Auburn, Rumors, and the New York Times

Summer is the “silly season” for college football fans. With little to no actual news coming from a practice field or stadium, fans boil in their own juices during the long summer months, and anticipation for the upcoming season is often overwhelmed by the nursing of old grudges and festering of endless theorizing upon the evils of rival teams. This year, the ongoing volleys of accusations among followers of Auburn University (a faction in which I am counted) and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa have been spiced up with a new player on the scene: The New York Times.

In or around early June, a reporter from the Times approached Auburn, stating that the paper wanted to do a story on AU’s new academic center for athletes. Auburn, which had recently been honored as the only public university BCS football program to earn top marks in the NCAA’s new assessments of academic performance, granted the request. According to an informed source at Auburn, upon arrival, the reporters, “came in asking to do a piece on the new academic center, and essentially backdoored their way in to do a piece on something else. The NYT’s initial contact and misleading [nature] of it leads me to believe that they had a specific agenda.”

According to other sources in and around AU, the Times is planning to run a story critical of athletes taking “independent study” coursework. The Times story remains unpublished at this point (the lead reporter is believed to be Pete Thamel, who co-wrote an article about athletic recruits at Auburn and other schools late last year), but the threat of its release and previous experiences with Times hit pieces moved Auburn to announce an internal investigation ahead of its publication. Thamel has not responded to an emailed request for information on his reporting.

Auburn’s press release reads, in part:

In May, a complaint was made through the Ethicspoint system alleging that a single professor gave grades to student athletes for courses that required little or no work.The Office of the Provost takes any concern related to academic processes at the University seriously. As a result, on June 5, I appointed a committee to investigate the anonymous claim. The work of the committee is not complete given the number of personal interviews that must be conducted.

The Committee will issue a report upon the completion of its work, and that report will be made public.

 

It is assumed, but not known, that this allegation is at least part of the unpublished Times story.

As regards the substance of this or other allegations, I am not able to draw any informed conclusions, in no small part because I have very little actual information. For now, at least, I know as much about the public accusations as you do: an anonymous complaint has been filed, and the university is investigating. Everything beyond that is an undulating mass of rumor, and your guesses are probably at least as good as mine.

That said, the actions of Times employees regarding the story, going well beyond the initial misrepresentations of the lead reporter, are frankly more interesting at the moment. They suggest at the very least that the Times has not approached or pursued the story in the manner of a disinterested observer.

Times staffer Warren St. John, the author of a hugely successful and critically-acclaimed book about his experiences as an Alabama fan, maintains a sports blog and has posted to the popular Tider Insidermembers-only message board for several years under the screen name “wsj.” I should note that there’s nothing at all wrong with that; to my knowledge St. John has long-since identified himself and his occupation to other posters on the site, and I don’t think there’s anything inappropriate about his participation in general at TI or other sports boards.

That said, St. John apparently leaked the existence of ongoing Times reporting on Auburn to fellow members of the TI message boards.

On June 29, “wsj” posted the following to “The Quad,” a TI section devoted mostly to political discussions. The context was ongoing controversy over the Times’ most recent decision to publish classified information about US methods of tracking terrorist funding. The Times’ actions in that case were not well-received among the board’s readership.

“I predict soon enough a bunch of you homers will be praising the NY Times’ reporting and if I’m wrong call me on it.”

I found the last to be a remarkable statement, given the Times’ famous reluctance to admit to work on unpublished stories. Times staffer David Cay Johnson flew into spluttering online rage recently when pro-blogger Cathy Seipp wrote about being contacted by a Times reporter on a political story, and published her own account before the Times reporter could go to press.

St. John, who also posted on June 22 that a female NCAA investigator had been spotted in Auburn, has not responded to emailed questions about this matter sent to his address at the New York Times.

Also on June 29, a TI member with the screen name of “OscarGrouch,” whose bona-fides were vouched for by the board’s moderator, posted the following:

New York Times AND the NCAA have been in the Barn [Auburn], doing investigations. Look for the NYT part of it to hit papers — including, I would imagine, The Tuscaloosa News — sometime late next week/two weeks from now.

