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Report: Auburn kept synthetic drug results under wraps

Gene Chizik AP

And here we go again.

Earlier this week, former New York Times and Sports Illustrated writer Selena Roberts wrote on her website,, that Auburn was responsible for multiple NCAA bylaw violations, including impermissible benefits and academic fraud, during the Gene Chizik/pre Gene Chizik era.

Among the allegations Roberts touches on was the players’ use of “spice”, a synthetic, yet formerly legal, form of marijuana. In a “report” from ESPN The Magazine and E:60, 12 football players on the 2010 national champion team were, and I quote, “gripped by an epidemic of synthetic marijuana use that led to a rash of failed drug tests…”

From the E:60 piece:

A six-month investigation by ESPN The Magazine and “E:60” into the spread of synthetic marijuana at Auburn reveals that a dozen students on the football team, including its star running back, Michael Dyer, failed tests for the designer drug. The investigation also found that because the school did not implement testing for the drug until after it won the national championship in January 2011, as many as a dozen other seniors who used synthetic marijuana were never caught.

It should be noted that synthetic marijuana wasn’t declared fully illegal in Alabama until October, 2011 (it became illegal at the federal level the following year).  Additionally, the NCAA only added synthetic marijuana to its list of banned substances in December of 2010.

But the angle in the ESPN story is that Chizik and Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs were “aware of the football team’s 12 positive tests for synthetic marijuana, they kept the results secret, even from the parents of the players.”

Probably because, according to Jacobs, spice wasn’t a part of the university’s official drug-testing policy until Aug. 2011 and therefore not punishable.

Chizik and Jabobs officially responded to Roberts’ report earlier today.

Would it have been nice if parents had been notified? Sure, but if it wasn’t an illegal drug, then it no longer is the university’s prerogative to do so. Besides, spice is the least of the program’s concerns if even so much of a portion of Roberts’ story is true.

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15 Responses to “Report: Auburn kept synthetic drug results under wraps”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 4, 2013 9:08 PM

    The old Morton Salt commercial: “When it rains, it pours!” It is now pouring on Auburn.

    As the patriarch in the southernpatriots family has stated for some time, that news reporters continued investigating Auburn and if there was anything there, he was confident they would eventually find it and reveal it.

    If Chizik and his staff covered up the rampant use of “spice” by the players, he did not do as did Coach Les Miles of LSU. Coach Miles warned his star player Tyrann Mathieu, and gave him another chance but told him if he ever took “spice” again he was gone. He promised he would not, received much counsel, and tutoring on matter, but did take it again, failed a test, and was gone, GONE. As bad as that sounds, it is the right thing to do. Something Chizik did not do. No player or players can be bigger than the program.

    The other allegations are much more damning than use of “spice” but it all makes for a bad time for Auburn University and its football program.

  2. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 9:10 PM

    ESPN says they were “gripped by an epidemic of synthetic marijuana use.” Geez … that sounds like a reefer madness slogan. It wasn’t even illegal in Alabama or banned by the NCAA during Auburn’s championship season. Now folks are just piling on.

  3. Deb says: Apr 4, 2013 9:13 PM

    I agree with you, alligatorsnapper, but it was a banned substance when Mathieu was caught using. It wasn’t when these Auburn players were allegedly using. That makes a difference.

  4. bucrightoff says: Apr 4, 2013 9:20 PM

    Death penalty here we come

  5. 1990tiger says: Apr 4, 2013 9:32 PM

    Tell their parents? Is this kindergarten? Could it be that the players were over the age of 18 as most college students are? If so, then there wasn’t any reason for the university to tell their parents.

    Furthermore, if “spice” wasn’t illegal or banned by the NCAA, then there wasn’t any reason to test for it.

  6. me6661973 says: Apr 4, 2013 9:57 PM hummm So it was just the parents of the soon-to-be convicted felons who weren’t contacted about their kids use of spice? So AU was supposed to do what about a drug that was not at the time illegal? So AU was supposed to conduct testing that did not exist at the time? It took a couple of hours to debunk a story BSPN worked on for 6 mo? What has happened to journalism when journalists take the word of armed robbers over everyone else, who also fail to check with anyone else to verify the story? The robbers have to blame spice; they have NO other defense. And THEIR children wouldn’t do anything like robbery, so it MUST be the spice’s fault and AU is responsible for the spice, don’t cha know? Guess what, BSPN? AU actually helped develop the test for spice by requesting a test to detect it and then participating in clinical trials! REPORT THAT!

  7. gatordontplay says: Apr 4, 2013 11:06 PM

    the ncaa investigation is turning into a witch hunt on auburn looking for anything to put them on probation after an embarrassing cam newton letdown on their part of the 1st investigation.

  8. thefiesty1 says: Apr 4, 2013 11:27 PM

    Selena needs to get her story straight before posting this junk.

  9. nfl4days says: Apr 5, 2013 1:07 AM

    That sound you hear is the NCAA getting ready to drop the hammer.

  10. atmason says: Apr 5, 2013 2:46 AM

    Total respect for Selena Roberts, and her intgretiy as a sports columnst/writer. However, having read some of her work for SI, and found it to be lacking in many facts and perspective, it is hard to believe that these allegations are really true. Not an Auburn Fan, or a Chizik fan…but this is disturbing.

  11. pjduffey says: Apr 5, 2013 8:28 AM

    I’m not completely up to speed on all this crap (“when it rains, it pours” is right), but I’m a little confused about all the comments talking about how Auburn’s title is tainted due to this Spice crap.

    If they broke other rules, I get it–that could taint their title (note the rumors surrounding 2010 Oregon, however). Personally, I think the whole Cam thing is enough to taint the title (though Auburn fans will literally deny to their grave any wrongdoing)–kid was dirty and deserved to get kicked off the Gators as a freshman (he stole a laptop).


    But this Spice crap seems totally irrelevant. Here’s the basic facts as I understand them:

    (1) Spice was not a banned substance until the beginning of the 2011 season. So anyone using the substance during 2010 was not using an impermissible substance.
    (2) It’s not illegal and, as noted above, it wasn’t banned.
    (3) As far as I know (and let’s hear some different thoughts if y’all disagree), Spice isn’t performance enhancing. I know Marijuana isn’t performance enhancing.

    So, the ALLEGATIONS are that SOME players from the team used a LEGAL substance that did NOT ENHANCE PERFORMANCE and was NOT BANNED?

    This appears to be the least controversial controversy of all time.

  12. taintedlombardis says: Apr 5, 2013 10:21 AM


  13. tigersdawgs says: Apr 5, 2013 6:48 PM

    But yet ALL of Bama’s is handled “WITHIN” so ??? Deer Spray anyone???? What came of that?

  14. tigersdawgs says: Apr 5, 2013 6:59 PM

    I drank an energy drink at work one time! Hope my boss doesn’t read this!! I may get fired!

  15. Deb says: Apr 5, 2013 8:17 PM

    @tigersdawgs …

    Someone wrote an article alleging that some Bama players sprayed deer musk (or whatever) on themselves next to their hearts to give them special powers. Woooooo

    Now ESPN is making a fuss about some Auburn players smoking a substance that wasn’t illegal or banned at the time they smoked it. Woooooo

    Both stories are equally idiotic and should get equal notice from the NCAA … which is none. Whereas Auburn’s Web sites and alum are constantly trying to manufacture problems for Alabama, this brouhaha you guys are experiencing over pay for play originated with Auburn alum Selena Roberts. It has nothing to do with Alabama and the Bama fans on here have been defending Auburn. So you can take your nasty comment about deer spray and shove it up your backside. I’m sure it would take about two inches for it to slam into your brain.

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