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…

Gray Area In Auburn Auction Of Cam BCS Pants?

Cam Newton’s game-worn football pants from the BCS National Championship Game are being auctioned off on the official Auburn University athletic department website.

Cam Newton Game-Worn Pants Being Auctioned

(Poor lighting why Cam’s pants don’t look white?)

Description:

This pair of authentic Auburn football pants was worn by Heisman Trophy winner and 2011 NFL #1 Overall Draft Pick Cam Newton in the BCS National Championship game on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, AZ. The inside waistband of the pants is marked with Newton’s locker number (102) and the outside of the pants still retain grass stains from the game. This item comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Auburn Athletics Department.”

But didn’t Newton wear white pants during the game?

Cam Newton White Pants

Or are the pants actually white, with the photo subject to extremely poor lighting and/or processing?

At any rate, at any other school, a Heisman Trophy winner’s national championship slacks would certainly be the fanciest pants on campus.

But Auburn isn’t just any other school.

Pat Dye's pants being auctioned off

Instead, it’s pants that belong to Pat Dye - recovered from Lake Martin a few years ago - that’ll forever garner the most acclaim on The Plains.

So … you won’t catch Auburn auctioning off a piece of that great sports moment for a measly three figures.

Pat Dye's pants being auctioned off

(Full-size image for your convenience)

Opening bid for Coach Dye’s infamous britches: $50,000,000. (Too high? Try talking down former Colonial Bank shareholders.)

Description:

“This pair of authentic, lake-worn Auburn pants was worn by former AU head football coach Pat Dye. You are also bidding on the contents of Coach Dye’s pants pockets, which include: Half-pint bottle of Ancient Age (empty), a Cam Newton bottle cap keychain, a satellite phone (Interpol registration expired) certified to be untappable (inside Lee County lines only) and a wallet. The items come with a certificate of authenticity signed by the late [name identified upon purchase] night manager of the Phenix City Econo Lodge. (Now closed.)”

Pat Dye's wallet

A little short?

Umm. Uh, gotta Cheerwine?

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Did Auburn Coach Lie To Recruit About NFL Offer?

On April 20, 2011, the Auburn football program landed a verbal commitment from highly-touted Kentucky high school quarterback prospect Zeke Pike.


The 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterback from Edgewood, Ky., picked the Tigers over Michigan, Arkansas, Clemson, North Carolina, Tennessee, Southern California, Purdue, Florida State, Miami and Penn State.

And Alabama.

At the time of Pike’s verbal commitment, which was an enormous recruiting coup for Auburn, Pike was asked if he had been concerned about Auburn assistant coaches abandoning the team thanks to the possibility that the school’s football program could be hit with NCAA sanctions.

Pike’s response:

“They (Auburn) just won a national championship and they have one guy on their staff who left for the NFL and that’s their defensive line coach (Tracey Rocker). If they thought they were going to be in any kind of NCAA (trouble) I think a lot of their coaches would have left.

“Coach (Gus) Malzahn their offensive coordinator turned down $15 million to stay there (head coaching offer from Vanderbilt).

“Coach Trooper (Taylor), their receivers coach, turned down his favorite team of all-time, the Dallas Cowboys, to stay there. 

“Whatever, let people say what they’re going to say. That’s a Mississippi State problem, that’s not an Auburn problem.”

Malzahn did receive a reported $15 million offer to take over the Vanderbilt football program, a long-noted coaching graveyard because of high academic standards and lacking facilities.

Pike’s statement about the so-called “Mississippi State problem” is a reference to the fact that Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton has admitted to the NCAA that he solicited MSU coaches for a payment of up to $180,000 in exchange for his son signing to play football for the Bulldogs. (Cam Newton later committed to Auburn, obviously.)

Because of Cecil Newton’s admission, the NCAA rendered Cam Newton ineligible for one day, then reinstated him for the remainder of the 2010 season.

