Shock & Aub: Toomer’s Cornered By Police Tower

For the first time in the 76-year history of the Iron Bowl rivalry, Auburn (AL) Police has stationed a “manned mobile surveillance tower” adjacent to the school’s Toomer’s Oaks to, as Auburn Police Captain Tommy Carswell told the WAR EAGLE READER, “keep the peace” this weekend.

Auburn Police Tower Above Toomer's Oaks Before Alabama Game Iron Bowl

Why is Carswell and the Auburn P.D. “beefing up our security” around the trees?

Read more…

Nutt Cracks On Auburn Recruit With 2011 Camaro

With the walls closing in on his coaching career at Ole Miss, Houston Nutt lashed out at Auburn Monday during a speech to the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

Using the defense of oversigning as a thinly-veiled pretense, Nutt seemed to intimate to the group that a late commitment to Auburn last February by a Mississippi high school recruit might indicate a lack of NCAA rules compliance.

From Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS:

“Gene Chizik came in and stole my man Jermaine Whitehead,” Nutt said during a speech today at the Monday Morning Quarterback Club in Birmingham. “I asked Gene, ‘Now Gene, you didn’t even have a home visit.’ It must be nice to hold up that crystal ball. Hold up a crystal ball and get one of my best players.”

Whitehead, a Mississippi native whose development this season has been praised by Chizik, was a four-star recruit last winter. At one time, Whitehead said he was committed to Mississippi State.

Nutt, who is often criticized for oversigning, said Whitehead was committed to Ole Miss for a month-and-a-half up to the final week before Signing Day.

“He took my hand and said, ‘Coach Nutt, I’m coming to play for you,’” Nutt said. “I took his word!”

Whitehead visited Auburn for its Big Cat weekend in 2010, for its game against Georgia in the fall and several other times, as well, including the final weekend before Signing Day.

“Jermaine didn’t go on Friday. He left Saturday,” Nutt said. “We stayed in his house until 10 o’clock on Friday night, the last weekend before Signing Day saying, ‘I know he’s not going to Auburn now.’ Wake up, starting to get nervous because Monday and Tuesday before Signing Day and now he doesn’t call. He won’t answer my call.”

Finally, Whitehead told Nutt he was going to sign with Auburn. Nutt described the conversation this way:

“Jermaine: ‘Coach, I gotta go to Auburn.’”

“Why? Why would you go to Auburn? They already won their title. They already have the crystal ball. They don’t need you. I need you.”

“Coach, it’s business.”

“Business? You shook my hand, man! You said you were committed to me!”

“I know, Coach. I’m sorry.”

Does that sound like an argument for oversigning or an all-out assault on the integrity of the Auburn coaching staff?

And why did Nutt single out Whitehead?

Obviously losing a top in-state recruit was a bitter pill, but Nutt’s choice of words in describing Whitehead’s flip probably wasn’t a coincidence.

Four months after Whitehead signed with Auburn, he linked the below photo of a new Camaro in an entry to his @J2Whitehead Twitter account.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

Whitehead later Tweeted that his parents had bought him the vehicle as a graduation gift, though the current Auburn Tiger later deleted the photo of the car he had previously posted.

Whitehead has since been officially cited as the owner of a 2011 Camaro in a July 21, 2011, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, speeding ticket.

Jermaine Whitehead: Camaro bought by parents after signing with Auburn

In a Pickens County, Alabama, speeding ticket a year earlier, Whitehead was cited as the owner of a 1999 Dodge Stratus.

Is it unreasonable to think that Nutt may have dropped the “Coach, it’s business” business into his speech given what we now know about Whitehead’s Camaro?

CJ Johnson's New Truck

(Nutt questioning a recruit’s late, about-face? Please)

Hours” before Whitehead signed with Auburn on Feb. 2, 2011, Steve Robertson of Scout.com reported:

“My final three are going to be Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Auburn,” said Jermaine. “I am not ready to say who it’s going to be, but I have made my decision and I feel good about everything.”

Whitehead will sign and fax his national letter of intent in the morning and then join teammates, fans and media at a 1 PM press conference at Amanda Elzy High School.

In the end there can only be one, but Jermaine has found some positive things about all of his finalists.

