The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 22, 2013

Jacobs: Auburn review finds no evidence of fraud

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Auburn's internal review into allegations by former players of academic fraud before the 2010 BCS championship game found no evidence of wrongdoing, athletic director Jay Jacobs said on Monday.

Jacobs posted in a letter to fans on the school's Web site the results of a review by his department and the university's Internal Auditing department, which he said refuted a report by former New York Times and Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts.

Auburn worked with the NCAA in investigating the academic fraud, said Jack Smith, the athletic department's director of strategic communications.

Meanwhile, former Tigers coach Gene Chizik called the allegations "ludicrous" in an interview on WJOX radio in Birmingham.

"I'm here because I care about my reputation, I care about the integrity of who I am and what I do," Chizik said. "I'm simply giving out the facts, because I'm 100 percent confident that we did it right."

Jacobs had disputed Roberts' report in an earlier statement but said Auburn would review them.

He made a point-by-point rebuttal to a number of charges made by former players, including defensive back Mike McNeil, who pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery on April 8.

Roberts cited three players who said the team was informed that as many as nine were ineligible for the BCS championship game against Oregon in January 2011, including tailback Mike Dyer.

Jacobs said that six players were academically ineligible and none made the trip to Arizona.

Former defensive back Mike McNeil, who pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery on April 8, had alleged that he had a failing grade changed to a 'C' to make him eligible for the title game. Jacobs said the internal review found that all university policies for grade changes were followed and that McNeil provided a medical excuse for absences.

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