Quick point on the academic thing
Now comes word from professor Jim Gundlach that he believes the football program was steering kids to easy classes. NCAA rules prohibit Auburn's academic people from (officially) steering kids to certain classes, which Auburn wouldn't need to do anyway. Most of these kids are really into football and see academics as a second-priority kind of thing. We can argue about that if you want. I'm just telling you how it is.
When I was a student at Transylvania University and University of Kentucky, I certainly wasn't going to plow into every difficult class around. I asked my friends, my co-workers at the college newspaper, my adviser about less-challenging courses. I took a few. Here are the highlights:
I was an average student at Transy, an excellent student at UK. These easy classes listed above helped offset the more difficult journalism and psychology classes I really wanted. No student, I don't care who you are, bombards themselves with excessively challenging classes all at once. I wasn't an athlete, either. Remember that the players have all those games and all those practices.
If the player isn't gung-ho about academic achievement, it's hard to muster up a ton of effort for academic challenges when your week is jammed with athletic stuff. It's a part-time job for all those kids, a full-time gig for some. And then you expect everyone to be killing themselves with graduate-level philosophy classes, too?
That's ignorant. It just is. If you believe every/most/several athlete(s) should be studying like a National Merit scholar, you're not living in reality.
I was intrigued when Gundlach was pointing out the stuff with Petee, which deserves to be examined, but questioning the prevalence of "easy courses" in the student-athlete population is funny to me. Duh.