Perhaps you’ve seen the little temper tantrum thrown by AuburnUndercover.com’s Phillip Marshall, wherein he bemoans how college football fans have turned nasty.
It’s a radio talk show host taking almost daily shots at the rival of the school where he once played. It’s columnists and bloggers who have appointed themselves guardians of the rulebook and attach their own ominous spin to words of people they’ve never met. It’s anonymous message board posters spewing venom.
Together, they have created an unprecedented atmosphere of anger and vitriol in college football. Valid criticism has been replaced by ridicule and worse.
The offseason was once dominated by talk of recruiting and the season to come. Now, instead of celebrating accomplishments, too many fans in too many places spend their time fervently hoping for disaster to hit someone else’s program, someone else’s player.
Mr. Marshall, if you want to find the source of the vitriol you claim to dislike so much, you and a large number of Auburn fans and supporters simply need to look in the mirror. There’s an old saying in the south: Don’t start none; won’t be none.
There is no effort on the part of Alabama athletics, boosters or fans—coordinated or otherwise—to take down the Auburn athletics program. None. The much maligned and irrationally feared “Red Elephant Club” is about as dangerous as your local Kiwanis Chapter, and struggles just as mightily to get its members to pay their dues.
That’s not true about the 334 area code. In fact, Teh Auburn fambly has been displaying a nasty, even unhealthy hatred for all things crimson for decades.
Maybe you remember the story of John “Stump” Thrower, a man once described by former AU Athletics Director Navid Nousel as “an Auburn zealot.” Thrower’s zealotry went so far that, according to WJOX’s Herb Winches, he personally paid thousands of dollars to former Alabama player Gene Jelks to tell stories about his time in Tuscaloosa. His motive? He was outraged that former Auburn player Eric Ramsey had tape recordings of conversations with Pat Dye and other coaches on the Auburn staff. Those recordings—related to thousands of dollars in improper benefits to Auburn football players—led to the SEC’s most penalized school getting put on probation again. There wasn’t a crimson fingerprint anywhere near Eric Ramsey’s tape recorder, but By God Alabama was gonna pay for this.
Thrower died in November 2009. Alcoholic, broke, disgraced, divorced and badly behind in child support payments.
Maybe you also remember the little radio rant by former Auburn AD Nousel himself, wherein he compared the University of Alabama to Nazi Germany. No, really. He actually did. Go see for yourself.
Maybe you remember Mark Green, who is also dead. Mr. Green and a group of message board posters from Inside the Auburn Tigers decided to launch “Operation Red Dog,” a plot to get Alabama the “death penalty” by getting its football players in trouble for receiving extra benefits in 2009.
1) This started when JH went to Alabama at the last minute instead of AU. A coach of his had ensured AU staff that he was headed to AU and not Alabama. He was aware of what AU had offered JH and his mother stuff and possibly knew that JH mom had taped AU's offer. He still felt AU was his choice. JH put on the Alabama hat and the crap hit the fan at AU. Our staff called the coach and asked him what happened and he said he did not know but would have to guess that Alabama "countered" AU's offer. He never said he knew that Alabama had cheated but that he guessed that took place. After this, he asked JH why he went to Alabama and he said that if he went to AU he thought his eligibility might have been revoked if the NCAA found out about AU's offer. JH said Alabama and MSST both played it straight with him and his mom and that is why he went to Alabama.
2) This incident led the AU staff to believe that they lost out on the bidding for JH and they told people that Alabama had cheated. At this point, the coach could not get the corrected story out there fast enough. Irontiger knows this coach and was told the first story about how the coach thought Alabama cheated. Later, irontiger was told that Alabama did not commit infractions but he had already started his own rumors and his reputation grew as well as his imagination.
3) Irontiger then brought in a few of us to help spread the rumors- myself (ITAT name withheld) sherpa88, troopT and a few others and then koury. I dropped out about three months ago when I found out they had hired a PI that might have broken some laws and when I confronted iron about it he said they would send the information anonymously and no one could trace it back to him. The problem is his big mouth and he could not stop talking about it - then everyone found out about operation red dog and who was in it. After I dropped out koury joined the inside board back in March of this year as the repeat and sounding board of irontiger. The plan was simple: irontiger would start the thread and a few of us would join in and then someone would come back and verify everything irontiger has said was truthful- that is koury's job now.