Ole Miss: - “Ole Miss has a great coaching staff and great facilities. A lot of my boys are going up there, so it would be good to be able to play with them.”

Mississippi State: - “Mississippi State is a young team with a lot of talent. I believe they just need the right spark to get them playing at the highest level. They have a bright future.”

Auburn: - “The coaches at Auburn carry a swagger and you can tell they get the most out of all of their players. They have a great campus and great facilities.”

If you take the time to watch Whitehead’s interviews and read his comments throughout his recruitment, he clearly had a handle on the process. His most familiar refrain leading up to his Auburn sign was trying to find immediate playing time while still being in a winning environment. As he’s already on the field for Auburn, which is off to a considerably better start than Ole Miss and Mississippi State, it appears he made the right call - for now.

CJ Johnson Range Rover

(Nutt recruit CJ Johnson after flipping to Ole Miss)

While it isn’t unreasonable to have questions about Whitehead’s Camaro, considering Nutt has failed to translate his own recent experience as beneficiary of a late, about-face by a top-rated recruit into not getting manhandled by Vandy, you can’t blame any recruit for eschewing Nutt’s peepa heppin bidness.


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A Peace Offering To Big Al’s GMC Yukon® Armada

With its trip to Florida Saturday, the 2011 Alabama vacation season is officially underway.


Fitting then that Saturday is one of the two days - every 365 - this Georgia Dawg is behind The Tide. #rtr

Brooks is on Twitter, Facebook and at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

Auburn Athletic Dept: Federal Court Racism Claim

The 2010 opening of the new Auburn basketball arena was a triumph for the school’s athletic department.

Auburn Athletic Department Faces Racial Discrimination Charge By Nine Former Employees

But Auburn Athletic Department staff layoffs during the transition from the Beard-Eaves Coliseum to the new facility has precipitated an ugly dispute now scheduled to play out in Federal Court.

Of the 11 employees who lost their Auburn Athletic Department jobs during the move, 10 were black, according to a racial discrimation lawsuit against Auburn filed in a U.S. District Court in Alabama earlier this year. The plaintiffs in the case, represented by Montgomery lawyer Julian McPhillips, are nine of those 10 black individuals no longer in the employ of Auburn Athletics.

The case is currently scheduled for an early-2012 jury trial in a small town a few miles from the Auburn campus: Opelika, Alabama.

Auburn Athletic Department Faces Racial Discrimination Charge By Nine Former Employees

In its initial response to the Federal Court legal action, Auburn acknowledged the layoffs from the AU Athletic Department but denied racial discrimination as a factor in the process.

In the Federal Court complaint against Auburn, each of the nine plaintiffs made specific claims as to having received less pay than white employees with similar jobs and various other negative treatment by their Auburn Athletic Department employers attributable only to their race.

I’ve obtained the Federal Court complaint against Auburn. Here’s an excerpt of some of the claims made by the nine plaintiffs against Auburn:

STATEMENT OF FACTS

(a) As to All Plaintiffs

22. All plaintiffs aver that, based upon their experience, they can say with certainty that there is a rampant actual discrimination against African-American employees in the Auburn University Athletic Department. Plaintiffs further aver that only 2% of the employees of the defendant’s Athletic Department were African-Americans, even before a reorganization in May, 2010 eliminated ten (10) more, and notwithstanding that 75-80% of the football players are black, and approximately 95% of the basketball players are black.

23. All plaintiffs aver that, at the time of the filing of their race discrimination charges in June 2010, there were no blacks in the following divisions of the AU Athletic Department: (a) turf management; (b) media relations; (c) marketing; (d) sports medicine; (e) athletic training; (f) equipment; (g) ticket office; and (h) recruiting, although in the latter category, some black students were used as Tiger hostesses, but not as full-time black employees.

24. All plaintiffs aver that, when defendant Auburn University’s football tickets were made available for employees, all white employees were offered tickets with no restrictions. However, African-American employees had to “put their names in a hat,” where only five (5) black employees would receive tickets for any particular game, and said African-American employees were also subject to having to sign their names to a list, something which white employees did not have to do.

