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All That and a Bag of Mail: Why Are Auburn’s Players Squealing?

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It’s Friday and Auburn fans are under siege in the mailbag.

It’s like Groundhog Day at Outkick the Coverage. 

I forgot what it was like to have Auburn fans ripping me on Twitter. And to have Alabama fans loving me. It’s amazing how brilliant I am in Tuscaloosa when I’m making fun of Auburn and it’s amazing how brilliant I am in Auburn when I’m making fun of Alabama. But, boy, I sure am an idiot in Auburn right now. 

Who knew intelligence could come and go so quickly?

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is FBI agent Stan Beaman on “The Americans.” You seriously need to be watching this show. 

Wow. 

Now on to the mailbag.  

Michael S. writes:

“Auburn and the NCAA is like Tony Soprano and the FBI. Everyone watching knows Tony is hip-deep in crime, but they also know the bumbling FBI will never catch them even when a family member flips. Given that Auburn learned its lesson on how to not get caught after the early 90s (pay cash, deny everything), do you feel the Selena Roberts’ story and ESPN report will again lead to absolutely nothing? In fact shouldn’t ESPN just end its E:60 report with Journey playing “Don’t Stop Believing” in the background and then just cut to black?”

That would be outstanding.

If your average Auburn fan would just admit, “Yes, we cheated our asses off in 2010, but no one is ever going to catch us so it was worth it,” I don’t think people would really care that much about the cheating. After all, lots of cheating takes place in any underground economy. And an underground economy is exactly what requiring football and men’s basketball players to go to college for free creates.

But the Auburn fan base has been so sanctimonious and annoyingly provincial about this whole thing since it started. The average Auburn fan really believes, at least for purposes of public argument, that they’ve done nothing wrong and that the entire mess surrounding Auburn is based on a media witch hunt.

Again, I’ll ask you, of all the programs in America that the media could be obsessed with bringing down, do you really think the media would pick a school in rural Alabama that lots of the nation doesn’t even know? I mean, Auburn is probably the only SEC school that the majority of non-Southerners can’t even place in the correct state.

This would actually be a great skit, northerners and westerners try and place Auburn in the right state.

Auburn isn’t a big enough target for a vast conspiracy to develop around catching the Tigers. The reason the media is there is because there are so many players telling so many different strories about the ways y’all cheated.

The idea that Auburn didn’t cheat offends anyone with a brain.

I mean, 2010 Auburn is like the WWE champ who won by knocking out his opponent with a chair while the ref had his back turned. That’s fine, no one really argues that WWE champs who win this way should have their titles stripped, but it does make them infinitely less likeable especially when the villain claims that our eyes weren’t working, that, no, despite what clearly happened — a chair to the back — we’re the ones who are mistaken. 

This wasn’t a clean title.

You’re the chair slamming champs. 

Own it. 

Lots of you on Twitter and email, what’s the worst case scenario here for Auburn?

If I’m an Auburn fan, what would scare me the most is the amount of players who are willing to squeal on my program. Yeah, yeah, everyone cheats, Auburn fans, but no one else has ten players who are saying exactly how their school cheats. By changing grades, paying players, hiding drug test results, no other school has all these allegations coming out publicly. If everyone cheats so badly, why is Auburn the only school with multiple players going state’s evidence and telling the media exactly how the program cheated? 

And don’t say it’s just because the players are angry at Auburn. Are no players at any other schools ever angry at their schools too? Clearly, Auburn has some major issues with player relations.  

So, I think there are three areas of concern about these stories.

1. The McNeil criminal trial

Who has to testify in this trial? I’d love to see a witness list. Doubtless several players will be on the stand. Could some coaches and administrators be on the stand as well? That seems likely. I ask because it appears that McNeil’s goal is to put Auburn on trial as well. (By the way, this seems like the worse defense strategy ever. Putting the popular university on the opposite side of you when you face 21 years in jail? Ouch.) McNeil seems to genuinely feel that Auburn helped set him up. So his defense may be awful from a criminal perspective, but it could be explosive from an NCAA angle.