The identity of “OscarGrouch” is unknown. By early this week, speculation was flying on various boards that the OscarGrouch missives had been posted by David Wasson, the executive sports editor of theTimes Company-owned Tuscaloosa News.

To put the accusations in a context relatable to those unfamiliar with the Byzantine turns of the Auburn-Alabama rivalry, an employee of the Tuscaloosa News spreading rumors about Auburn on an Alabama fan site would be roughly equivalent to, say, a Boston Globe columnist bragging on DailyKos that the Times was about to come out with a damning expose on George W. Bush.

When contacted by me by email, Wasson flatly denied being “OscarGrouch,” and I have no reason not to take him at his word. I went on to ask a number of follow-up questions, specifically, what involvement he’d had in any New York Times reporting on Auburn or Alabama, whether he’d ever posted to TI, and if he had, whether he’d identified himself to other posters.

Wasson declined to answer any of these questions. On the subject of New York Times reporting, he replied, “That information, if there is any information, is proprietary,” which came as a particularly delicious irony, given the Times Company’s record of revealing national security information. Secrecy is apparently for me but not for thee, so long as I’m an employee of the Times Company.

Wasson also declined to answer any further questions about his postings to message boards, saying, “Seeing as how any answers I could offer you will very likely end up on any number of internet fan sites, I respectfully decline to answer your numerous questions.”

When I replied, “I have indeed posted to the Bunker [an Auburn fan board] and other sites, I should note at all times under my real name. I fail to see how that makes any difference in this case, but I have found that people working in the mainstream press tend to be much keener on asking questions than answering them,” Wasson did not respond.

In a Wednesday interview with Birmingham columnist and radio host Paul Finebaum, Wasson said of TI, “I’m not going to say that I have never posted on there before,” and stated that he’d had an account on the site for over seven years. Regarding revealing information about any ongoing New York Times reporting, he said, “That information is pretty proprietary, and if it were to come out ahead of time, I imagine some people would be pretty upset about it.”

Wasson has not responded to questions about whether other Tuscaloosa News employees may have been involved in the unpublished Times article, or whether any had posted the “OscarGrouch” notes or other online rumors about Auburn. It’s not hard to see why AU fans are suspicious. As a Times-owned newspaper, Tuscaloosa News staffers could well be aware of an ongoing investigation into their hometown team’s biggest rival. The temptation to tell somebody about it could well have been irresistible.

When asked his opinion about the propriety of journalists posting rumors about opposing programs to fan websites Finebaum himself says,

I think it is highly inappropriate. If someone wishes to post under their real name – and I can’t imagine why anyone would – that’s okay by me. But to post under bogus names on subjects directly related to their profession is beyond imagination. What somone does in their private lives is one thing. In other words, if you want to get on a message board that deals with the breeding of poodles, then, who cares? It has nothing to do with your work.

However, to spread gossip about a college, in this case, Auburn, is off the charts. It’s especially wrong if you have posted some gossip you may have heard in your role as a journalist.

As I said above, I have no idea right now about how accurate any of the announced or rumored accusations may be. But given the considerable recent history of arrogancepoor judgment, and outright deceit on the part of the “newspaper of record,” I can safely say that it’s going to take a lot more than what Finebaum acerbically describes as “a take out piece in the [New York] Times.”

 

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49 Responses to “Auburn, Rumors, and the New York Times”

  1. John Says:

    good gawd Will, how long did it take you to put this together?

  2. Butch Says:

    Will,

    So did 138 athletes get credit for a class they did not do work in or not. How about asking questions of your own institution before going after Warren or anyone else. Glad to see you spend so much time on TiderInsider. My gosh, how about worrying about the team you support and not anybody else.

  3. John Davis (texasAUtiger) Says:

    An outstanding rebuttal that the mental midgets populating TI and gumshoeing for the NYT/TN will be unable to refute.

  4. Bryan Says:

    Get a life you loser. I bet your fat arse reads the tiderinsider message board to your fat arse wife and fat arse kids.