25. All plaintiffs also aver that, in the reorganization which took place in May, 2010, eleven (11) employees of the Athletic Department were terminated, and ten (10) of those employees were black. Plaintiffs also aver that at the new basketball arena, at the time of the
reorganization, only one (1) black employee, namely Roger Tate, was moving over. This does not include coaches.

26. All plaintiffs aver that the race discrimination practiced against them has been  systematic, endemic, and reflective of a long-term practice of intentional race discrimination practiced by defendant Auburn University against black employees, especially in the Athletic Department.

Of particular interest in any lawsuit such as this is an allegation that can be verified as non-contestable fact.

If Allegation #24 is indeed fact, that …

when defendant Auburn University’s football tickets were made available for employees, all white employees were offered tickets with no restrictions. However, African-American employees had to “put their names in a hat,” where only five (5) black employees would receive tickets for any particular game, and said African-American employees were also subject to having to sign their names to a list, something which white employees did not have to do.

… then the Auburn Athletic Department has some serious explaining to do.

That said, in its official response to the Federal Court complaint, Auburn flatly denied that such a method for the dispersal of football tickets within the AU Athletic Department existed.

Auburn Athletic Department Faces Racial Discrimination Charge By Nine Former Employees

More specifically, Auburn’s official legal response to Allegation #24 in the Federal Court-filed complaint was: “DENIED.

So what are the plaintiffs seeking as retribution for the Auburn Athletic Department’s alleged racial discrimination?

From the Federal Court complaint:

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, plaintiffs respectfully pray that this Court grant the following relief:

a) Judgment declaring that the defendant discriminated against plaintiff, due to their black race;

b) An injunction reinstating the plaintiffs into their jobs with the Auburn University Athletic Department, and granting plaintiffs compensation for all back pay, benefits, and other rights to which plaintiffs would have been entitled, had they not been the victims of race discrimination, effective from the date of final judgment, together with lost pay for the period plaintiffs were out of work and not receiving income;

c) An award of all court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees, including those incurred for seeking administrative relief

d) An award of compensatory damages, including for mental anguish, to which plaintiffs may be entitled;

e) An award of punitive damage; and

Such further, other and different relief as the Court may deem appropriate and necessary.

Auburn in its response to the complaint denied all of the racial discrimination charges and, at least publicly, appears to have no plans for a settlement or mediation of any kind.

Though, if a day-old local media report is any indication, that stance may be softening.

Saturday the OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS reported:

At a council meeting earlier this month, Ward 1 Councilman Arthur Dowdell threatened to lead a sit-in on campus if AU President Jay Gogue did not meet with employees who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the university in federal court.

Dowdell, who is black, has since backed off the threat:

Dowdell said he called off the sit-in after speaking with the employees’ lawyer and Gogue’s office earlier this week.

“I think they wanted to do the thing that is right,” Dowdell said.

The employees’ attorney, Julian McPhillips, said he could not discuss any developments in the lawsuit, which is tentatively scheduled for trial in February 2012.

I think there are some positive movements toward a resolution, but I don’t want to say more at this time,” McPhillips said.

Earlier this month after Dowdell made his demands, McPhillips and AU officials said there were no plans for mediation in the case at the time.

If it isn’t guilty, why would Auburn consider settling the racial discrimination case?

Auburn Athletic Department Faces Racial Discrimination Charge By Nine Former Employees

Let’s countdown the reasons, shall we?

#7) Despite repeated objections from Auburn’s legal team, Auburn President Jay Gogue and Athletic Director Jay Jacobs may soon be faced with providing depositions in response to the wide-ranging racial discrimation charges.

In its attempt to convince the court that Gogue should not be deposed, Auburn lawyer Kelly Pate wrote in court documents:

Forcing the depositions of Auburn’s highest-ranking officials would impose an undue burden and annoyance, especially given that they have no unique personal knowledge. It would place an unreasonable burden upon President Gogue, and cause significant and unnecessary disruption to Auburn, if he were forced to be deposed in every instance, like this one.

Auburn has proffered a similar defense for Jacobs, claiming he had no personal knowledge of why exactly 11 Auburn Athletic Department employees - 10 of them black - were laid off during the school’s high-profile transition to a new arena.