Remember, once you’re under oath the NCAA can take your testimony and use it in an investigation. Otherwise the NCAA can’t force you to talk.

So what if players admit to being paid or having their grades changed under oath in a criminal trial? That testimony carries pretty good weight given that it’s said under penalty of perjury.

That would scare me as an Auburn fan.

2. The grade changes

There should be a record if grades were actually changed.

Paying players cash is pretty safe because the cash vanishes without a clear trail, but grade changes provide a written record. Did Auburn regularly change grades to keep players eligible? If they did, there should be a substantial record of this occurring.

Academic fraud is harder to cover up than paying players. (Although, if you’re worried about this, I’d suggest that Auburn retain North Carolina’s legal team, they’re experts at making academic fraud disappear).

3. What if a booster talks?

Selena Roberts says she’s working on a part two that deals with boosters.

If that happens — a booster talks — then you could have a Miami situation. Remember that all of Miami’s troubles basically came from one booster talking to Yahoo. If Auburn has a disgruntled booster, uh oh.

These are the three big fears I’d have if I was an Auburn fan.

Anonymous writes:

“I am a graduate of Texas A&M and this football season will be my first as alumni. After some research, the prices are pretty expensive for season tickets. I’m in the first year of my career so I’m making good money but not great. I’ve also been dating a serious girlfriend for several years with things going great. I’ve been thinking about getting engaged in the fall but rings are also pretty expensive. With a limited income, I can only choose one and I’ve been going back and forth. I love my girlfriend but man I love Texas A&M football (have you seen the home schedule? Dream schedule of teams to watch). While it may hurt the relationship, Johnny may jump ship after the season. I need help deciding. Doubt the girlfriend reads your column but all my friends do so if you could leave off my information that would be great.”

I think you have to go season tickets.

Here’s my rationale: you’re 22 or 23 or 24. Assuming your girlfriend is also near the same age then she can wait another year to get engaged. Hell, she could wait another several years.

What’s the rush to get engaged? Kids? You absolutely do not want kids at 25. I don’t really know why any man would intentionally want kids before thirty. The longer you wait to be a dad the better a dad you’re probably going to be because you’ll be more patient and you should be more financially secure. Getting married young just guarantees that you’re also going to have kids young. You know what kills a football Saturday a lot more than expensive season tickets? Twin two-year olds. Good luck with that.

Plus, Texas A&M is going to be awesome this year, potentially the best team in school history. And you might never get to see Johnny Manziel play in person again. Think about how crushed you’d be if that happened. Now, I will quibble with your “dream schedule of teams to watch,” line. That’s one you might be able to play on the girlfriend, but it won’t work on me. Other than Alabama, which will be the biggest regular season game in the country next year, have you lain in bed at night dreaming of Rice, Sam Houston State, SMU, Auburn, Vandy, Mississippi State, and New Mexico? Because those are the other seven teams on your home schedule. That’s hardly a dream schedule.

But I still think it’s still an easy call, you go season tickets over engagement ring.  

I also think you’ve got a lot more control here than you believe you do. If your girlfriend is obsessed with getting engaged then there’s no way she’s walking on the relationship because you don’t propose in 2013. She might be bitchy and she might withhold sexual favors — welcome to marriage, by the way — but she’s already invested several years with you. She’ll do the math. Even if she ended your relationship tomorrow — which would mean, by the way, that you really didn’t want to be with her anyway because she wasn’t so much interested in getting married to you as just getting married to someone — that means she’s got to meet a new guy, date him for at least a year, convince him to marry her, all before she could hope to get engaged anew.

So if getting married is her primary goal, she doesn’t really gain anything by bailing on you for going with the season tickets over the engagement ring this year.

Given your age, I think it’s an easy call, go with the season tickets.

(Edit: Tons of attractive women on Twitter immediately said they’d want the season tickets over the engagement ring. So maybe you should just find a new girlfriend in my Twitter mentions?)

Caleb G. writes:

“Better scene in a hit TV show: Lesbian brothel scene in “Game of Thrones,” or any scene with Brodie’s wife in Homeland?”

The lesbian brothel scene in episode 7 of “Game of Thrones,” is the hottest sex scene that has ever occurred in any non-porno ever.

