Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Clay Travis’ post on NCAA – Auburn investigation gets part of the story right

image Launching his new website,, Clay Travis chose a subject for his first post that was sure to grab attention and make a splash. In the SEC, there is no story sure to drive traffic better than one with “new information” about the NCAA’s ongoing probe into Auburn University’s recruiting practices.

And to drop the story on the opening day of SEC Media Days is internet marketing gold.

Salut, sir.

As part of the latest round of investigation in Montgomery, [NCAA investigator Jackie] Thurnes conducted interviews with Montgomery businessmen with relationships to Auburn University. Reached for comment by multiple individuals who spoke with Thurnes declined comment. Those interviews dealt with the NCAA's continuing probe of Cam Newton, but also focused on allegations levied on HBO's Real Sports by former Auburn player Stanley McClover. McClover told HBO that he'd been paid to play football for Auburn. The NCAA investigating McClover's claims is interesting because typically the NCAA statute of limitations on collegiate wrongdoing is four years. McClover last played at Auburn in January of 2006, but the NCAA reserves the right to expand the statute of limitations if there is a connection or pattern of wrongdoing. 

The NCAA's ten-month investigation is further complicated by the continuing fount of allegations, many untrue, levied by Alabama fans in the state. These allegations have thrust ordinary citizens into the forefront of the rumor machine. One such individual, Thomas Buckelew, a tailor at Buckelew's Clothing for Men in Montgomery, Alabama, finds himself buffeted by allegations that he provided high-priced suits to Cam Newton at reduced costs. The very suits, you guessed it, that Newton wore at the Heisman ceremony. According to sources, Newton's suits, ties included, cost in excess of $4,000 each. NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes was informed of this allegation, and the NCAA has spent time investigating its validity.  

Rumors of an impending NCAA visit to Montgomery had been swirling for weeks before the interviews took place. Those rumors had been floated on Twitter, Facebook and fansites and message boards of various SEC schools. So while we can confirm that Ms. Thurnes did indeed visit Montgomery and conduct interviews, the idea that the NCAA’s investigation is being complicated by “untrue” allegations levied by Alabama fans is the part of this story that Travis gets wrong.

I redirect by pointing you to GulfCoastBamaFan’s post of July 3:

No one associated with the University of Alabama had a thing to do with Eric Ramsey taping Pat Dye and Larry Blakeney incriminating themselves in 1991. Bammer didn’t have a thing to do with Cecil Newton shopping his son around for a six figure sum. No one wearing crimson paid or encouraged four former football players to tell HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that they were paid thousands of dollars in improper benefits. There wasn’t any Red Elephant Club involvement in four players committing armed robbery during a home invasion. Alabama didn’t send the NCAA down to Thibodaux, LA to investigate the recruitment of Greg Robinson and Trovon Reed. And there was no bammer involvement in the NCAA’s recent visit to South Florida. Seeing a pattern here, sports fans?

I see your Harvey Updyke and raise you one John Thrower, one Mark Green and a Jeffery Lee.

It’s no one else’s fault that an Auburn booster is standing trial on charges of bribery and money laundering. It’s no one else’ fault that the current AD has a documented business relationship with another defendant in that case, who is also accused of money laundering. It’s not bammer’s fault that AU’s most prominent supporter saw his financial empire collapse and may himself see federal indictment under Sarbanes-Oxley. We didn’t do this to you.

Auburn’s NCAA problems are not being caused by crazy Bama fans making up stories and sending the NCAA investigators on wild goose chases. Most of those fans are just cheerleaders and are regurgitating stuff they see elsewhere.

There is no Operation Red Dog among Alabama fans. Travis says the NCAA’s interviews focused on Cam Newton and the HBO Four. Alabama fans had nothing to do with those situations, either. Auburn fans might like to fantasize about bammers lurking in dark corners and telling tattle-tales about Auburn, but it really is a fantasy.

Clay Travis will have a lot of fun with his new site, especially if he likes playing the two fanbases in this state against each other.


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