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Home | Sports | College / NCAA |

Auburn players take to Twitter to deny bribery by former coach Gene Chizik


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Auburn Tigers head coach Gene Chizik talks to the media following the Tigers 49-0 loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant Denny Stadium. Chizik refused to address his coaching future at Auburn University. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

Auburn Tigers head coach Gene Chizik talks to the media following the Tigers 49-0 loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant Denny Stadium. Chizik refused to address his coaching future at Auburn University. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)

The coaching tenure of Gene Chizik at Auburn was one of the most unpredictable in recent college football history. Following a 2010 BCS National title, the Tigers tailspinned, going 0-8 in the SEC only two years later.

It was War Eagle’s first conference season without a win since 1980, and it cost Chizik his job. However, had Chizik retained his position, he would have been facing an even bigger headache after a report was released by former Sports Illustrated’s columnist Selena Roberts that he changed players’ grades and even paid them during his time in The Plains.

The report was made public on Wednesday. Almost immediately afterwards, several players that had been either quoted or implicated by Roberts as having accepted money took to Twitter to refute her claims.

One player, former star defensive end Antoine Carter, was not drafted into the NFL after playing a big role in the 2010 championship run. Roberts quoted Carter in her report as saying that Chizik’s influence kept NFL scouts lukewarm on his talent: “The coaches had a lot of say-so with scouts,” says Carter. “Chizik didn’t like anyone who didn’t fit a certain image.”

Carter’s response to Roberts’ report was succinct.

Former Tigers star and current Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Neiko Thorpe was quoted by Roberts as saying, “Auburn does what Auburn wants”.

Another former defensive end, Mike Blanc, was quoted by Roberts as saying that the payments made to former players could reach “thousands of dollars”. Like Carter and Thorpe, Blanc immediately refuted any claims of the sort.

Blanc, unlike his teammates, have taken things one step further. When AL.com called all three players, Blanc was the only one to immediately respond.

“Yeah. Me, personally, I don’t have any direct knowledge of it,” Blanc said. “You just hear stuff. I’m pretty sure other guys on the team that know more, like guys that were closer to Darvin and these other players I know. Darvin probably would have told those guys. I know Mike and Darvin were really cool. Maybe Darvin could have shared some information with Mike. But, me, personally, I don’t know nothing factual that any guys got any money.”

Basically, at this point in time it’s hard to gauge the accuracy of Roberts’ report, especially with three players now refuting her words.

Stay tuned here, we will keep you updated as new information surfaces.

MORE AUBURN: Fans react to the news of alleged bribery on the part of Gene Chizik

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