arrow-circle arrow-long-stroke arrow-stroke arrow-thick arrow-thin arrow-triangle icon 2 baseballCreated with Sketch. basketball calendar category check-circle check-square check comment facebook-circle facebook-icon facebook-rounded facebook-square facebook-stroke football instagram-circle instagram-icon instagram-square long-arrow-right rss-circle rss-rounded rss-square rss-stroke rss twitter-circle twitter-icon twitter-rounded twitter-square twitter-stroke user-group user

The [unnamed source] Who Cried Wolf

The dying live oaks across from Toomer's Corner serve as a stark reminder of how emotions can spin out of control.

The dying live oaks across from Toomer’s Corner serve as a stark reminder of how emotions can spin out of control.

Pack it up, folks. It’s time to give in. We had a good run but the jig is up. Auburn football is doomed. If only I had a nickel for every time I have heard that in the previous three years. Auburn University Athletics (football specifically) has once again found itself facing sensationalized accusations.  I guess you could say I’m surprised, but I’d be lying if I told you I was not expecting something. Auburn has become an easy target for journalists to hitch their wagons to with ambiguous sources and rampant speculation. It is an unfortunate trend that does not appear to be going away anytime soon. 

Selena Roberts - Cover of Auburn Magazine

The latest piece of professional sports journalism hidden agenda driven piece of propaganda I speak of comes from journalist (and Auburn alumni) Selena Roberts. Earlier this week she published this piece and in it, claimed instances of academic fraud and payments to football players attending Auburn University. There is also speculation that former head coach, Gene Chizik, had influence on local law enforcement authorities and used that influence to cast former safety Mike McNeil as the “scapegoat” for the armed robbery he currently faces charges from. Her story along with its claims were almost immediately disputed by the very sources she cited in it, though she reasserted its validity in a follow-up Q&A with AL.com’s Brandon Marcello. This isn’t the first time Roberts has exercised her reckless “creative freedoms” in a headline grabbing story and got called out for it. Yet, given her history of questionable reporting, she has still been able to garner (to some degree) genuine recognition regarding her allegations against Auburn University and its football program.  

Mark Bradley, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, had this to say regarding the fresh allegations laid out by Selena Roberts. I have to wonder if he even considered who he was aligning himself with by essentially perpetuating the Roberts piece and not offering much clarity to the situation. In fact, he actually added a lot of completely unrelated names and incidents from Auburn’s past that are sure to creep into the overall “mythology” of all things Auburn University corruption in 2013. Bradley was not alone, however, fools rarely are.

ESPN revealed in an article published late yesterday evening that their print publication ESPN The Magazine had conducted a six month investigation of an “epidemic of synthetic marijuana use” on Auburn’s 2010 National Championship team. I’m not defending users of synthetic marijuana or the specific players identified by ESPN, but I see no justifiable reason why a major news outlet should or would launch an investigation on this scale simply to outline and identify the usage frequency of a completely LEGAL substance. There have been schools where this was a problem AFTER synthetic marijuana was banned and became a controlled substance. I simply do not see the sound reasoning behind going back in time two full years to when it was a legal substance and finding out how many Auburn football players were using it. Well, no reason other than to stir the pot and continue the now tired and hopelessly overused ‘Auburn-is-going-down-doomsday-ahead-on-the-plains’ talk.

The article is titled, “More Potential Problems for Auburn.” Problems in what way? Problems with news outlets not being creative enough or possessing the necessary incentive to move on to more relative and pressing issues within their targeted fields of coverage? Problems with any baseless and obscure published piece remotely painting Auburn athletics in a negative light being circulated and perpetuated without there ever being any subjectivity or ridicule applied to it? What kind of problems does ESPN mean I wonder? And what previous problems are these being combined with to allow ESPN to declare them “more (potential) problems?” Because I just listed the only two problems Auburn has at the moment and has had for the last three years. In response to the recent published pieces both Jay Jacobs (Athletic Director) and former head football coach Gene Chizik have issued statements disputing all claims made of late.

Here is the initial statements from Jay Jacobs and former head coach Gene Chizik regarding the Selena Roberts piece. 

Here is Jacobs’ statement addressing the content of the ESPN article. 