Auburn Athletic Department Faces Racial Discrimination Charge By Nine Former Employees

Pate’s efforts may ultimately prove fruitful for Gogue and Jacobs, as Judge Terry F. Moorer on Friday ordered that the plaintiffs must immediately “show cause” as to why depositions from Gogue and Jacobs would be material to the case.

#6) According to court documents, two current Auburn professors have agreed to testify against their employers in the case: Dr. Evelyn Crayton and Dr. Paul Waddy. Also on the witness list submitted by the nine individuals suing Auburn in Federal Court for racial discrimination: Current Auburn academic instructor Shirley Sydnor, former Auburn professor Dr. Tony Guarino, former Auburn professor Dr. Shirley Barnes and former Auburn Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employment Director Janet Saunders - who the plaintiffs claim in a court filing will detail her knowledge of past racial discrimination complaints made against the school by employees.

#5) None of the above accounts for the extensive local and perhaps national coverage of the Federal racial discrimination case - coverage that might not portray Auburn in a flattering light even if it scores a decisive legal victory.

#4) Court documents already provide clues as to what that media coverage could entail, like the fact that Auburn quietly settled another racial discrimination lawsuit involving six black employees last year. And that the school has so far refused to release any records of racial discrimination complaints made against the school the past six years - despite repeated requests by the Julian McPhillips, the lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Why won’t Auburn give up those records? Federal Court documents for the case included this defense from Auburn attorney Kelly Pate:

The broad request is not relevant to the subject matter of this litigation.

Even if the court finds that Auburn does not have to release such records, its public refusal to do so doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in its claims of racial tolerance in the workplace.

#3) Equally uninspiring is Auburn asking the presiding judge to prevent the lawyer for the plaintiffs, Julian McPhillips, from asking Auburn’s current Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employment Director Kerry Taylor in her upcoming deposition about any racial discrimination complaints made by Auburn employees besides the nine plaintiffs in question. To that end, AU lawyer Pate wrote in court documents: 

Such unlimited inquiry would be used, instead, to annoy, embarrass or burden Auburn and, particularly, Ms. Taylor.

Auburn has agreed to allow Plaintiffs to inquire as to Ms. Taylor’s credentials and her methodology for conducting internal investigations of complaints that are brought to Auburn’s AA/EEO office.

Discovery beyond these two subjects should not be permitted, as it would not be reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence and would serve only to annoy and burden this witness and her employer.

Uh, okay.

#2) Submitting to the relatively nominal demands (at least for now) of the plantiffs seems a logical option for the school in lieu of a protracted legal battle against an attorney in McPhillips who, if court documents are any indication, will dedicate his case to portraying Auburn as one of the South’s last remaining vestiges of institutional racism.

Auburn Athletic Department Faces Racial Discrimination Charge By Nine Former Employees

#1) Recruiting.

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com

How Stuff Works: A SEC Investigation In Progress

Behold the power of household cleaning products and old blankets.

Photo: An SEC Investigation In Progress (Nick Saban, Mike Slive, Cecil Newton, Mark Emmert)

Full size.

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2011 Auburn Cost To Keep NCAA Jail Away: $401K

Thanks to breaking news reported Wednesday by Clay Travis on his new website OutkickTheCoverage.com we learned why the NCAA investigation into the Auburn football program, as Travis put it today, “has now stretched into its tenth month.”

Auburn NCAA Defense Fund

(Aubs: $170K Over 7-Day Period To Keep NCAA Jail Away From The Plains)

Travis reported that the latest round of investigatory activity took place in Montgomery in late June:

NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes checked in to the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Montgomery and conducted interviews in conference rooms there. Thurnes investigation dealt with continuing issues surrounding the eligibilty of Cam Newton and other Auburn players implicated in pay-for-play scandals. 

Travis noted Thurnes was specifically looking into allegations made by former Auburn football players during a recent HBO Real Sports episode.  During her visit to Alabama, the NCAA investigator also attempted to confirm the validity of a separate claim that Cam Newton may have received discounts from a Montgomery-based clothier.

