Today I was sent a statement written by Thibodaux High School football coach Dennis Lorio - which through an NCAA official I have confirmed was indeed authored by Lorio.
Lorio was one of four individuals who I reported Wednesday were interviewed in Thibodaux, Louisiana, on Monday by NCAA investigators about Auburn’s football recruiting tactics.
Here is the completely unedited statement from Lorio:
There have some questions lately about events of the recent year. I would like to clarify what facts I am aware of. Sometimes media members take information and try to paint a picture which may or may not be accurate. They only provide the information they want the reader to see. The points I believe were most crucial are below.
1. During the recent NCAA questioning the most relevant question asked to me was “Do I think Auburn had done anything illegal in recruiting the two players from Thibodaux High.” A Thibodaux High administrator was present and will verify that my answer was, “I am not aware of anything illegal during their recruitment process.”
Last year I personally visited with Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper and liked and respected both of them. Later Gus Malzahn came by and we were very impressed with him also. Gene Chizek also came by before 2010 signing day and was impressive.
This year I only saw Trooper Taylor during our Destrehan game week 2. During the rest of the year I did not see any other Auburn coach which is no problem. Last month I texted Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper on championship Monday evening to wish them luck and keep the National Championship in the SEC.
Both replied and thanked me for the thought.
2. Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson both were offered scholarships by many colleges including LSU, and both made tough final decisions. All over the country it is common for many top recruits to stay in state. In the end they both chose Auburn University for their quality football program, academic opportunities, and the chance to see a different part of the country.
Although many top players choose to attend the successful in-state colleges, some chose to attend school away from home for a variety of reasons. It is not surprising for them to be attracted to a rising program like Auburn who just earned a national championship.
3. Greg Robinson is a good young man who has a chance to be an outstanding college player. His parents are good people who want the best for him. Many knew that Greg put information about getting a new cell phone on his Facebook page. Some players and coaches talked about Greg showing something in his pocket to other students which I never saw.
4. I recently texted Curtis Luper and Trooper Taylor to congratulate them on the NC and asked them to do their best to ensure that Trovon and Greg get their degrees and have successful careers. Curtis Luper replied, “We will take great care of your young men.”
5. Lastly, my perception is that most of the NCAA questions to me were centered on 7 on 7 tournaments and combines which the Thibodaux High coaches had no involvement in and very little knowledge about. Most of these events happen in the summer or on weekends so we don’t know the details about those events.
Dennis Lorio (225) XXX-XXXX 2/18/11
In my breaking the news of the NCAA investigation of Auburn in Thibodaux on Wednesday, it wasn’t a coincidence that I reported the who, what, where and when but didn’t dig into the why.
No one knows what NCAA knows. Confirming who, where and when is all that matters when covering NCAA investigations. Which is exactly what I did in breaking the news about NCAA investigators being in Thibodaux on Monday.
The NCAA is wildly inconsistent in how it enforces it’s own rules, so speculating on what it’ll do without first-hand knowledge is inadvisable.
If you’ve read as many speculative main media stories in past months as I have about where the NCAA stands on Auburn, you know how few actual facts are easily within grasp.
That changed Wednesday when I confirmed exact, logistical details of the investigation the NCAA was conducting into Auburn’s recruiting tactics in Thibodaux.
What that news means is anybody’s guess. Including, at least at this moment, the NCAA.