While Pike’s statement about Malzahn may or may not be accurate, at the very least it isn’t completely unreasonable. Likewise his supposition that Mississippi State may not yet be in clear with the NCAA as it pertains to the recruitment of Cam and Cecil Newton. After all, MSU didn’t report any NCAA irregularities involving Cecil Newton to the SEC or NCAA until after Cam had signed with Auburn.

In other words, even after MSU coaches knew of Cecil Newton’s NCAA violation - which directly involved Cecil’s solicitation of them - the Bulldogs tried to lure Cam Newton to Starkville to the very end.

But from what I was told by two sources inside the Dallas Cowboys organization today, Pike’s comment about Auburn wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor and the NFL team is dead, flat false. Read more…

Cam Asked: ‘What’s an Auburn Play Sound Like?’

Sunday night on ESPN’s classroom-themed Gruden’s QB camp, Jon Gruden asked Cam Newton to recall what it was like under to run the Gus Bus.


Gruden to Newton: “Call something at Auburn that’s a little verbal. What would be a little verbal? Any recollection on that? Gimme something. What’s an Auburn play sound like?

From Newton’s response, think Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn will feel the need to actually install a steering wheel this season?

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Newton’s Heisman Statue: What Could Go Wrong?

Auburn recently announced that it has commissioned an artist to create a 10-foot statue of Cam Newton to honor the quarterback for winning the 2010 Heisman Trophy.

Cam Newton Heisman Statue and Harvey Updyke

(Bammer: “A Heisman statue for Scam? Death to the Talibarn!”)

The same artist, Ken Bjorge, recently completed statues of Auburn Heisman winners Bo Jackson at Pat Sullivan, which were scheduled to be unveiled on campus before Auburn’s spring football game on Saturday, will instead be undercover until the Newton statue is completed in October.

You can see a larger version of the above photo here.

If you’re looking for PC treatment of the rivalry, you’ve come to the wrong place.

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Moore’s Confusion: “I’ve Never Heard Cecil Talk”

Yesterday I reported that WZZN-FM radio host Scott Moore has recently touted on several major radio outlets in the past week the existence of audio “tapes” that could possibly further incriminate the Auburn football program and implicate the Tennessee football program with the NCAA.

WZZN 104.5 The Zone Huntsville Scott Moore

Of those tapes, allegedly owned by former Mississippi State players and current boosters John Bond and Bill Bell, Moore told WNSP-FM in Mobile last Friday:

“They’ve (Bond and Bell) got tapes that exist that has Cam Newton in the room with his dad talking about these deals. You have got him (Cam) present in the room while his dad (Cecil) is on the phone trying to shop his son around. That’s a fact.”

Subsequent to Moore’s numerous, remarkably detailed claims, a source who has spoken to both Bond and Bell about the so-called “tapes” confirmed to me that no tapes in their possession contain Cecil Newton’s voice. Bell has electronic audio file recordings of voicemail messages from Kenny Rogers and Bond has a copy of those files. Those voicemails contain no additional information or evidence that would further incriminate Auburn with the NCAA.

This morning Moore appeared on Cole Cubelic’s WZZN-FM morning show in Huntsville to once again discuss the “tapes.”

Less than a week after claiming as “fact” that Bond and Bell had tapes, that has Cam Newton in the room with his dad (Cecil Newton) talking about these deals,” Moore said today he had not authenticated the tapes allegedly in the possession of Bond and Bell.

Further, Moore verified on WZZN this morning that he has never actually heard Cecil Newton’s voice - despite Moore’s previous, repeated claims Cecil Newton’s voice was contained on the “tapes.”


Cubelic:

“Did you hear Cecil Newton’s voice on the tapes?”

Read more…

Infamous M-State Tapes Do Not Include Newtons

In the past week a Huntsville, Alabama-based radio talk show host named Scott Moore has been touting the upcoming release of audio tapes he claims may further incriminate Cam and Cecil Newton and Auburn and Tennessee with the NCAA.

WZZN 104.5 The Zone Huntsville Scott Moore

(Moore confusion from Barrett Sallee of CollegeFootballNews.com)

Here’s a sampling of Moore talking about the “tapes” today on the Chuck and Chernoff Show on 680 The Fan in Atlanta:

“Is Cecil Newton shopping his son around on these tapes? The answer to that is, yeah, he is. … Cecil said that there are offers from Tennessee on there (on the tapes) and offers from Auburn. That’s according to Cecil Newton.