4) During the past 16 months this has been going on. The MO was to stay the same in every area. Charge that recruits got new cars- Mobile was escalades and Gadsden was chargers. Start new rumors along the way about booster infractions, enticements and other benefits as much as we can. The most effective thing that irontiger came up with was that when any Alabama player does something immediately tie it to an infraction. If julio and mark goes fishing a booster paid for it- it was really simple. If KK got a car immediately say a booster paid for it even though in this case they knew for sure it came from his mothers college fund for him.
Now everyone knows how this happened. Now to the why.
We all knew that CTT and staff were not going to be effective against Miles, Saban, Richt and Meyer. We had to negate one of them and the easiest one was to hit Saban. We choose him due to his proximity and volatility of our rivalry with Alabama. We all really thought CNS was cheating a little (secondary type stuff) and thought if we can keep enough rumors churning we could get the NCAA to investigate or at the least keep a few recruits away from Alabama. Irontiger knew this would work and said, "the idiot masses on ITAT will believe any rumor we put out about Alabama because they want to believe it"! I was skeptical until I saw the masses believing every rumor even as our gang accidentally got the rumors incorrect many times- types of cars, colors and amounts of cash. Each time we told the rumor it seemed to grow and our fanbase kept believing every one of them until Michael14 and Austudent22 caught on to us and called us out for it.
You will see more revelations about this coming from multiple boards as they have started figuring out that 4-5 posters on ITAT started all these rumors. Once it went so far I told irontiger that coaches at these schools were being implicated as cheaters from the AU fanbase and that we should call it off and he said those Alabama coaches were a-holes and he did not care if they got called cheaters. I told him that they weren't cheaters and that they had started calling into AU's athletic department complaining about. When the PIs and reporters showed up and questioned these high school coaches about cheating for Alabama they wrote AU off. This really hit the fan around March of 2009 and that is when I left irons group. I know for a fact that irons rumors cost us 2 recruits last year (one four star and one 5 star) because the coaches at there school were called cheaters by the rumors started on ITAT. Our 2009 recruiting efforts were dramatically hurt by these rumors and 2010 is looking just as bad for instate recruits.
I stayed on the fringe until last week when the PTB at AU sent word to me and irontiger that it had to stop. Irontiger stopped for a day or so and then started rehashing it all over again. He has troopT and koury doing the heavy posting now and he just "supports" the rumors instead of "initiating" them. If our own posters knew just how stupid irontiger said they were they would not follow his rumors any more.
Now, I have completed the task I was advised to do. Once PF gets to the bottom of this and the package that iron put together it will turn litigious."
This little group really did compile a package of information, and sent it to the Paul Finebaum Radio Network and the NCAA. The package of information? Photographs of Alabama football players’ cars. Closeup photos of the cars’ vehicle identification numbers. Charts and graphs and crayon-colored timelines and shit. I’m serious.
A betting man would lay strong odds that Mr. Marshall not only personally knew Mr. Thrower and Mr. Green, he was on a first name basis with both of them and thinks their presence on this planet is sorely missed. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that dying as young as Thrower and Green did means they were consumed by something unhealthy.
It hasn’t stopped. Now, Marshall’s colleague Jeffery Lee has written a potentially libelous story accusing Alabama of recruiting irregularities connected with the signing of Brent Calloway, alleging thousands of dollars in cash, a mortgage payoff and a car. Lee’s story was quickly discredited by UA compliance staff and the matter has been closed. Seeing a pattern here, sports fans?
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.
You did it to yourself.
So if you really want to see a kinder, gentler college athletics landscape in this state, maybe it’s time for teh fambly to stop acting like children playing Spy vs. Spy. It might even help you avoid the consumption suffered by Thrower and Green, and you might even live a little longer.