Auburn Tigers: Toomer's Corner Oaks Not the Only Poisoned Trees in Auburn

Jonathan KelleyCorrespondent IApril 15, 2011

Disclaimer: If you are looking for someone who is going to present a story about Auburn or Alabama from a fair and impartial point of view, quit using the internet!! I am an Alabama fan but that does not make these statements any less true. Everyone is biased, at least I openly admit it.

With all the latest mudslinging by Auburn media members against the University of Alabama, I felt obligated to write this story. This is a “Family Tree” of the Coaches for Auburn dating back to 1951. Since so much hoopla has been made about Alabama being on probation since the dawn of man, here is a look at another tree in the town of Auburn that is poisoned.

Ralph “SHUG” Jordan, whose namesake is the Jordan in Jordan-Hare stadium, was Auburn’s beloved coach from 1951-1975. He is commonly referred to as the quintessential Auburn man.

Now as respected a war hero as Shug was, Auburn was cited twice for major violations under his tenure as a coach, first on Jan. 11, 1957 for improper recruiting inducements and again on April 21, 1958 for the same thing.

These were not considered to be light penalties either, as combined they resulted in the loss of TV appearances for five years, postseason bans for five years and probation for six years. 

If you will notice, this is also the time frame when Auburn won its first national title, teaching the Tigers a valuable lesson indeed.

Doug Barfield was Auburn’s coach following the retirement of Shug. He led the Tigers from 1976-1980 and compiled a record of 29-25-1, but yet he too somehow managed to get Auburn cited for major violations twice.

First on May 11, 1979 for the following: “Extra benefits; improper recruiting contacts, entertainment, inducements, lodging, publicity and transportation; excessive number of official visits; tryouts; questionable practice; certification of compliance.”

Then, having learned his lesson much like under Shug, Auburn was cited again on Nov. 13, 1980 for “Improper recruiting contacts, entertainment, inducements, lodging and transportation.”

These violations resulted in a two-year TV ban, two-year postseason ban and three years of probation.

Pat Dye was not only Auburn’s coach from 1981-1992, but he was also its athletic director from 1981-1991, which was truly the definition of leaving the fox in charge of chicken coop.

To his credit, Dye only led Auburn to one major violation in his tenure, but boy, was it a good one.

On Aug. 18, 1993, Auburn was cited for major violations; the following is that Violation Summary: “EXTRA BENEFITS: athletics representatives provided at least $4,000 in cash and merchandise; assistant coach provided $500; administrative assistant provided several thousand dollars in cash payments; athletics representative approved a $9,200 and several other unsecured loans based upon future earnings as professional athletes; student-athletes allowed to enroll with outstanding accounts with the university. LACK OF INSTITUTIONAL CONTROL. UNETHICAL CONDUCT. ERRONEOUS CERTIFICATION OF COMPLIANCE.”

These all came to light during a "60 Minutes" special involving Eric Ramesy sharing tapes of him telling coaches that he needed money and those coaches giving it to him.

Does any of this sound familiar? These violations resulted in Auburn having a one-year TV ban, a two-year postseason ban and two years' probation. Not only has Auburn not disaffiliated itself with Dye, he is one of the most beloved, respected, consulted and influential men in Auburn today, and was instrumental in the hiring of Gene Chizik.

Terry Bowden, son of the great Bobby Bowden, was a successful coach at Auburn who took the job despite the rampant cheating and pending sanctions that where going on.

However, by his own admission in 2001, three years after he was fired for not getting top-tier recruits and punishing players for off-field issues, he admits that he lied to the NCAA about no violations occurring during his tenure.

"They were paying players cash, $12,000, and $15,000 to sign," Bowden said on a recording reviewed by the Associated Press. "All I was told to do was shake hands and say, 'Thank you. I appreciate how much you love Auburn.' "

He also stated that “25 to 30 boosters would meet in Birmingham and 15 to 20 would meet in Rome, Ga., and they would give $5,000 each. He said that when he arrived at Auburn, an assistant coach collected the money.”

Yet the NCAA did not add to the sanctions at Auburn, nor did it investigate these practices revealed by a former coach.

To the credit of all involved, Terry did say that he put an end to the practices shortly after he arrived; ironically, this may have lead to him not being able to get the highly heralded recruits that ultimately led to his demise.

Tommy Tuberville did not leave Oxford, MS in a pine box, but he did arrive in Auburn to man the program from 1998-2008. Under his tenure, Auburn had several academic scandals involving players and professors.

At one time in his tenure, Auburn football athletes claimed higher GPAs than those of Vanderbilt’s. Although, to date, no sanctions have come from his tenure, that has not stopped former Auburn family/players from giving Tommy and Auburn “the finger” (so to speak) with accusations of pay-for-play schemes, corruption from the athletic department, coaches paying players, and worst of all, pushing players to change majors so football can be a priority.

Depending on what developments come out of the HBO special, Auburn’s “Streak” may not be over after all. The most unsettling development of these allegations may be that assistant coaches made payments, especially when considering who Auburn’s former assistant coaches in this era were. Enter…

Gene Chizik is the current coach of Auburn University and former defensive coordinator under Coach Tuberville. Chizik came to Auburn via Iowa State with an impressive 5-19 record, and apparently was fully endorsed by Dye. To date, Chizik has assembled one of the best support staffs in college football, and has won a national title.

During the same time frame, Auburn has been investigated for pay-for-play accusations against the controversial Cameron Newton, improper recruiting in Thibodaux, La., a complete ongoing investigation into Tiger Prowl, and currently pay-for-play accusations from former players. 

To Auburn and Chizik’s credit, Newton was declared eligible after being declared ineligible for 24 hours, and hopefully his statue will be up long enough for people to see it.

This article was brought to you by The Red Elephant Club, which owns all the major media in the entire world and is secretly out to get Auburn University. Damn, I let out the secret! Damn, I mentioned the name of the organization!


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