Former head coach Gene Chizik responds to recent allegations in a story by Selena Roberts from Roopstigo.com.
"During my tenure at Auburn, the NCAA conducted a multi-year investigation into
the Auburn football program that they called "fair and thorough." The NCAA
focused intently on widespread accusations about Auburn players being paid and
other alleged recruiting violations. The NCAA conducted 80 interviews. In
October 2011, the NCAA rejected "rampant public speculation online and in the
media." Unfortunately, the recent story published by Selena Roberts is more of
the same. It once again portrays Auburn University, current and former coaches,
professors, fans, supporters and community officials in a false light.
Unfortunately, Ms. Roberts' story is long on accusation and inference, but short
on facts and logic. It is noteworthy that the story comes just days before a player
mentioned most prominently in the article is set to go to trial for felony armed
robbery. The statements are very generalized accusations devoid of substance.
During my time as Auburn's head coach, I never authorized, instructed or directed
anyone to change any player's grade or provide any type of illegal payment to any
student-athlete. Likewise, I am not aware of any alleged grade change or illegal
payment by any member of my coaching staff, support staff or anyone else.
As for logic, the notion that the conduct inferred by Ms. Roberts was occurring
under the NCAA's nose, at the very same time the NCAA is conducting its
thorough investigation, lacks merit. Further, the notion that there was ever an
attempt to sabotage any Auburn student-athlete's attempt to play professional
football is outrageous. Auburn's success in transitioning student-athletes to the
NFL benefits both the student-athlete and the Auburn program.
I remain part of the Auburn family and take these attacks on myself, the
University and community seriously. During my time at Auburn, the
administrators, professors and academic staff were of the highest integrity.
Additionally, the inference that there was academic support staff that worked
together with professors to change grades is absurd. As an Auburn resident, I
take great pride in the quality and integrity of our police department.
They enforce the law equally and fairly and my dealings with police Chief Tommy
Dawson and his staff have been nothing short of excellent. He has handled many
high profile cases with the upmost integrity and professionalism. To imply
anything otherwise is simply wrong.
If there is a sad truth here, it is that there are no repercussions for bloggers who
blast out widespread, venomous allegations and inferences in such an
irresponsible manner. To make bold and outrageous conclusions on such thin
support is a travesty.
During my tenure as Auburn's head coach, we kept the well-being of our student-
athletes at the forefront of every decision. We ran our program with the highest
level of integrity and accountability. Period. I make absolutely no apologies for
that. I stand firm in my statements, my support of Auburn University, its student-
athletes (present and former), faculty, staff and community officials. As I stated
during the NCAA investigation, I am comforted knowing that the truth always
Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs also responded to the allegations on Thursday afternoon. Here's Jacobs statement:
"Anytime accusations are made against Auburn, we take them seriously. We have no reason to believe these allegations are either accurate or credible. However, as a matter of procedure, we are reviewing them carefully.
It is important to note that several of the sources in this story have since indicated they were either misquoted, quoted out of context or denied the allegations.
Unfortunately, the reporter who published this story did not fully represent to us what the story was about when requesting an interview. We were only told that the reporter was working on a story about the alleged armed robbery involving four former football players, which occurred over two years ago.
We were never told the story would include allegations about academic fraud or improper benefits. Had we known that, we would have responded immediately with the statement above."