Of the lingering inquiry into the Auburn football program, Travis added:

The NCAA investigation has now stretched into its tenth month, leaving Auburn and SEC officials chastened. In SanDestin at the SEC spring meetings, Florida SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told me that there was no doubt the NCAA’s timeframe often conflicted with the immediacy of media coverage. That dichotomy, between media coverage of allegations and tangible proof of wrongdoing, leaves programs dwelling in a perpetual cloud of impropriety.

Often that cloud can impact recruiting, a point that was driven home to me by Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley in SanDestin. Indeed, it was Dooley’s questioning of the NCAA investigator in SanDestin that led to Chizik’s insistence on whether the NCAA had completed its investigation.

Recruiting issues may have prompted Chizik’s assertive tact, though the looting of the university’s “Auxiliary Enterprises-Athletics” fund by lawyers defending the school may too have something to do with it. Read more…

Auburn, Oregon Shoot The Messenger Showdown

Last month an Auburn-centric site, TheAuburner.com, went all-in on an epic Sports by Brooks parody.

Sports by Brooks Parody

Today, SBNation.com site AddictedtoQuack.com checked-in with its own full-page SbB goof.

Oregon website Sports by Brooks parody

Best Sports by Brooks Parody Page

View Results

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Auburn’s Championship Ring Turned Out Super

To Auburn’s “owner” Jay Jacobs, “general manager” Tim Jackson and “head coach” Gene Chizik go the spoils:

Auburn National Championship Ring With Lombardi Trophy

Their words not mine.

Auburn National Championship Ring With Lombardi Trophy

What the?

Auburn National Championship Ring With Lombardi Trophy

Auburn’s version of the Associated Press Trophy on one of its three 2010 National Championship rings looks remarkably similar to the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy. (See comparison to Colts Super Bowl ring.)

Auburn National Championship Ring With Lombardi Trophy

Directly above is an image of the actual Auburn “NCAA” Championship ring.

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Auburn Payroll: Tens of Thousands To Hostesses

A recent financial audit by Sports by Brooks of payments made by Auburn University to student football recruiting hostesses since late 2009 revealed that the state-funded institution paid out tens of thousands of dollars to the student “Tigerettes” charged with escorting football players during recruiting visits to the school.

Auburn pays recruiting hostesses tens of thousands of dollars in past two years

A Jan. 28, 2011, article in the AUBURN PLAINSMAN detailed the background of the longstanding, school-sponsored group:

The Tigerettes got their start in the late 1970s during former football head coach Doug Barfield’s tenure.

At first, the program used local high school seniors and Auburn freshman as guides for prospects, but as the program expanded, interviews and training processes were added, and participation in the program was limited to female Auburn students, at which point they became known as the Tigerettes.

The program further expanded once former coach Pat Dye came to Auburn.

“We used more of them because he brought in large numbers of recruits, trying to build the program back up” said Sue Locklar, on-campus recruiting coordinator. “We started going through a very hard selection process.”

Locklar said there are typically between 400–500 applicants who go through the selection process.

Those selected undergo in-depth training seminars about football, the football program and the coaching staff.

Males were added to the group as “Tiger” hosts in 1992 but the demographic makeup of the Auburn football recruiting organization remains almost entirely female.

Auburn pays recruiting hostesses tens of thousands of dollars in past two years

According to employee payroll data available to the public on the official Auburn University website, 21 Tigerettes were paid $78,044.26 between Oct. 2, 2009, and May 31, 2011. Five male “Tiger” hosts were paid $6,880.19 during the same period. (The 27 school employees are currently listed as “2010-2011″ officers and members of the organizaton on the Tigerettes official website.)

Here is a sampling of Auburn students who have been paid by the school as “Tigerettes”:

Jamie Nolen (female): $12,840.48 (since 3/19/2010)
Emily Jenkins: $8,415.49 (since 2/19/2010)
Jordan Poitevint (female): $7.547.25 (since 3/5/2010)
Dominique Neville (female): $6,521.45 (since 10/2/2009)
Morgan Stewart (female): $4,132.50 (since 9/3/2010)

All tolled, Auburn has paid out $84,924.45  to student football recruiting hostesses and hosts since Oct. 2, 2009.

