the latest round of allegations that have dogged the Tigers’ football program since — and even before — winning the BCS championship in following the 2010 season.  It’s unclear if, as was the case when former AU players appeared on an HBO show alleging misconduct within the football program, the NCAA will talk to the players quoted in a report involving allegations of academic fraud, impermissible benefits and illicit recruiting tactics.

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23 Responses to “Muschamp ‘totally denies’ illicit payment claim in Auburn report”
  1. thekatman says: Apr 4, 2013 2:37 PM

    Of course he denies any allegations. That’s defense 101.

  2. taintedlombardis says: Apr 4, 2013 2:55 PM

    How is this news? Did you expect him to say, “okay, okay…ya got me…”?

  3. ryanrockzzz says: Apr 4, 2013 2:55 PM

    Honestly, it sounds like he was trying to help that little tattle tale out. It seems like it’s going to come back and bite him this time though.

  4. timh1955 says: Apr 4, 2013 2:56 PM

    Did anyone ever doubt Auburn was a cheater???

  5. osage44 says: Apr 4, 2013 3:17 PM

    Did anyone think that the media would stop trying to roast Auburn after they failed to prove any wrongdoing after the Cam witch hunt? Two of the quoted players in this article have already challenged its truthfulness. As has Muschamp. The only other source is an accused felon. CFT is just trying to fan the flames., indeed.

  6. thraiderskin says: Apr 4, 2013 3:22 PM

    This sucks for Aubrun. While a part of me (the Buckeye fan) wants to make a bunch of jokes and hypocritical rants, I truly feel bad for the fans. If this stuff is true, than like previous programs before them, they must loose scholarships, vacate wins, return awards and possible be suspended (depending on the depth of accuracy). Even after this article, should the NCAA hit Auburn with sanctions, I still have a hard time believing anything they say.

  7. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 3:43 PM

    @osage44 …

    CFT isn’t trying to fan anything. JT is reporting on a major story by a best-selling sports author, Selena Roberts–who happens to be an Auburn grad. He’s an Ohio State fan but never backed off on any of the OSU/Tressel stories. You want him to back off on an Auburn story that’s getting serious play in all the other sports media? Get serious. Whether or not the allegations are true, it’s a legitimate story involving a major Div I program and the head coach of another program. He has to report it.

  8. me6661973 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:15 PM

    This bum has no facts just trying make a story out of lies. I hope Auburn, Florida and any other teams ban this bum from all media events.

  9. tlmoon2112 says: Apr 4, 2013 4:44 PM

    Alabama fans will justify the oak tree killings now in 3,2,1…….

  10. bertenheim says: Apr 4, 2013 4:45 PM

    S-E-C! S-E-C!

  11. osage44 says: Apr 4, 2013 5:09 PM

    Who needs facts, logic, or corroboration when an idiot makes allegations on the internet. All you need to say is “According to…”.

  12. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 6:15 PM

    @osage44 …

    I would agree with you if it were just some goofball with a Web site. But it’s not. Selena Roberts is a respected sports reporter who’s written for Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, and the Orlando Sentinel, in addition to writing a best-selling sports book. She’s not posting rumors; she’s written a sourced news article. roopstigo may be a weird name, but it’s not a blogsite–it’s a legit sports site running original content from highly respected sports journalists and filmmakers.

    From an editorial perspective, the world is changing. Web sites are replacing print publications. A lot of legitimate news content is now developed and delivered digitally.

  13. sundevil1982 says: Apr 4, 2013 6:22 PM

    How bout they speed these sanctions along a little faster so their transfers don’t have to redshirt.

  14. jaydm84 says: Apr 4, 2013 6:36 PM

    The major problem here is that the only proof (so far) are words of an accused felon, who has a personal reason to try and get back at Auburn for being kicked off. I don’t buy it at face value, but there should definitely be an investigation. Since the monetary values are so little it will be difficult to find a paper trail, but grade changes could be major if true and may be easier to investigate.

  15. necr0philia says: Apr 4, 2013 6:41 PM

    Is that guy taking a dump in the picture above? Well I guess it’s typical of the Swamp people to do so!!

  16. ajonesmc931 says: Apr 4, 2013 6:50 PM

    @Deb your delusional if you consider Selena an acclaimed reporter she has been wrong on two other occasions (duke and a rod) Pretty sure she was fired from those jobs too, but don’t quote me. Also who are you to call her accusations facts, clearly since the posting their has been som denial ab specifically what was said. She is just trying to save any form of reputation she used to have and bashing your alma mater probably won’t help.

    I bet it’s because you are Selena!

  17. ajonesmc931 says: Apr 4, 2013 6:51 PM

    I call for a witch hunt! Along with the ongoing one!

  18. ajonesmc931 says: Apr 4, 2013 6:56 PM

    ….and she just started the website less than a month ago so it can’t be as acclaimed as you think and yes it is jus some online blog.

  19. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 7:49 PM

    @ajonesmc931 …

    First, I got my journalism degree from Missouri–the oldest school of journalism in the world–not from Auburn. And I’m a lifelong Bama fan. So, no, I’m not Selena Roberts. And I’m not a sportswriter. This stuff is my hobby–that’s why I spend so much time at it 😉

    Second, I have never called her material factual but have repeatedly said I have no idea whether her accusations are accurate.

    Third, her writing on A-rod was a best-selling book. I don’t know her bio intimately, but haven’t read anything about her being fired for inaccurate reporting. roopstigo is a newly launched Web site featuring original material from many writers and filmmakers, not just Selena Roberts.

    Fourth … as an SEC fan, it would give me no pleasure to see Auburn raked over the coals. I’m hoping the accusations prove false.

  20. wabbitslayer says: Apr 5, 2013 7:39 AM

    You are awaiting trial on an Armed Robbery charge, so you decide to start making **** up about a hated rival’s football coach.

    That’s good trial strategy in SEC country. He should be acquitted shortly.

  21. gatorprof says: Apr 5, 2013 10:29 AM

    Selena is trying to get publicity for her website. Apparently, she really needs to reach.

    Why is anyone listening to a guy awaiting trial on an armed robbery charge bringing up charges about something that allegedly happened in 2007?

    This is laughable. Imagine coach Boom going up to a kid and having the following conversation,

    “I am sorry that practice was so tough for you today. Here is some money. Does that make you feel better honey?”

    Are kidding? If the kid said that Boom laced him to him a profanity laden tirade about being a !@$@!#%, !#$!#$, #!!#@$!#, that would be believable.

  22. gatorprof says: Apr 5, 2013 10:34 AM

    Remember, Salena Roberts should be absolutely discredited until she apologizes or admits wrong doing for her inflammatory and false reporting of the Duke Lax case.

    When you get it wrong, have the character to admit so…

  23. packerbadger says: Apr 8, 2013 2:43 PM

    Uh….I didn’t do it.

    Good ol’ boy SEC system will clear them of all wrong doing.

    Pay a fine and admit no wrong. Its the way of the SEC!!

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