Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tuberville to plead ignorance?

image Recall that on March 30 of this year, four former Auburn football players went on the record with HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and alleged that they were paid thousands of dollars in improper benefits during their careers at the school, and at least one of them also alleged academic shenanigans.

All of these alleged violations of NCAA rules would have occurred during the tenure of former Head Coach Tommy Tuberville, who was fired after the end of the 2008 season. Tuberville now coaches at Texas Tech and as an active coach of an NCAA program, he is required by league rules to cooperate with Enforcement Staff investigators.

There is no way of knowing whether Tuberville has already been interviewed about the allegations, but it’s quite clear that he’ll be pleading ignorant.

Via the Dr. Saturday blog on Yahoo! Sports, Tuberville told a radio interviewer that he doesn’t know what his players are (or, were) doing.

"It happens a lot of places now. It's just not Ohio State. Kids do things I'm sure here at Texas Tech that we don't know about. We try to monitor them daily, every minute, talk to them, educate them. If we do that the right way, usually you can overcome a lot of these problems that happen.

“It's unfortunate, but it's always been out there. You've always had teams that have stretched the rules and played in the gray area. It's unfortunate that sometimes people go to the length of trying to hide things that players have done, and they get caught.

"There's a lot of things you can't control. There's a lot of things the players do that you can't control. We're limited to the time we can spend with these kids, but we're held to the standards of a saint, so to speak.

"Unfortunately, Jim Tressel got caught up in this deal with one of his good players. If he'd have come out from day one and say 'listen, this happened, and we're going to go on with business,' I think they'd been fine."

Not only is that a vote of no confidence for the compliance staff he’s working with now, it’s a jab in the eye of the compliance staff at Auburn, too. Tuberville wasn’t asked about the HBO Four during the interview, but he’ll get asked by NCAA investigators.

Tubs has already used the ignorance defense once. He used the defense during the investigation of the school’s use of directed studies course in the Sociology Department, claiming that he had no idea that so many of his players were getting cushy course assignments and never going to class.

He should ask disgraced former Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel how well that works these days.

And lest anyone get the foolish notion that the NCAA isn’t really interested in the HBO Four’s allegations, you might want to rethink your concept.

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