Auburn update, 7/18
Yea, it's been wild the past six days or so. I was on vacation in Louisville, Ky., last week when it came to my attention that stuff was about to get nutty. I hunkered down in a Starbucks near my in-laws' home and set up little work area. Banged it out. That's how it goes sometimes.
I'll spare you the backstory here. If you're an Auburn fan, you know what's going on.
I have a few things to add.
- It is my opinion, based on information I'm getting today, that Auburn's athletic department again has been cleared of wrongdoing in this case. Remember that they were cleared (credit: Ed Richardson) at the July 7 BOT meeting. So that was the first exoneration.
- Even if the athletic department is exonerated in full, there still are questions I want answered. Why was Thomas Petee doing the work of 3.5 professors? He wasn't getting 3.5x the salary. That makes no sense to me.
- Virgil Starks is the athletic department's academic czar. He hasn't granted interviews since the story broke. In the original NYT story, Doug Langenfeld said Starks helped him find Petee's class after attending the wrong class for a month. Starks clearly is involved in this thing. What was his exact role? I don't know.
- I am not one to believe certain papers have an axe to grind. Yet I find myself wondering why the NYT now has written two involved exposes at Auburn in four years. I know NYT covers the world and all ... but why does Auburn earn unusual attention? I'm not saying the NYT has an agenda. I'm saying it's a curious trend that has a basis in some form. There's a reason.
- I have met Paul Finebaum several times, been on his show. I like the guy on a personal level. He's a gentleman in a press box. He's pleasant. Then I hear him on the radio and I can't believe the things he says. I haven't listened to him since the Mike Price fiasco because, I don't know, it seems like a low-brow parody of what reporters do. Finebaum is a legit journalist. The guy was a very good or excellent reporter as a cub. I believe those skills remain, yet he makes unreasonable jumps on his show.
Anyway, Paul told ESPN Radio that Auburn is loaded with "dumb jocks." I know a lot of these kids and they're as bright as any other SEC team. People love ragging on Carnell for his country drawl and dialect, but that doesn't mean Carnell lacks intelligence. Plus, it's not like Paul is at Auburn talking with these kids. I can't believe the other beat writers, columnists, coaches and SIDs (ie people who know the kids on a personal level) would express that to Paul privately. Maybe they do. I'd be surprised.
- Auburn needs the investigating committee to reach a conclusion. Now. Yesterday. The school is taking major hits over this scandal, some deserved and some not, and Auburn will feel the heat until a verdict is reached. It really takes two months to do this? It takes two months to interview 5-10 kids, 5 professors and a dean or two?