  5. Hammer Says:

    It’s HAMMER TIME Barners!

  6. Joe Says:

    LOL!

  7. Rob1855 Says:

    Nice work, Will. It’s a well-thought out piece. When all of the facts come out, I’m certain AU will be exonerated.

    On a side note…. if 2006 is the year of “fear the thumb”, should 2007 be the year of “turn your head and cough”?

    Just a thought.

  8. Butch Says:

    What rebuttal? If nothing is wrong no big deal. Attack the sources then. What does attacking St. John accomplish. A rebuttal would be to refute the charges…I did not get any of that in Will’s article. How about attacking Phil Marshall for writing about the integrity of Tubberville in the Huntsville Times while he also writes for an Auburn fan site. No problem with that I bet.

  9. John D. Says:

    Great job Will Collier. I further believe that Finebaum was being updated by WSJ, Cecil Hurt or both.

  10. Rob1855 Says:

    It’s Tuberville – with one “b”, you ignorant hillbilly.

    I’m sure you know how to write your father’s name, and Tuberville is no less your daddy.

  11. Butch Says:

    Sorry….I took independent study courses in spelling at Auburn.

  12. Archie Says:

    Great read, as usual, Will.

    As expected, the spuaters and turderincestors have a reading comprehension problem.

    The NYT will exhaustively cover the “nature” of any sins commited at Auburn. That was the focus of their investigation and their work.

    Clearly, this commentary from you was not intended to defend anyone at Auburn and you did not attempt to do so.

    You did clearly define the “nature” of the NYT, however. And that “nature” is independent of whatever happened at Auburn, good, bad, or indifferent.

  13. DT Says:

    What’s the matter Butch? Can’t beat us on the field, so your school’s boosters have to resort to this? Pathetic….just like your school’s football team.

  14. Trackem Says:

    Will, excellent piece. You have raised some excellent questions, yet more remain. How did bammer fans know about all of this 3 weeks earlier than even the most connected Auburn insiders? How did the NY Times get their initial information, being that the online complaint was confidential? Why is the NY Times using Tuscaloosa News employees as sources? Hmmmmm…I bet Eric Ramsey knows.

  15. Butch Says:

    DT, know “we” had nothing to do with this. My bet is on the people inside the Auburn faculty that do not like Lowder are behind this. Your fellow alumnus Ms. Roberts would be a better person to ask. All Warren did was answer someone who was being critical of his paper for its war reporting pointing out that poster would not say the same things when this story broke. How about the fact that Finebaum had the story 6 weeks ago but refused to talk about it? Seems to me you guys are getting upset with the wrong people.

  16. Steven Donegal Says:

    The article is now up on the NYT website and it appears that Auburn may have a bit of a problem. Good luck, fellas.

    Sorry, I’m not good with html tags so I’ll just copy the whole url below.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/13/sports/13cnd-auburn.html?hp&ex=1152849600&en=c25d9c5a7d313bfc&ei=5094&partner=homepage

  17. Shane Says:

    If you can’t beat em….do whatever you can to bring them down…..they just screwed up bigtime…..

    Mr. Tubs…put that fifth finger on them in grand fashion….do not call off the dogs this time.

  18. kenneth Says:

    DT, you have to be an idiot. Are you trying to say because Alabama has lost on the field the last 4 years, that they are doing this to Auburn. You need to read some of the comments made by your own football player’s before you accuse Alabama. If you really care about Auburn, if this is true you people need to be raising hell with Lowder because he’s the man running that university rather you want to beleive this or not. Auburn is so afraid of losing the money this man donates to the university, they will not get him out of the BOT’s and he will continue to tear down Auburn’s university. You also have other issues concerning 7 others schools, so buckle up and get ready for the ride. Alabama is not one of the seven schools, so don’t try to blame us when happens. Think, Tommy re-assigned his top recruiter to a administrative position.

