The former NFL and Major League Baseball player dismissed allegations made in two separate reports this week while in town to serve as grand marshal of Sunday’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama.
Jackson, who is from the Birmingham suburb of Bessemer, said he flew in from Biloxi on Sunday morning and read a newspaper article on the allegations.
ESPN The Magazine reported that Auburn covered up widespread use of synthetic marijuana by football players dating back to the 2010 national championship season. A report on the website run by former Sports Illustrated and New York Times reporter Selena Roberts posted another story quoting former players alleging grade changes and improper payments.
Jackson said athletic director Jay Jacobs “came out and said what he needed to say” in statements disputing the reports.
“I don’t even know the kids. I’ve probably met them. But it seems like to me somebody’s fishing, somebody wants some attention, and they aren’t getting it,” said Jackson, who won the 1985 Heisman Trophy. “I actually wouldn’t give those accusations the time of day, to be honest with you.”
Synthetic marijuana, or spice, was included as a banned substance in the school’s drug policy in August 2011. Jacobs said 12 football players tested positive for synthetic marijuana from January 2011, when the company used to test players came up with a method that would detect it, until it was included as a banned substance in the school’s drug policy that August.
Three athletes tested positive in the first month after that and none since, Auburn assistant athletic director Cassie Arner said.
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