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Report says Auburn tutor allegedly took final exam for “at least one football player”

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Auburn has hired a law firm to conduct an investigation into alleged academic misconduct within the football program. According to a report from ESPN‘s Outside the Lines, a part-time academic support staff member allegedly took an online final exam for at least one football player from the 2015 team (it was originally reported the player in question was on the 2016 team, but that has since been updated to reflect the updated story).

The alleged misconduct was brought to the attention of the Auburn athletics department last February by a tutor who was previously told her position would not be renewed for another year. The same tutor had been the one to discover an academic irregularity with one unnamed player she had worked with. The player informed her he had not taken an exam for a class she saw had been completed with a perfect score on the player’s academic records.

Auburn has issued a brief statement to refute the allegation of academic misconduct with the football team and academic support staff and accuses the tutor of fabricating the story.

“It’s simply not true,” the statement reads, according to ESPN. “The person making the accusation is a part-time employee placed on administrative leave on Aug. 31 because of a dispute with a coworker. She is making claims not supported by facts, and based on what ESPN told us, she keeps changing her story. Neither she, her attorney nor our investigation have produced anything to support her claims.”

It is unknown how many players may or may not be connected to this alleged academic irregularity at this time. It is also unknown if any players on the 2017 roster are connected to this allegation.

Regardless of the validity of the accusation, it is a serious allegation that must be dealt with appropriately for better or worse. It is not believed this academic allegation is connected to the ongoing scandal connected to Auburn’s men’s basketball program. Needless to say, however, a story like this is not making anything going on at Auburn any easier with the school reacting to the news of its basketball program being tied to the FBI’s investigation to illegal activities in college basketball. The same law firm handling the university’s response to the FBI investigation, Lightfoot, Franklin & White, will also handle the investigation into this alleged academic fraud with the football program.

Florida’s statement on Jim McElwain’s death-threat claim is interesting, to say the least

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Maybe it’s nothing, maybe it’s something.  Regardless, it’s something that bears watching.

Losers of two in a row and off to a 3-3 start to the season,  Florida has underperformed and underwhelmed to say the least.  So much so, in fact, that head coach Jim McElwain indicated Monday that he, his family, his coaching staff and players have been subjected to death threats by unknown individuals.

The head coach went into no detail publicly regarding the nature of the threats.  Apparently, it was the same privately when discussing the situation with his employer.

OK then.

Again, it could be in the same neighborhood as naked shark humping — nothing. Bears watching, though, as one very outspoken member of the Florida media is very much already doing publicly about a situation that was apparently reported to the media before it was reported to the police or even the university.

LOOK: Arizona State to wear Pat Tillman-themed uniforms

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Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.

The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.

Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.

Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”

Jim McElwain says family, players have received death threats over 3-3 start

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Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.

How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.

“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”

In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.

Report: Sam Darnold expected to return to USC in 2018

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Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.

One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.

While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.

On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.

Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.