Auburn AD Jay Jacobs on Roopstigo accusations including academic fraud: ‘article is clearly flawed’

The war between Auburn and writer Selena Roberts, who wrote a scathing report on the Tigers earlier this month making claims that included grade fixing involving the 2010 national championship team, escalated even further when athletic director Jay Jacobs weighed in.

In a letter posted on Auburn's athletics website, Jacobs throws water on many claims in the report, saying there were "numerous inaccuracies and misrepresentations in the story."

This is a more interesting rebuttal than athletes saying they were misquoted after the fact, as long as Auburn's facts disputing Roberts' claims are accurate.

The letter from Jacobs says the claim that nine players had grades changed to make them eligible for the BCS Championship Game at the end of the 2010 season are false; he says six players were ineligible and left home. The specific claim that running back Michael Dyer was going to be ineligible, then his grades were changed, is also disputed, with Jacobs saying Dyer passed 15 hours with a 2.8 grade-point average.

The letter from Jacobs also says Mike McNeil's grade change in a computer class happened for documented medical reasons and institutional policies were followed. Another claim that McNeil claimed to have received $500 to entertain Dre Kirkpatrick on an official visit is disputed, because Auburn said Kirkpatrick never even took an official visit to the school.

There is an attached PDF to the letter that disputes 11 facts in the story, from players not being able to wear dreadlocks to how many athletes failed drug tests to McNeil not being read his Miranda rights when he was arrested. Here's a link to that PDF.

"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," Jacobs wrote.

"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."

Also interesting is how Jacobs defended the honor of coach Gene Chizik, who was fired after a 3-9 season.

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