In the dog days of the off-season, where recruiting and spring ball have passed, it can hard to find content to write about. Sometimes it’s necessary to fish for stories (no pun intended); however, today is not one of those days.
You have the classy folks at Auburn to thank for that.
Sitting in our living room today, I stumbled upon ESPN’s “E60” program, which was profiling the Auburn Tigers, and the rampant use of “Spice,” a synthetic marijuana that had spread throughout campus in 2010-11. By one player’s account, over 50% of the players on the roster were using the substance – who, at the time, had yet to be tested by the University.
Coincidence or not, Auburn began testing for the drug two weeks after Auburn beat Oregon for the national title, even though the coaches knew about allegations before the season started.
Former head coach Gene Chizik – smug and uncomfortably tan – was asked in the interview if he thought it seemed odd that Auburn would begin testing after the season had ended, knowing that so many players were using.
“The insinuation that we would have waited to actually come up with a test until after we had won a championship is simply absurd.”
Sure it is.
To say that things are often done a little dirty in the south would be quite an understatement. To be fair, saying that Auburn is alone in this would also be incorrect. However, it seems that as time goes on the 2010-2011 Auburn Tigers seem more and-more…corrupt. Michael Dyer was kicked off the team. Multiple players were arrested for theft of Spice. Cam Newton? His actions speak for themselves. Perhaps no one was more corrupt than Chizik himself, who seems to be at the head of all the problems.
Oregon is not getting a pass here by any means. The Ducks have had their share of problems. Many elite schools find themselves under the microscope of scrutiny for a variety of reasons. It seems, however, that what was going on at Auburn was on a different level. The rate at which players and administrators at that school are getting in trouble is both laughable and alarming. Academic fraud, drug use, paying for players…it all adds up to a lost title in my mind.
Four players from the Auburn ‘Spice’ case are facing jail time – some up to 20 years. While this is certainly an Auburn problem, it appears that the NCAA is the real loser here. They already have their hands full with North Carolina, Miami, etc…if things continue to unravel at Auburn, they could be facing an unparalleled problem.
As for Oregon? While, by their own admission, not completely innocent of pushing the envelope, they appear to be the angels of the 2011 BCS title game. I think it’s time to hand over the trophy.
Joel Gunderson grew up in a small town, where the only thing he did for fun was worship the Oregon Ducks. He later moved to Eugene, where he studied journalism at the U of O. After working in radio, he married the woman of his dreams and settled down. Joel now spends his days studying Journalism and the fine world of grammar, all the while worshiping the ground that Charles “Chip” Kelly walks on! Follow him on twitter @gundy85
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