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Auburn denies allegations after own audit

The SportsXchange

After an internal investigation, Auburn denied the accuracy of a report from earlier this month that accused some of its football players and coaches of academic fraud and bribery.

Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a statement released Monday that the report was in accurate and contained several misrepresentations.

"As the facts demonstrate, the article is clearly flawed," Jacobs said. "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."

Jacobs said that the university launched its own investigation because it felt the allegations were serious enough, but concluded that "many of the sources interviewed for the article criticized the reporter for misquoting or misrepresenting them as soon as the story appeared."

Three former Tigers, including Mike McNeil -- who is on trial for armed robbery -- detailed the allegations to former New York Times and Sports Illustrated columnist Selena Roberts, whose report appears on her website Roopstigo.com.

Allegations reported by Roberts included:

--Then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, now the head coach at Florida, once tried to give McNeil $400;

--McNeil said players who hosted recruits were given far more than the $50 allowed by NCAA;

--Police targeted black players and drug tested black players more often than white players;

--Grades were altered so that players who were academically ineligible could participate in the 2011 BCS championship game;

--Darvin Adams, a wide receiver, was offered thousands of dollars by the coaching staff to return for his senior season. Adams went undrafted after refusing the coaches' overtures due in part to negative reports Auburn gave NFL scouts.

A Florida spokesperson denied the payment allegation to Roberts on Muschamp's behalf.

Adams on Monday denied he was offered money to stay in school instead of entering the NFL draft.

"I was never offered any improper money by anyone at Auburn -- coach or booster," Adams said in a statement released by Russ Campbell and Patrick Strong, the attorneys of former coach Gene Chizik. "I never took any improper money from anyone at Auburn -- coach or booster. I was never offered any money by anyone to stay at Auburn for my senior year."

Jacobs also defended Chizik, who was fired after going 3-9 last season.

"One more thing needs to be said about this story, which unfairly attacked former head coach Gene Chizik," Jacobs said. "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."
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