Wednesday, October 12, 2011

BREAKING: NCAA Formally Clears Auburn

For nearly a year now, haters from coast to coast--but especially in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Starkville and Gainesville--have been predicting that Auburn would receive a letter from the NCAA.  This afternoon, that prediction came true.  Problem for them is, the letter exonerates AU. The NCAA's public statement says:

After conducting more than 80 interviews, the NCAA has concluded its investigation into Auburn University. The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding. As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of additional credible information, it will review the information to determine whether further investigation is warranted.

A few excerpts from the letter, which is addressed to Jay Jacobs:

[D]uring the past 13 months the enforcement staff and Auburn University have reviewed a number of allegations regarding the football program's compliance with NCAA legislation, including, but not limited to, allegations involving football student-athletes Cam Newton, Raven Gray, Stanley McClover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick.

Regarding Mr. Newton, the enforcement staff and the university conducted over 50 interviews regarding an alleged pay-for-play scheme.  Additionally, an extensive number of documents including, but not limited to, bank records, personal IRS tax documents, telephone records and e-mail messages, were obtained and reviewed as part of that inquiry.  As reflected in the university's November 30, 2010, self-report, it was determined that a violation of amateurism legislation occurred when Mr. Newton's father and an owner of a scouting service [Mississippi State booster and former player Kenny Rogers --ed] worked together to actively market Mr. Newton for compensation.  NCAA Bylaw 12.3.3 prohibits individuals or entities from representing a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school or athletics scholarship.  It was also determined that Mr. Newton and university representatives were not aware of that activity. Based on the information currently available, the enforcement staff has not substantiated any other violations involving Mr. Newton...

Regarding Mr. Gray... The enforcement staff and the university conducted multiple interviews, including those of Mr. Gray and Mr. Gray's family, friends and others.  Ultimately, Mr. Gray's allegations were not substantiated, and in some instances were disputed by others...

Regarding Mr. McClover, Mr. Ramsey and Mr. Reddick... even though the enforcement staff made several attempts to interview those individuals, they refused to cooperate.  Therefore, the allegations made during the HBO show have not been substantiated...

The enforcement staff appreciates the university's cooperation in these matters.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me.  Thank you.

Sincerely, Jackie A. Thurnes, Associate Director of Enforcement

Pete Thamel (hey Pete, NOW we know it's over), Thayer Evans, Joe Schad, Mark Schlabach, Chris Low, Spencer Hall, Matt Hinton, Danny Sheridan, Paul Finebaum, Dan Mullen, Megan Mullen, Urban Meyer, Jody Wright and a host of other goons who did their damnedest to do to Auburn off the field what Auburn did to their teams on the field in 2010 were not immediately available for comment.

So: despite the uncountable amounts of ink, pixels and bandwidth spent predicting doom upon the Plains, there will be no probation. There will be no vacations, no forfeits, no returned trophies, and no asterisks. The 2010 season will remain what it always was: glorious.

Boys, you can pick up your crow at Cam's house. He'll be glad to serve it to you... at high velocity.


TigerBlue65 said...

Will thanks for the nice wrap-up. Sometimes lost in all of this is the truly remarkable job Gene Chizik and his staff did in holding this team together during the whole sordid media frenzy.

Romberry said...

Little noted in the NCAA's letter is the fact that the investigation has been under way for 13 months. That means the investigation was under way before the story ever broke. And that means that (once again) Gene Chizik was telling the absolute truth about the fact that AU already knew about the allegations, had already looked at them and had decided (along with the NCAA) that there was no reason for Cam to sit.

R. Newton said...

You left off Athens, GA as a place that's officially eating crow for breakfast this morning as well.