  19. John Says:

    Will,
    As expected, I see two types of responses to your comments.
    Gleeful Bama fans who will deny Alabama ever cheated, but take a country wide issue and lay it on Auburn as the founder of crib courses.
    The Times article has been read by Paul and the apocalypse of Auburn has been forecast.

    Roll Tide, Yes, thank you god! Please, you pathetic losers. If any of this information provided by Will has truth, then the times story means nothing.

    Auburn can do nothing but face the tainted allocations, defend itself and listen to all the Bama faithful acclaim their holier than thou hypocrisy. It does not matter. This story will fade into the horizon and Alabama will still be looking to next year.

  20. JollyRoger Jay Says:

    Hello Will…great response by you…How have you been…long time no see since I sold the Jolly Roger..came across this by way of Finebaum.

  21. steve Says:

    The farmers have long complained about not getting media coverage. Congrats. You just got some excellent national and international exposure. Hard to beat the NY Times. Even 60 Minutes can’t compete. Enjoy!

  22. kenneth Says:

    John, you belong with DT as being an idiot. Have you read the NYT’s story? Prof. Gundlach in your sociology department is the person providing all this information about what is going on down there in the department. To blame someone else for this is stupidity. You have professor’s and student’s that are getting tired of having to work for their degree and you give a person a degree because he is an athlete. Read one book and submitt a 10 page report on it and get 3 credit hours for it. You have got to be kidding. Right!!!

  23. BDH Says:

    Hey auburn fans,if you would go to http://www.nytimes.com you would see it was one of your own who got this whole thing started,a football player received a scholar of the week award in sociology and the professor over sociology at auburn had never even heard of him.

  24. JD Says:

    My, my, my. Such passion. Truly a journalistic revelation: Athletes at Auburn, particularly football players, have a bit of a lower educational standard to meet than does the common everyday War Eagle or Tiger or whatever the hell they want to call themselves this week.

    News flash for ya, gents: The same thing happens at Alabama, as well as every fargin’ school in the SEC (except for maybe Vanderbilt which is why they suck), not to mention throughout the BCS.

    The only newsworthy part of this type of story is the extent to which the school covers, or fails to cover, it up.

    Bama folks have no place to be jumping up and down, either, because the Tide is still finishing up its five-year probation from the 2002 go-round with the cash paid to the kid from Memphis who couldn’t spell “cat” when spotted the “C” and the “A.”

    True fact: Alabama no longer uses the “We’re Number One” chant at football games because all the players would take off their helmets and look at them in puzzlement. Except for the kicker, of course, because he’s always number 1.

  25. RGY Says:

    Where does the St. John quote reference a story about Auburn University? I missed that.

  26. TM Says:

    I would like to make a comment to “JD.” It seems to me he is like every other Auburn fan out there. The minute something happens to Alabama, they make jabs, laugh and continue to rave about it for months. However, when all of a sudden we find that Auburn has been doing a “no-no” they all of a sudden refute to making jabs at Alabama. Now it is Alabama’s turn to return the agony. Auburn fans have to face it, without that lousy Socialogy professor handing out fake grades you might not have had that “perfect season”, and for that matter, your athletics department would never have been ranked as high academically. I knew something was fishy when I saw that. But I will not lie, I think it is hilarious that a professor at a football game didnt recognize that scholar athlete on the screen. PRICELESS! The facts are out, and by someone in YOUR OWN SCHOOL. And if this turns out to be all well-founded, how does it effect that prestigious athletic academic rating? I am not happy this has happened, but I hope it is a wake up call to all those Auburn fans who continually say that their school does nothing wrong and it is all Alabama. I cant wait to see what YOUR probation is going to be so we can hound you all about it.

  27. Ed Says:

    The REAL story is the under handed academic practices at Auburn. Right?? Deflecting it back at an Alabama fan or someone who May or May Not write for the Tuscaloosa News is lame.

  28. brad Says:

    Great article Will. So really, how much $ and time do you spend lurking around Bama sites?? If you could have only waited a few more hours before pulling the “Bammer Conspiracy” trigger, you would have known all your ASSumptions would be blown out of the water with the release of the NYT article. Too bad, but what’d ya expect? I mean, nobody nationally takes aubbie seriously, and never have. You guys are your own worst enemy-and you’ve successfully screwed yourself again on a national stage.

