April 22, 2013

Dear Auburn Family,

In response to an article published by Roopstigo.com earlier this month, we have reviewed the allegations of academic fraud made in the story. Even though many of the sources interviewed for the article criticized the reporter for misquoting or misrepresenting them as soon as the story appeared, the allegations were serious enough to prompt an internal review.

The attached document illustrates that there are numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the story.

The most serious allegation is the claim that academic fraud occurred prior to the 2011 BCS National Championship game. Auburn Athletics and Auburn University Internal Auditing have completed independent reviews of the academic allegations. There is no evidence academic fraud occurred.

The article alleges improper grade changes took place to make nine student-athletes eligible for the 2011 BCS National Championship Game. That is false. In fact, six players were academically ineligible for the BCS National Championship game, and none of them made the trip to Arizona with the team.

The article also states that former football student-athlete Michael Dyer was academically ineligible prior to the BCS National Championship game. That is also false. Mr. Dyer was never in danger of academic ineligibility. In fact, he passed 15 hours during the fall of 2010 (nine more than required by the NCAA) and had a 2.8 GPA at the end of the fall semester. Mr. Dyer actually passed a combined 24 hours in the summer and fall semesters.

The article also implies that an academic counselor who works with the athletic department kept Mike McNeil eligible by changing his grade in a course from an F to a C. The article fails to point out that the professor changed Mr. McNeil's grade after documented reasons were provided, including excused absences from classes for medical reasons. The independent review by Auburn University Internal Auditing showed that all institutional policies regarding grade changes for excused absences were followed.

It is also worth noting that while Mr. McNeil also alleges that former Auburn assistant coach Will Muschamp paid him during the 2007 season, Coach Muschamp immediately and publicly denied the allegations, as was widely reported throughout the media.

The article also claims that Mr. McNeil recalls receiving $500 cash to entertain a former prospect, Dre Kirkpatrick, while Mr. Kirkpatrick was on an official visit to Auburn. Mr. Kirkpatrick never took an official visit to Auburn. Mr. Kirkpatrick has since publicly stated that no one at Auburn gave him money or spent money on him during unofficial visits to our campus.

As Auburn's Athletics Director, it's my job-no matter how proud I am of Auburn- to carefully review charges made against our program when warranted.

As the facts demonstrate, the article is clearly flawed. I want you to know that I will always act on the basis of facts. I will continue to fight for Auburn University, and I will continue to defend this great institution against such attacks. One more thing needs to be said about this story, which unfairly attacked former Head Coach Gene Chizik. Coach Chizik came to Auburn with a strong record of rules compliance and a reputation as a man of the utmost character and integrity. I have enormous respect for Coach Chizik, the way he ran his program throughout his entire tenure at Auburn and also the way he left-with dignity and class.
There is no credible confluence. Selena Roberts' blog simply can't be treated as a factually accurate source regarding Auburn athletics and this is ignoring her history and treating her latest "reporting" on it's own merits.