Auburn pays recruiting hostesses tens of thousands of dollars in past two years

So what does Auburn get for that money? In late 2009 Simpson Fletcher of the AUBURN PLAINSMAN reported:

(Dominique) Neville’s duties as president of the group include serving primarily as the liaison between Auburn University Athletic Department administrators and the organization, daily hostings of prospective students and prospective student-athletes, providing clerical and administrative support for the athletic department, and serving at various athletic department functions.

In the same article, Fletcher reported of a student Tigerette named Audra Brawley:

Audra Brawley, a sophomore Tigerette in biomedical sciences, said the main duties of Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts are recruiting the best young men to become Auburn football players, aiding the coaches, helping the secretaries in the office with mail outs to prospective players and working with the athletic department in recruiting students.

“I absolutely love Auburn football because I grew up watching it every Saturday in the fall with my dad,” Brawley said. “He has three daughters and turned me into his makeshift son. We would come to games and see the girls with recruits, and I knew how much impact they had on the future of Auburn football. I wanted to be them so I could impact Auburn football too.”

The Jan. 28, 2011, Plainsman piece on Tigerettes also mentioned Auburn football recruiting hostess Jamie Nolen:

Jamie Nolen, senior in public relations and third-year Tigerette, said her friends give her a hard time because she doesn’t come home enough.

“I love it so much, so I’ll be up here until three o’clock in the morning if I need to get something right. I’ll put in extra time,” Nolen said. “Pretty much the only time we were at home this weekend was to put our pajamas on and go to bed.”

Since March 19, 2010, Auburn has paid Nolen $12,840.48 for her work as a Tigerette football recruiting hostess.

Part of Nolen’s official duties as a Auburn football recruiting hostess apparently include tracking prospective Auburn football players on Facebook.

Greg Robinson, a highly-recruited lineman from Thibodaux, La., who signed with Auburn last February recently noted in a Facebook entry dated May 28, 2011, that he was moving to Auburn for the summer.

The next entry on Robinson’s public Facebook page timeline was the Auburn recruit adding Nolen as a “friend”.

Jamie Nolen: Tigerette Paid Thousands

In a Jan. 8, 2011, report on FOXSports.com, Thayer Evans wrote of Robinson’s recruitment by Auburn:

Former Thibodaux High coach Dennis Lorio says several coaches and students saw Robinson show off cash and a new iPhone at school after a visit to Auburn. Robinson wrote in a Facebook message in July that he got the phone when “I came to Alabama.”

… “How did players from Thibodaux, La., become so interested in Auburn?” Lorio asks. “That’s a really good question. (Auburn Assistant Coach) Trooper Taylor and (NCAA-targeted Robinson associate) Sean Nelson would know.”

… Nelson drove Robinson to Auburn for unofficial visits — two of them, both say. Nelson says he didn’t approach Robinson about taking the trips but let Robinson ride along on trips Nelson already had planned. Robinson says he told Taylor he wanted to visit the school, and Taylor called Nelson to see if Robinson could ride with him. 

A crosscheck of Scout.com articles about Robinson revealed that between late May, 2010 and Feb. 2., 2011 (signing day), Robinson reportedly took six visits to Auburn. Five of those visits were of the unofficial variety.

On Feb. 16, 2011, Sports by Brooks reported:

Monday NCAA investigators descended on Thibodaux, Louisiana, to meet individually with Auburn football recruit Greg Robinson, Robinson’s mother Lydia, Robinson associate Sean Nelson and Robinson’s former Thibodaux High School Coach Dennis Lorio.

Here is a list of all of the checks reported by Auburn University’s official website to Nolen:

Jamie Nolen: Tigerette Paid Thousands

In addition to Nolen, Robinson is confirmed Facebook friends with multiple other Tigerettes, including Morgan Stewart ($4,132.50), Hillarie Deen ($4.377.00), Adrianne Redding ($3,610.50) and Jordan Bocage ($3,367.63).

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Auburn Openly Mocks NCAA President - In Writing

On March 31, 2011, while speaking to the media at the Final Four in Houston, NCAA President Mark Emmert promised the public that he would not hesitate to implement “sufficient deterrents” to prevent schools from knowingly breaking NCAA rules.


Emmert:

“If our penalties and processes aren’t providing sufficient deterrents, then I need to sit down with the board of Division I and others and fix that and make sure that our penalty structure and our enforcement processes serve as a deterrent so people conduct themselves with integrity and forthrightness.”