    LOL, you barners are something else. I have nothing left to say but: “Fear the Dumb”

  29. Tim Pittman Says:

    Ok, I am a 1985 Auburn alum. In 1993 I completed my MBA from Indiana State. A fellow student and I were lacking one class that was marketing – related. The head of the MBA program allowed us to take an “independent study” international marketing class. All it consisted of was reading a bunch of articles on marketing in Canada and then writing two papers. We both got A’s – and neither of us were student-athletes. The point I am making is this: These types of classes happen at EVERY SINGLE UNIVERSITY IN AMERICA. There IS no story here – but I can guarantee you that the media and academia watchdogs will put enough pressure on prof’s at AU to stop these types of classes.

  30. TM Says:

    TM – Nice try, no donut. I’m not an Auburn fan, not even an SEC fan, but I am a fan of academic integrity, and IMHO any supporter of a team that avoided the Death Penalty three years ago just by the hair on its warty-wart wart has no bidness bashing anyone else about ethics and athletes.

    I’m not a ‘Barner.’ In fact, I’ve never set foot in Alabama save for getting out of the car alongside I-65 to take a picture of the restaurant north of Mobile selling “Ho-Made Pies” and “Sanwiches.”

    Schadenfrueding on AU, I can understand, even respect. I do it all the time to my number one rival school from college days (Fresneck State).

    I just find it amusing that the Bama folks get all in a snit when anyone calls BS on them for being all of a sudden hell bent for leather when it comes to ethics.

  31. JohnInHsv Says:

    You can look for Auburn flaks to continue to deflect this back at Bama. It’s the only defense they have.

    What the hell difference does it make if people on a PRIVATE message board foreshadow the release of a article negative towards Auburn?

    The real question is, “did AU pass out phony grades to players”?

  32. Joe R Says:

    Wow! As many as 25% of the students in these directed studies were athletes! Now there’s a smoking gun…

  33. RTR Says:

    As a Bama fan, I personally don’t like this whatsoever. If we beat Auburn this year, and that’s a big freakin’ “if”, I don’t want it to be because Auburn has been crippled somehow because of this incident. I would be much more satisfied in knowing that we beat an Auburn team at it’s full potential. I would like to see academic and athletic programs at both schools clean themselves up and exercise a little ethics. All this does is further perpetuate the “dumb uneducated rednecks” stereotype that everyone else in the country seems to have of this state. That being said, it is naive to think this doesn’t take place to some degree at a lot of universities across the country. That doesn’t excuse what Auburn has allegedly done, they simply got caught. Now they will have to suffer the consequences.

  34. Tiderboy Says:

    Boy…I hope they throw the book at em. They have been cheating for so long and now this. I bet Lowder is coming down on TT right now. I would love to be a fly on the wall.

  35. Tiderboy Says:

    I hope we are calling their committs. You know they have got to be thinking about other schools as soon as this story broke.

  36. pd4au Says:

    first to JohnInHsv:

    You are absolutely correct. As an Auburn fan I don’t care who had an “agenda,” I mean HELLO, obviously somebody did, but who cares, if the allegations are true. Like Jose Canseco who is a absolute loser, who everyone hates, and clearly has his agenda, a lot of the stuff he said was true. So your question is legit.

    BUT, a couple of things. Even the article indicates the grades weren’t phony, i.e. A’s given out for doing nothing. If that was a university sanctioned course and the students passed it, then there are no eligibility issues here. Is that course a joke? obviously it is, but the NCAA can do nothing about this. The university should and they already have taken some action. This is a sociology department issue. In fact, if people remember there was a big piece in Sport Illustrated (I believe) about Duke’s sociology degrees being significantly easier too. I remember Jason Williams being called out and the university cracking down on the “toughness” of these course’s but nothing came of it from a NCAA perspective.

