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…

Confirmed: Auburn Has Spent $170,000 On Newton

Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reports today that Auburn University has - so far - spent $170,000 on behalf of Cam Newton.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

Those would be attorney fees in the quest to maintain Newton’s eligibilty for the completed 2010-11 season.

Sam Franklin Auburn Lead Attorney In Newton Case Repping Robert Geddie In FBI Case

(Same lawyer for Cam is Pat Dye, Bobby Lowder personal attorney)

Solomon: Read more…

FBI Case Filing: Cam’s Auburn Lawyer Mentioned

On November 10, 2010, Kevin Scarbinsky of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reported that the Birmingham law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin and White had been retained by Auburn to defend the school against recent inquiries involving Cam Newton and his father.

Sam Franklin Auburn Lead Attorney In Newton Case Served FBI Case Documents

(Cam’s Auburn lawyer Sam Franklin also repped Pat Dye)

More specifically, the News reported:

According to two people familiar with the Newton inquiry, the law firm’s point men on this issue are William King and Sam Franklin.

Beginning in 1991, it’s well-documented that attorney Sam Franklin and his firm have defended Auburn and its former football coach Pat Dye against multiple NCAA inquiries, including cases which resulted in serious NCAA sanctions being placed on the school’s football and basketball programs.

More specifically, Franklin served as Dye’s personal attorney when the then-Auburn coach was forced to resign after being caught on tape facilitating an improper bank loan to Tiger football player Eric Ramsey.

On November 17, 2010, TMZ.com reported a possible link between an FBI investigation into political corruption in Alabama - supported by thousands of wiretapped conversations - and the “Newton recruiting controversy.”:

According to sources connected to the probe … FBI agents looking into the Newton recruiting controversy are also asking about Milton McGregor — a dog track owner arrested last month for allegedly bribing Alabama politicians to vote pro gambling.

We’re told agents asked someone connected to the Newton case if he was familiar with McGregor or the bribery scandal.

McGregor recently donated $1 million to Auburn to help facilitate the construction of the school’s new basketball arena.

Also arrested by the FBI was prominent Auburn alumnus Robert Geddie, whose lobbying firm was reportedly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars by a private fundraising arm of Auburn athletics called Tigers Unlimited. (The same Tigers Unlimited that current Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs oversaw before taking over as AD.)

In all, 11 men were arrested as a result of FBI investigation.

Another of the those individuals charged in the political corruption case, Ronnie Gilley, filed a motion in U.S. District Court on December 3 that requested a continuance of the federal criminal trial he and his fellow 10 defendants were scheduled to face on April 4, 2011.

While Gilley’s request, which was subsequently denied, was of little consequence, one document filed in federal court by Gilley’s attorney may indicate that Auburn athletics could indeed be intertwined with the FBI’s wiretap-driven investigation. Read more…