Monday Auburn released details of Gene Chizik’s new contract extension.

Besides the length of the deal and an increase in compensation, there were no notable changes to the original Chizik contract consumated between the parties in 2008.

Except one.

Paragraph 13 (d) of Chizik’s 2008 contract included a clause that would relieve Auburn from any financial obligation to the coach if the school’s football program was subject to NCAA investigation. From the 2008 contract Chizik signed:

In the event an investigation is instituted by Auburn, the SEC or the NCAA into alleged major rules violations or significant or repetitive violations involving Coach and/or the football program, during the pendency of the investigation, University shall have the right, after written notice to Coach, to suspend payment of any amount owed to Coach under Paragraph 15 or 16.

As noted by Jon Soloman of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS, of Chizik’s $3.5 million salary, $3 million comes from personal appearances, endorsements and media rights - which are detailed in Paragraph 15 and 16 of the coach’s contract.

Auburn deletes NCAA investigation clause in Gene Chizik's contract

For Chizik’s new agreement with the school, Paragraph 13 (d) was completely deleted and replaced with this clause:

Coach agrees he will comply with Southeastern Conference Rules and be bound by and comply with the enforcement, penalty, and other disciplinary provisions and procedures of the NCAA and of the Southeastern Conference, including but not limited to the provisions of Article 4 of the Southeastern Conference Constitution and the Southeastern Conference Bylaw 19.8.

The new clause is a boiler plate statement designed to keep up appearances while completely all Chizik accountability to NCAA rules violations.

Auburn deletes NCAA investigation clause in Gene Chizik's contract

Three months earlier, NCAA President Emmert said at the Final Four press conference:

“We cannot have coaches, administrators, parents or student-athletes sitting out there deciding, ‘Is this worth the risk? If I conduct myself in this fashion, and if I get caught, it’s still worth the risk.’ We don’t want those kind of cost benefit analyses going on.”

With Auburn recently bankrupting Chizik’s contractual obligation to NCAA rules, it’s impossible to come to any other conclusion than NCAA President Emmert’s public proclamations mean nothing to at least one NCAA member institution.

Perhaps Auburn’s attitude has something to do with Emmert confirming a NCAA violation committed by Cecil Newton, then clearing Cam Newton’s route to the two highest college football honors an NCAA student-athlete can attain.

On March 31, Emmert also said:

We have to hold everybody in the enterprise accountable, whether they’re administrators, coaches, ADs, players or parents, anybody involved. Coaches are no different than anyone else in that process.

Coaches in collegiate sport have a different role than coaches in professional sport. Again, by definition these are student-athletes. So a coach is not just a coach, they’re also a mentor and a teacher. That brings with it responsibilities that are different than being an NBA coach or an NFL coach.

On Jan. 30, 2011, Kevin Scarbinsky of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS profiled Auburn Associate Athletic Director Tim Jackson.

Excerpt from the profile:

In a rare interview in his office Thursday, Jackson said the leadership of Auburn football breaks down like that of an NFL franchise. “Jay Jacobs is the owner. Gene’s the head coach. I’m the general manager.”

Chizik said their management structure “is probably unique in college football. This may not work for everybody else. It works for us. Everybody is on the same page.”

It works because Chizik and Jackson have a unique bond and level of trust for a coach and administrator, especially at Auburn, where the last two head coaches, Terry Bowden and Tommy Tuberville, seemed at constant odds with “the suits.”

As I noted here on Jan. 30, while Jackson’s role as “general manager” of the Auburn football team is detailed in the News profile, his primary job at Auburn goes went unmentioned.

Tim Jackson General Manager of Auburn Football

Jackson is the executive director of the private fundraising arm for Auburn Athletics called “Tigers Unlimited.”

Jackson controls the purse strings of the multi-million organization, which funds much of the operation of the Auburn Athletic Department and pays the majority of Chizik’s salary.

Before Jackson took over, current Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs was entrusted with the same role.

We’ve officially reached the point where I’m ready to hold NCAA member schools blameless thanks to, literally, 100 years of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do NCAA rules governance.

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