Reporting Frank Garcia
Bustin Loose: 4-4-13: Mike Szvetitz of the Opelika-Auburn News responds to new allegations surrounding the Auburn University Football Program. “If nothing was found in 2010 by investigators…will it be found 2-3 years later?”
This story took most of the sports world by surprise, but being in and around Auburn, we wondered if this actually took Mike by surprise.
“You hear rumors about stuff, it’s such a small-knit community… When calls start getting made to city officials and Police Departments and things like that. You hear rumors saying ‘I was getting calls on this or that… So I think people knew something was coming, but they didn’t know exactly what it was going to say.”
With most of these allegations stemming from the National Championship team from three years ago, what were the motivations behind breaking this story now?
“A lot of people are in disbelief that these allegations are true. I talked to Mike Blanc on the phone, and he’s denying his quotes that appear in the article that Selena Roberts wrote. And all four players, other than Mike McNeil, came out and said they were either misquoted or the quotes were taken out context. You’ve got a lot of people denying. You’ve got a lot of Auburn fans thinking it’s just another vendetta to get out on Auburn… We’ve got to figure out exactly what happened. And right now, it’s just a lot of he said she said and that’s what we’re trying to get to bottom of.”
If this team was under such scrutiny for a such a long period of time, how could these dort of details been overlooked?
“That’s a great question… You know when the NCAA comes and spends that much time at a university, it’s like taking your car to the mechanic, if they spend enough time under the hood, they’re going to find something. They’re bound to find something… If you’re going to spend 13 months at a university in the same timeframe when these things allegedly happened and you don’t come up with anything, it’s either the NCAA missed something huge, or there’s nothing there, or some of other reason.”
If these allegations are indeed found true, what sort of implications could there be for the member of the coaching staff that were involved?
“Well, you can’t fine the players. So if these are true, which [Muschamp] denies, then obviously something should happen, but proving these things are true will take a lot of work. Let’s remember, this story not implicates Auburn, there’s accusations against Muschamp, and that goes into Florida. Will was under Tommy Tubberville at the time at Auburn. This wasn’t Gene Chizik’s staff. So now you’re implicating Tommy and his staff, so this stretched far beyond the 2010 National Championship team… I go back to 2010, If nothing was found going on at that time, will they find it now; two or three years later?”
Unfortunately, these types of stories are hardly an anomaly when it comes to modern-day college athletics, so what does this say about the state of college sports?
“You kind of get numb to it all, because what’s the next thing? There’s some people who think think this happens at every school, and there’s some people who think this never happens, or it only happens at certain schools… You don’t know. You’d like to think in amateur athletics that everything’s on the up and up, but there’s some evidence that points to the contrary… I think until these athletes are compensated for what they do, it’s a billion dollar industry and these athletes don’t get anything, you’re going to keep seeing things like this come out.”
If you would like to read Selena’s Roberts story, you can find it here. You can also read Mike Szvetitz article featuring a response from the Auburn players quoted in Roberts’ original story, by clicking here. You can also follow Mike on Twitter @Szvetitz.