The biggest crime in the entire stretch of allegations, going back to the beginning of the Cam saga, is that Auburn University as a whole has had part of its sacredness falsely proven a sham to the outside world and its genuineness mocked. Auburn football is a huge aspect of the university, but Auburn is so much more than a football team. One has to wonder what soft spot the next attack on Auburn’s reputation will target. Is anything truly off-limits anymore? Focusing solely on football, some writers and analysts speak of past coaches and their transgressions (some proven, some merely rumored) with reckless abandon that blurs the border of irresponsibility and a premeditated attack. In just the previous five years, Auburn football fans have endured:

  • The collapse of 2008.
  • The 2010 season’s validity being questioned before it was even completed.
  • The fallout from the Cam-saga.
  • The fallout from the armed robbery incident carried out by AU football players.
  • The beautiful Toomer’s Oaks were poisoned (and killed) by a fan of our in-state rival. All over a football game.
  • Repeated accusations that rarely offered any hint of substantial proof or even substance.
  • The second collapse of the football program in less than half of a decade. 

All of that, and Auburn is still the bad guy, the cheater, the big bad filthy corrupt institution that represents all that is wrong with college football. Add to that the fact that Auburn has faced inquiry after inquiry into possible wrongdoings and come through them all unscathed. It doesn’t matter. In the eyes of public perception, we go from being dirty cheaters to dirty cheaters who are masters at not getting caught. The public doesn’t need concrete proof anyway, when they can connect the dots however they like in their minds. Sources are often ambiguous and remain unnamed presumably forever. Auburn can’t win a fight against someone or some thing that doesn’t exist. 

26 Comments

  1. uglyjoe says:

    I think it’s good for us to talk about this on a forum such as this, but I hope Auburn sticks to it’s guns. Chizik made a statement, Jacobs made a statement, and I believe they need to craft a really good letter to the NCAA, and we don’t need to see it….I read comments by Emmert last night and at face value, it seemed like he was taking this as he should. IMHO, in think Auburn should continue on the high road. When you wrestle with pigs, everybody gets muddy, when you get in a pi$$ing match, everybody gets wet, etc.

    • Derrick Roberts Derrick Roberts says:

      Jacobs and Chizik coming out so quickly and decisively with firm statements indicates to me that they both feel very good about their positions on this matter.

  2. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    The only comments that any one of our high ranking officials would make in regards to “Camgate” is “no comment”.

    Seeing Chizik and Jacobs fire back so quickly gives me assurance that not only is Auburn in good hands, but has been looked after by very good men. Some/most don’t like Jay Jacobs, but this response proves he has the fortitude to stand up quickly and shoot down the lies, even against the mighty ESPN, who by the way pays the SEC its TV money.

    As far as Mz Roberts, I am trying to be Christian about all of this garbage.

    WAR EAGLE!

  3. bornatiger says:

    If it wasent for the mony I wish the school would boycott espn becouse it seems espn and the media has it out for us maybe we could get a contract with a difrent network or is that a confrence deal not sure if that could happen

  4. Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

    My only hope is that the student athletes are kept out of the fray. It must be stressful to be hit with this turmoil.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      Okay-maybe that’s not my *only* hope, but it’s right up there at the top of hopes relative to this situation.

  5. mikeautiger says:

    I would like to know what Auburn has done to get the repeated attacks from media over the years. No respect in ’83, we had the gall to tie Syracuse when they were suppose to bust our chops and be the media darlings and win the NC and we busted that up, just what is it. Oklahoma won NC on probation like us but they are still picked to be media darlings every year. Why are we attacked time after time. Is it because we dare to be one of the second tear state schools that dare to buck the state schools and win, if remember correctly we are the most winningest second tear state school in the country and number 14 winning school in the country, just what is it. Is it the bamers and little Nicky Satan, or is it the money power moguls that get their little darling schools beat and do not win the NC that they predict and try to choose through the media.

    Just what and where is all this coming from over and over. Auburn, good school, good people, and mostly good values and sports. Let them attack us, the truth will out and Auburn will be seen as in the right against these attackers. It will only bolster our desire to win and we will, legally. I just wish I could find out who the devil is behind all the attacts, lurking in the shadows like the devil so good can defeat evil one more time and kick the devils butt no matter who it is! WDE!

    • mvhcpa says:

      Mikeautiger, you hit the nail right on the head. Why is Auburn being whacked over the head repeatedly with these investigations? What did we do to anybody to warrant these attacks?

      It must be the same “backwards thinking” on the national media level that characterizes Bama’s attitude toward us: In their view, we are so insignificant and not worth the time of day, so we must be hounded into oblivion so we don’t even stand a chance of deflecting any attention from the almighty ALABAMA. Of couse, if we ARE insignificant, why be obsessed with our demise? Why accuse us of “little brother syndrome” and always wanting to see bad happen to the rival when THEY are the ones not just happy to win 15,000 Championships but needing to see AU drug through the dirt?