I mean it.

It’s also the hottest lesbian scene in a popular movie or television show since Neve Campbell and Denise Richards in “Wild Things.” Only it crushes that scene.

How popular is this scene? Even guys who haven’t watched the series at all have heard of it before. I told a buddy the other day that I’d finished the first season of “Game of Thrones,” — he hasn’t seen it — but his first question was, how hot was the lesbian brothel scene?

I don’t even know how they got away with it. Were the censors asleep? Out sick that day? It also looks like it’s all in one take. Someone with more film knowledge can confirm this, but if so, how long did it take to film this. How long was there graphically simulated lesbian sex going on? Was this the greatest day to be on set ever? 

Amazingly, when I searched to see how popular it was, this clip is up on YouTube. 

Warning, do not click at work or if attractive naked lesbians having sex with one another offends you. 

You’re welcome.

 

Kurt M. writes:

“I live in the Louisville are and yesterday “Win for Ware” shirts were popping up and selling like crazy… Based on the “Johnny Football” ruling is this going to be the first big paycheck for an amateur?”

Based on the Johnny Football NCAA ruling, Ware should definitely trademark the phrase and sue everyone making the shirts.

Hopefully for his sake a decent-sized company is involved and they’ve sold a bunch of shirts. If so, he could harnass substantial damages.

He 100% should do this.

Now, unlike Manziel his trademark value is probably limited because — and I hate to be cruel, but it’s true — no one will care about Kevin Ware shirts once the Final Four is over. His popularity is limited, whereas Johnny Football’s continues to grow.

Andrew R. writes:

“I’ve heard you claim multiple times that you believe if a coach isn’t competing for a conference and/or national title by their second year at a school, then that coach will never achieve that level of success at that school. While I firmly believe that not all rebuilding jobs are created equal, and some require more time than others, I was curious to see if you felt the “2 year plan” applied to Butch Jones? This year, he has veterans throughout both the offensive line and defensive line, but has a huge overhaul going on at many skill positions. In 2015, the skill positions will have a season’s worth of experience, but they may have to replace every starter on both the offensive and defensive lines. If there’s one area of an SEC team where you would want depth and experience, it’s on the lines. With all the turnover on the lines, I could see UT having a worse season in 2014 than in 2013. If that’s the case, will you stand by your two year analysis and say that Butch Jones can’t win an SEC or National Championship at Tennessee?”

My two year plan thesis is this — If you haven’t won at least nine games by your second season in the SEC, you’re not going to win an SEC or national title at the school.

That’s because every SEC coach that has won an SEC title game has won at least nine games by his second season on the job.

Every single one.

So if you don’t win nine games in year one or year two, there has been a 100% chance you won’t win an SEC title. So my contention is that you know by year two whether or not a coach is going to be a success. That’s enough time to change the culture and right the ship in today’s era.

Now, there could end up being a rebuilding job that is so atrocious that rule gets broken. (It took Bobby Petrino three years to win big at Arkansas, for instance, but he also never won a title at the school). Now, I don’t believe UT is in that poor of shape. Dooley didn’t leave a complete disaster behind. So If Butch Jones doesn’t win at least nine games by year two then I don’t believe he’ll ever win an SEC title. 

I’m trusting history. 

Butch Jones could be the exception to the rule, but I doubt it. 

By the way, Dan Mullen, Will Muschamp, and James Franklin all recently won at least nine games by their second year on the jobs so let’s not pretend that achievement is impossible.  

Paul W. writes:

So I’m a business school student, which basically means I sit in classes all day and talk sports with my fellow b-school men. The other day in a finance class, we started talking about the Securities and Exchange Commission ( the “other” SEC). My buddy posed an interesting question that I’d like your take on: when the regulators win a big decision, do they chant “SEC! SEC!” too? How incredible would this be?

If they’re from the South, they do.

Do you think we could establish a new Mason-Dixon line by polling people to find out where the SEC ceases to be a football conference and becomes a federal regulatory agency.

Where do you think that would be?

Delaware is my best guess.

Y’all?

Have great weekends.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.

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