“Cecil’s shopping him around, and the sentiment there is, I believe we’ll be able to show and prove that Cam knew what was going on.

“What I’ve said is true, the tapes exist of Cecil shopping him around.”

On his own show on WZZN-FM in Huntsville last week, Moore said of the tapes:

“The bottom line is these numbers that we keep hearing about — this $150,000 offer from Tennessee, this $180,000 from Auburn — those came from Cecil Newton (to Rogers on the tapes). They didn’t come from Auburn or Tennessee, they came from Cecil Newton. He’s the one that said these offers were made to him.

“What I’ve heard is offers… (Newton) saying on these tapes that these offers were from Tennessee for $150,000 and a $180,000 offer from Auburn. I heard him say that, I’ve seen the text messages. And they exist, that’s the bottom line.”

Moore claims he acquired the tapes from former Mississippi State football players and current boosters John Bond and Bill Bell. It was Bond who first reported details of alleged impropriety involving Mississippi State’s recruitment of Cam Newton to the school’s athletic department.

Bell later reported to ESPN.com that former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers contacted him on behalf of Cecil Newton in order to solicit Cam Newton’s football services to MSU as part of a pay-for-play scheme.

Today I talked to a source who has spoken to both Bond and Bell on multiple occasions, most recently about Moore’s claims involving audio tapes allegedly in their possession. Read more…

MSU Booster Bond to Tell All If Cam Gets a Pass?

Earlier today I broke the news that NCAA investigators were in Louisiana Monday taking a hard look at the football recruiting practices of Auburn University.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

(Bond: No NCAA Justice For Auburn To Spring More Media Leaks?)

At the center of that NCAA investigation is Sean Nelson, a so-called “street agent” who may have unduly assisted Auburn football coaches in the recruitment of Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson.

Another possible concern for Auburn on the NCAA investigatory front involves ex-Mississippi State football player and now-notorious college football recruiting go-between Kenny Rogers.

It was Rogers’ now-admitted solicitation of funds from a Mississippi State booster on Cecil Newton’s behalf that led the father of ex-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to admit to NCAA investigators that he had been a willing participant in a scheme to offer his son’s football services to Mississippi State in exchange for a cash payment.

Today I learned that for that past month representatives of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel have repeatedly asked Rogers for a sitdown interview to further discuss his involvement with Cam Newton’s recruitment. Recently, Rogers agreed, and will be interviewed on March 1 with the visit to air on a yet-to-be determined date.

That date of the Rogers interview on HBO may depend on the cooperation of former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond and ex-MSU player and booster Bill Bell. HBO has also been pressing them for sitdowns the past month, but so far neither has agreed to participate. 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…

Auburn Fundraiser: Football Like “NFL Franchise”

Sunday Kevin Scarbinsky of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS profiled Tim Jackson, “the No. 2 man in the Auburn athletics department behind AD Jay Jacobs.

Tim Jackson General Manager of Auburn Football

Scarbinsky noted Jackson’s considerable influence on the football program:

Jackson said director of football relations Wayne Bolt jokingly called him “Steinbrenner,” a reference to the late owner of the New York Yankees, who was hands-on with his team to the point of suffocation at times.

Jackson is there at every Auburn football practice and every team meeting, often in a suit because he also attends senior staff meetings, but he’s more like Auburn’s general manager. That’s become his nickname among players and coaches alike: GM.

If you aren’t sure what “GM” stands for, Jackson explained the nickname to Scarbinsky:

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.”

In the NFL, a team’s general manager is usually responsible for overseeing the football operation, which includes deciding the level of compensation afforded to players and coaches.

In his profile of Jackson, Scarbinsky reported, “Jacobs gave Jackson administrative oversight of the football program. Chizik didn’t just accept Jackson’s role. He embraced it and expanded it.

More: Read more…