      Of course, it could just be that AU represents, or at least aspires to, all (or a lot) of that which is GOOD about the South, college football, values, life-outlook, etc., and the powers of the world just want to knock it all down. Or, it could be that Auburn tries to represent these values and the typical media desire is to be able to point a finger at anyone espousing such values to be hypocrites (the worst crime of all in the media’s view).

      Well, look at the source of the attacks, and I guess that validates us and what we stand for.

      Michael Val
      (who remembers a Scarbinsky quote I used as my signature on the old site: “If it’s Auburn against the world, Good Luck, world.”)

      • War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

        Thats a great quote, who would have thought Scarb had it in him.

  6. Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

    Ok, I’m actually going to defend ESPN’s report…to a degree. I think it is OBVIOUS to anybody with two neurons to rub together that ESPN has its sights set on really trying to screw us. I think that it is mostly due to their EXHAUSTIVE coverage of Cam-gate and their inability to get any of the lies and rumors to stick (as it was a new one leading the broadcast almost everyday for a month). Auburn is also very high profile and gets ratings due to all the haters out there.

    BUT….in this case, I think they have a point. Is it fair to pick on Auburn over abuse by players of a substance that was legal at the time in question? Absolutely not, especially when it was highly likely that this was going on at several other major university’s, but they did point out that “Spice” was a problem and a growing problem….AND WE KNEW IT WAS A PROBLEM, since they developed a test for it. While we couldn’t actually do anything to the players for testing positive for Spice, I do think we could have done a MUCH better job addressing this with players who were failing the tests and OBVIOUSLY didn’t care. While they couldn’t cut anyone from the team for it, or FORCE anyone into rehab or drug counseling, they could certainly have RECOMMENDED it or written them up for possible disciplinary action that would go into effect if a test was failed, once it was covered by the new school year policy. Its called “covering your a&&” , and something Jay and Gene should have been doing with the NCAA looking hard and heavy at us. I think if they had, we would have been lauded by the NCAA, instead of pilloried in the media as we are now. How Dakota Mosely fails SEVEN tests without any action being taken IS irresponsible. The kid had a problem and nothing was done about it…..that we know of. For each instance, Mosely,and his parents should have been alerted that his scholarship was in danger and there should have been a detailed list of steps he should take in order to remain eligible to remain on the team once the new policy went into effect. I am really shocked that nothing like that was done AND DOCUMENTED…..but not shocked if it WAS done and wasn’t reported.
    Whats disconcerting is that Malzahn was there while all of this was going on and he gets fingered as being aware of the problem and not doing anything about it. Might not be true but its troubling.

    • Col.Angus Col.Angus says:

      After reading the ESPN article, it does look like Chizik did everything he COULD LEGALLY do to get Moseley straight. Unfortunately you can’t fix stupid…..and everyone of those kids including Dyer were idiots. Didn’t any of them ever see “DUNE”? Moseley looks like the fat bad guy that floated around and had p***y boils all over his face.
      Seriously, kid needs to invest in some ProActiv….not SPICE

  7. JohnEHancock14 says:

    The notion that the drug situation at Auburn was somehow out of the ordinary or that this somehow invalidates Auburn’s championship season is simply ridiculous. Every major BCS program deals with challenges associated with substance abuse. I recall that Florida had what many referred to as a “marijuana epidemic” throughout the Urban Meyer era yet they weren’t subjected to an exhaustive journalistic investigation by a news outlet that, in my opinion, represents everything that is wrong with college football. It is also fairly evident that ESPN has made it their goal to invalidate everything Auburn stands for. I seriously question the timing of the release of the details of this investigation. It was almost as though ESPN and Selena Roberts coordinated this thing.

    The simple fact is that in 2010, Auburn, along with the rest of the College football world, was facing new and unexpected challenges associated with the emergence of synthetic marijuana. In 2011, Auburn and the NCAA changed their substance abuse policies to address this challenge. It just so happened that Auburn won a national championship at the same time that they were beginning to recognize that they had an unexpected substance abuse problem. ESPN provided no objective evidence that supports their obvious insinuation that Auburn delayed these rule changes to keep players eligible during the national championship season.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      More likely Mz Roberts pedaled the story to ESPN to try and get a job, and they screwed her over as well. Maybe:)

  8. MyAuburn MyAuburn says:

    OK, let me recap this
    AU players used synthetic marijuana
    You could buy it in any convienence store
    It was not illegal
    There was no test for it
    It was made illegal
    AU started testing for it when a test was available and dealt with the problem

    The way I see it, we followed the rules and did exactly the right thing.

    OK folks, move along, nothing to see here.

    • Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

      Auburn helped develop the test.

