Coming off a 3-9 season in 2012 and heading into 2013 under new coach Gus Malzahn, it figured to be a tough offseason for the Auburn Tigers. Well, the program figures to be under much more scrutiny now, after the release of a report by Sports Illustrated and writer Selena Roberts.
According to Roberts’ report, which is posted on her website, Auburn changed grades of players to keep them eligible, and paid cash sums of money to potential NFL draft picks to keep them on the team. In addition to that, the team is accused of spending far more to entertain recruits than is allowed under NCAA regulations.
All of these violations allegedly happened under former coach Gene Chizik, who was fired in December.
The accusations stem from quotes coming directly from players, including anecdotes of incidents where money was exchanged. Former defensive lineman Mike Blanc, however, who is quoted in the article saying Auburn changed players’ grades, has since denied making those charges. Roberts, meanwhile, has stood by her reporting.
Among other former players in the report, Darvin Adams says coaches offered him money not to go into the NFL draft, and Mike McNeil made a similar claim, saying the cash reached “several thousand dollars.” Complicating the story is that McNeil is awaiting trial on a March 2011 armed robbery arrest, which McNeil claims is Auburn scapegoating him.
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Jordan-Hare Stadium