    To Joe Rat:

    25% of the class (not all independent study classes) were athletes (not even football players). That means 75% are normal students. This is not unheard of at all. There are a lot of athletes at the university, so that percentage isn’t CRAZY and as smoky as you imply.

    from al.com… “Twelve Auburn players played as graduates in the Capital One Bowl in January. Nine, including three who graduated in three years, played in the 2005 Sugar Bowl. Of those 21, three majored in sociology or criminology. (Is that smoke to you? Check your own football team.)

    Of the 77 players, including numerous walk-ons, profiled in Auburn’s post-spring football media guide, nine are majoring in criminology and seven in sociology.”

    The only sketchy thing is Langenfeld’s class registration. I would like that double checked, but that is small potatoes.

  37. TM Says:

    The issue is not the independent study courses per say. If you read the article this professor was taking on 4 times the normal work as a regular professor, which others said CANNOT BE DONE. Instead of the required 6-7 readings and papers, he required one. Most of his athlete students left with a abnormally higher grades and grade point averages then the rest of their classes!
    Its the fact that this professor used these classes to hand out good grades to boost averages for athletes to be able to continue to participate. It is wrong, it is decietful and immoral.

    The coaches themselves told the players to take these classes when they are in a bind to keep them eligable. Basically, these classes provided leverage for poor academic performing athletes and boosted them to scholar status and basically handed them their diploma.

    Independent study classes are not new, but they are being taken advantage of. The professor who caught this is right, he does not want his department to be a diploma mill. I would not want to hire anyone without the experience behind the diploma. Lets face it, most these guys will never reach the NFL, and for those who do it is a very short career for most/ What do they have to show for it then?

    Independent study courses everywhere should be revaluated for their academic integrity both for athletes and regular students.

  38. Uncle Squid Says:

    Forgive this poor confused yankee, but how did a blog post about bad-faith reporting by the NYT spur so much comment about the relative sins of the Auburn & ‘Bama athletic programs?

  39. DT Says:

    Gundlach shopped the story around. When the Auburn-Opelika News rebuffed him, Gundlach proceeded to tell Wasson (Executive Sports Editor of The NY Times owned Tuscaloosa News), who then in turn told Warren St. John. Just so happens that St. John is an employee himself of the NY Times (that must be a strange coincidence tide fans).
    Thamel did this hit piece as a favor to St. John.

    Bottom line….the academic program in question, was found to be a potential problem that was subsequently fixed over a year ago. Also, it has become apparent that Wasson & St. John are sticking their noses where they don’t belong. However, if this is how uat boosters want to play it….fine by me. We can go that route also.

  40. Steven Says:

    As an Alabama alum, I have had to deal with a lot of less than spectacular seasons recently. However, I always have been open minded about the Football team I love. WE were put on probation, because dirty people did dirty things and got caught. What has come out today about Auburn, I promise, is nothing. Sorry to the Tide faithful whom want to see Auburn burn. This story will fade, and fade quickly. Like mentioned before, this goes on in every school, and is not un ethical.

  41. Jason Says:

    I would suggest looking at the problems with your own university before accusing writers from the NY times about leaking an article. Who cares who leaked the story, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of the article.

    The NYT article indicates that the provost was aware of Peete

  42. AU Fan Says:

    TM:

    Where did the article state this? “Most of his athlete students left with a abnormally higher grades and grade point averages then the rest of their classes!” I read it to say all students left with high grades, regardless of your athletic ties.

  43. De Novo Says:

    Do y’all have actual jobs?

    Bama fans, I am glad the means have been provided for a short reprieve from having to think about your upcoming season.

    Alas, be not blinded for too long as you are happily lapping up information that is all so insignificant.

  44. D W Says:

    If Independent studies courses (used by 75% NON-ATLETHES, and ONLY 18 football players from entire 2004 season) are to be deemed that “this professor used these classes to hand out good grades to boost averages for athletes to be able to continue to participate,” according to one poster, then in fact, Independent Studies (or Directed Reading) courses should be abolished in EVERY instituional program, for EVERY student that enrolls in one, whether the university has athletic programs or not! Why should a non-athlete be given the advantage of taking a Directed Reading course that an athlete can’t take?

