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NCAA Football

This Auburn Football Scandal Is The Latest In The Line Of Pathetic, Behemoth Football Programs Overriding The Law

We’ve long known about the issue of NCAA football schools being “too big,” undermining the whole “amateur” facade, often getting so serious that teams are actually acting above the law. The Penn State/Joe Paterno/Jerry Sandusky scandal brought the issue to the national spotlight, and it hasn’t gone away. Auburn football, under Gene Chizik, is the latest scandal to come to light, and while mention of their “tainted” 2011 national title shouldn’t come as a surprise, the specifics are notable. Roopstigo.com has the scoop, and you should read the entire report. We’ll give you some highlights.

Mike McNeil was a “star safety” for Auburn. In March of 2011, he was involved in a felony case.

Campbell would discover what happened to her son (McNeil) over a timeline that may prove to be a tripwire to imploding a powerful and storied athletic institution. In Auburn, Ala., the influence of its behemoth college football program can be traced by the river of money that flows through the local businesses at Toomer’s Corner and spills into the coffers of millionaire coaches who occupy the 88,0000 square-foot athletics complex. That Campbell was the last to know of her son’s fate over a five-hour search for answers raises serious questions about Auburn University’s role in a felony case and illuminates a culture seemingly unhinged from institutional control:

When McNeil’s mother heard about her son’s involvement, this is how she was treated.

And he said, ‘Oh, no, Mrs. Campbell, you don’t need to be up here. We’re just waiting for Coach to come. This has been a big misunderstanding, a college prank gone wrong.’ He kept saying, ‘We’re going to handle this internally. We’re not allowing the media to know; and we’re keeping it all under wraps here. Just stay there and wait to get a call from the coach.’ I said, ‘Wait, I have the right to know what my son has been charged with.’ And he said, ‘No, it’s not like that.’”

Later, then-Tigers-coach Gene Chizik called McNeil’s father and told him he was kicked off the team “because the charges are serious.” He found out the armed robbery charge on the radio, later. He faces a trial on April 8. The family hasn’t heard from the University since, and McNeil hasn’t been allowed on campus, either.

Mike felt isolated and in the crosshairs of a program’s politics. “It made me feel like they were saying, ‘He’s expendable; we can use him as a scapegoat,’” Mike says. Until the robbery allegations, he had never been in legal trouble or termed a problem player. “He was the best teammate you could imagine,” says former Tigers linebacker Daren Bates.

The report also mentioned that McNeil comes from a well-respected family and didn’t need the money, suggesting that there was “no motive.” He has maintained his innocence.

What motive would Auburn have to interfere? In the months leading up to the robbery, Auburn had been dealing with behavioral issues involving players. Allegations that then-quarterback Cam Newton was part of a pay-to-play scheme further fueled the image of a rogue school lacking discipline. “Maybe there is a fear in Auburn’s mind that Michael knows too much,” says Clifton. “Their fear is that Michael will expose the family secret. It’s a way to silence him.”

This is the most worrying part of the report, but there isn’t proof. This is just one side of the story, though Chizik and co. aren’t speaking up. But there are other violations, with proof. McNeil’s father, Michael, is quoted as saying:

“But the reality is your class schedule is planned around football, not the other way around. It’s a business and there are players on the payroll.”

The report details multiple violations. One, there was academic fraud, most notably star running back Michael Dyer being allowed to play in the 2011 BCS Championship Game, despite being academically ineligible. Two, ex-receiver Darvin Adams was reportedly offered “several thousand dollars to stay for his senior year,” then went undrafted after Auburn gave negative reports on him to scouts. McNeil also recalled Will Muschamp handing him $400 during the 2007 season, and another illegal payment of $500 to entertain a recruit in 2008. There was also talk of Chizik not liking black players and explicitly not liking dreadlocks or tattoos. The report also says that 40 players tested positive for recreational drug use after the Championship Game, and that the black players were tested more often than others.

There’s other stuff in there, and you should read the whole report. Again, it’s not especially surprising, it’s just another one of the constant reminders that college sports are a sham, and something needs to be done so the higher-ups can stop pretending that this isn’t a dirty, lucrative business, and profiting from it at the expense of kids.


  • dcde

    This story has no basis. It’s an angry kid who got kicked off the team for being involved in armed robbery and now he wants to bring other people down. Pathetic. Waste of a publication. Irritating that the writer writes it as if its factual information. No integrity in journalism anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    I wrote that he maintains his innocence; we don’t know if he was guilty or not. I presume they’ll address that at the April 8th trial. Everything in there is fact, that they released him immediately and he wasn’t allowed on campus and they didn’t speak to him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.fisher Chris Fisher

    Correct, there is no proof of anything, yet what do you do? Your article title condemns Auburn to guilt… hey sound familiar, sounds like Cam 2.0. Hope it was worth the view count as you obviously have no integrity whatsoever.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    They’re guilty of ignoring a player whose life is in jeopardy, then there’s the reports of academic fraud/paying players. That’s all

  • Anonymous

    Here come the Auburn apologists …

  • come on man

    you should delete this article ASAP so you can keep the shred of credibility you have and keep your gig on this hogwash website. Keep defending criminals that keep trying to bring up the same sob story because they are bitter.

  • Colleen

    In no way should you be comparing a “potential” (not proven) NCAA violation by Auburn with what happened at Penn State. What happened at Penn State was disgusting and vile. Raping young boys is even in the same league as “handing a player $400.” McNeil is trying to extend his 15 minutes of fame before he goes to jail for armed robbery. Where are the facts in this story? It’s nothing but allegations. Go back to journalism school.

  • Candlefly

    Absolutely, Auburn has been the dirtiest program in the college football world forever, and the fans roll their eyes and say, “Who us”? Yeah you, stop the cheating and play by the rules if you don’t want to be accused and eventually pay the price.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    Yeah, I agree

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.mayfield.35 Ken Mayfield

    Yellow journalism breeding more yellow journalism..

  • http://www.facebook.com/ken.mayfield.35 Ken Mayfield

    You seem to be suggesting Auburn should have used it’s weight to get a criminal back on the streets…He was arrested for driving the getaway car in an armed robbery…Auburn’s obligation to him ended the very second he was arrested…..You are a bottom feeding hack….

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    Lol what? I’m saying they shouldn’t cut off all communication and bar a player from campus before he’s been convicted…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    Let the kid tell his side of the story, give him a chance…

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    They stopped speaking to him IMMEDIATELY

  • Phil White

    And if AU had kept him in class and kept in communication with him people like you would be critical of a football program harboring armed robbers.

    Mike McNeil was a fan and coaches favorite until he decided to get a gun, burst into someone’s home, and rob them at gunpoint. When he, or anyone else, makes a decision there are serious consequences. Being kicked off a team and out of school is the least of them

  • http://www.facebook.com/mattrud Matt Rudnitsky

    It’s not that he should’ve been allowed to play, but you don’t cut all communication with a player and exile him, when you don’t know if he’s guilty. There is also talk of them helping to set him up as a scapegoat. We don’t know the truth yet, but I don’t see how those actions are acceptable given the context.

    This isn’t praising McNeil in any way, and obviously, if he’s guilty, he can and will be punished. But Auburn clearly acted horribly.

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