  9. War_Eagle_2010 War_Eagle_2010 says:

    Just read the ESPN story, really wasn’t too bothered by it, went into great detail on how Spice is a destructive drug. Now ESPN might have started this investigation in order to turn up dirt on AU, but they seem to have be unable to do that so they turned the piece into a sad story on drugs (drugs that, incidentally, were legal during the players use). I just wish they would have used a more tactful headline, because all those people that are just headline readers are going to think AU was covering up drug use which is not the case. In fact AU should be applauded for being as proactive as they were, neither Bama or any other school was as proactive despite their own Spice problems (which surely existed). Slander and media persecution come with the Orange and Blue, it takes a true man (or woman) to be an AU fan. War Eagle!

  10. AU_Moses11 says:

    All I know is, they can’t take that experience of the championship away from me. I think it’s flattering that they would go out of their way to cover such an “inferior” school. It is also odd that every school that has a media darling rival (Alabama vs. Auburn, UCLA vs. USC, Michigan St. vs. Michigan, etc.), there is always one that gets away with murder, while the other is scrutinized for every little move they make. There is more that drives this other than journalists trying to get ahead or people really trying to expose problems with the system. I have accepted the fact that I will never know the answer, but I rest easy knowing that I graduated an Auburn man, and respect Auburn men and women as laid out in the creed. Honestly, as long as I have my Auburn family, I stay sane in this crazy, messed up world.

  11. restless6 says:

    First of all, I want to apologize for being a jerk last year. I was wrong to base my behavior and doubt on one bad year of football.

    I love Auburn. I didn’t attend the school, but one of my favorite memories is of taking my wife and kids to A-Day a few years ago. I have a pic of the kids sitting near on the Tiger statue that is one of my all time favorites. I love everything about the school and the town.

    Gus was the right pick. I believe in him and I believe in the resurgence of Auburn football.

    I hate everything Alabama. I hate seeing the letter A on cars and flags and everything else. I have to spend time in Tuscaloosa for work soon, and I hate the town. I hate it.

    I will defend Auburn against the haters without attacking preemptively. I’m tired of the school being kicked around by ESPN scum and the rest of the agenda driven haters.

    It’s time to stand up and tell the haters to go to hell.

    • KoolBell KoolBell says:

      That was sooo last year! No apology needed. I can’t even recall a time when you were a jerk….

    • Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

      ….I think everyone had to have said something bad about the team last season, and wanted to escape. I know I did! No worries. All is forgiven. Things are definitely looking up!

      • restless6 says:

        Thanks. Now, wish me luck, as I am headed to Updyke city for a week for work.

  12. WoodrowAU95 says:

    I’m saying this out of frustration. I know that it would cost AU lots of revenue and probably hurt recruiting, but I would love for AU to tell ESPN, “we aren’t going to let you televise our games this year”. This will never happen. I know there are mega-contracts with schools and conferences that prevent this, but wouldn’t it be nice to stick it to the media for a change? Who knows other schools might follow the lead that have felt persecuted by BSPN.

    The ban of ESPN could start with the Toomer’s Oaks ceremony.

    • Pine Mt Tiger Pine Mt Tiger says:

      It would be nice! Too bad it ain’t gonna happen.

  13. restless6 says:

    Al.com isn’t Auburn friendly either. They have a story linking to asinine Georgia bloggers, Vol hacks, and a Bammer moron.

    In the immortal words of DX. They can all “suck it”.

  14. sparkey sparkey says:

    You know, we need to stop with this kind of reaction to things at Auburn. What I mean is this, we’ve been given the black hat. We didn’t want it and I’ve mentioned this before now. When we embraced the bad guy role in 2010, we kicked everybody’s ass. Let’s be the bad guy. They have forced this role on us. I’m not saying be dirty or cheat by any stretch. I’m simply saying to go with that black hat a bit. They hate us regardless. Well hell, let’s make it worth them hating us!

    • mvhcpa says:

      Sparkey,

      I agree with part of that mentality–it’s kinda how George Foreman described the first part of his career: “They want a bad guy; I’ll be the bad guy.” The problem with that approach is that part of enjoying a championship is the whole rest of the world recognizing they were “pwnd” on the field. When you have the black hat, especially an undeserved cheater’s black hat, nobody accepts their beat down. That is one of the reasons my best friend from Auburn said, after the 2011 Clemson game, “Thus endeth the most unsatisfying National Championship in history.”

      This was the key problem I had over here living in Georgia Bulldawg land–THEY got to define the agenda and the debate, so if it wasn’t “sCam Newton” it was “dirty Fairley” all the time. (That is, all the time they weren’t just ignoring that Georgia had a football program that year, which they do when they are down any particular year.)

      Michael Val
      (who thinks we do not NEED the black hat, just a get-after-‘em attitude like we used to have!)