    If they are only given just to provide an easy A or B, then NO ONE EVER should be able to enroll in such a course. Professor G did not seem to tell what the other 75% made in the courses (or at least Thamel forgot to report it), did they get all A’s and B’s too? Thamel didn’t bother to ask or tell what any other univerity’s policies (including Vanderbilt) are concerning Independent Studies courses (or did he forget to report it?).

    This whole thing is absurd, irresponsible reporting, and one sided! What does “Auburn’s past problems” have to do with the supposed subject matter of the article–Independent Studies? Not one darn thing–especially the fact that admistrators/boosters went to Louisville to look for another coach. That sure wasn’t “cheating” or any type of supposed NCAA violation! Why not do an honest investigation of the top ten schools on the list and their Independent Studies courses, if it is such a crime? Why not look into the non-athletes taking the courses as well–let’s compare their GPAs to their other coursework? And by the way–my GPA averages in Accounting and Math/Science courses were a whole lot higher than my GPA in English/Psychology courses!

    EVERYBODY does better in some areas than others, you would think someone in the SOCIOLOGY department would know that! It sounds like Prof G is the idiot and it sounds like other profs were not interested in putting in the work that Professor P managed and it was making them look bad!

  45. Victor Krueger Says:

    I’m shocked, shocked! at finding gambling at Rick’s casino.

    They ain’t even gone into the parties with free booze and professional female companionship. Or the anonymous envelopes full of cash slid under the dorm room doors in the jock dorm. Or how jocks are accepted into these schools with SAT scores 25% under the normal minimum.

    I don’t really care what happens at purely private schools, but if a school ever accepts a single cent of taxpayer money and has an athletic program; then the regents, administration, and faculty of that school should spend the rest of their natural lives in prison for defrauding the taxpayers.

    I don’t like athletics in K-12 public schools either.

  46. Fear The Dumb Says:

    I wonder why the theme to “Mission: IMPOSSIBLE” was running through my head when I read that load of Cloak and Dagger BS?

    Setting up the BS machine to try and spin away the obvious. Well, at least BS is one commodity that AU has PLENTY of, so no worries there.

    Good Luck with that.

  47. Trashman Says:

    God Bless SEC football. And geaux Tigers, LSU that is.

  48. voiceofreason Says:

    I’ll admit to being both an alum and former employee of Alabama. (Full disclosure)

    I have a couple of problems with this response. Blaming Alabama for the NYT article is like Alabama fans blaming all our problems on Tennessee. If our booster hadn’t cheated, it wouldn’t have mattered. Same goes for this professor, if the allegations pan out.

    Also, what’s up with all this NYT bashing? They are probably the best paper in America. Just because they might print unflattering articles about the current administration (disturbingly popular in our state) and now this particular university doesn’t make it a bad paper. Sometimes the news we need to hear is bad news. How else do we correct it and hold people accountable?

    Finally, just a personal request. I never refer to Auburn as anything other than Auburn Univeristy, as that is your name. We are not the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa or UAT. We are the University of Alabama. Full stop. Trying to diminish us with linguistics isn’t going to work. There needs to be more respect between the fans of these two schools. After all, they are both helping the state’s youth get an education. That’s the bottom line here.

  49. brett Says:

    Even if true, I’m not sure this story has enough sex appeal–or enough damning evidence–to merit any real sanctions. In addition, we’ve all seen the NCAA act as a far-less-than-fair prosecutor. Their tendency to sweep some cases under the rug (see: Miami, Notre Dame, and certainly Tennessee) is undeniable. At best, this will be a minor blip on their very subjective radar.

    As a die-hard Crimson Tide fan and alumnus, I’ve many Auburn friends. Our football programs have many common enemies. And aside from the day of the Iron Bowl, it’s important to recognize both schools represent our state, and we should wish them the best.

    If this story were about the Vols, however, I’d be licking my chops.

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