The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported Wednesday that NCAA investigators have interviewed at least one assistant coach and several players this week as the Tigers prepare for their season finale Saturday against No. 2 Alabama.
The newspaper, citing an unidentified source, reported the investigation included but is not limited to the signing of running back Jovon Robinson, who was ruled ineligible amid allegations of academic improprieties. The report said Auburn, which was hit with then-unprecedented sanctions after a 1993 recruiting scandal, has not received an official letter of inquiry from the NCAA.
Yahoo! Sports reported Wednesday that the NCAA has been investigating potential wrongdoing involving Auburn recruits, players, coaches and others. That report says assistants Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper haven’t been allowed to recruit for several weeks.
The Yahoo report said the NCAA has investigated whether Rhonda Wilkinson, a physical education teacher at Wooddale High School in Memphis, Tenn., provided impermissible benefits to Robinson during his recruitment, including transportation to Auburn at least once. Wilkinson, an Auburn graduate, declined comment for that story.
Auburn spokesman Kirk Sampson said the school had no comment on the reports.
EX-USC ASSISTANT CAN PROCEED WITH LAWSUIT
A Los Angeles judge says the NCAA was “malicious” in its investigation of a former USC assistant coach who was linked in a report to a 2010 scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush.
Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller says the NCAA’s report on ethical breaches by Todd McNair was flawed and that the former coach has shown a probability he can win his defamation claims.
The NCAA had sought to have the case dismissed, but Shaller disagreed Wednesday. He called actions of investigators “over the top.”
McNair sued the NCAA in June 2011.
The playoff system will be televised on ESPN for 12 years once it starts after the 2014 season, the network said. The title game will be played on a Monday, at least a week after the semifinals, and the deal is worth about $470 million a year. ESPN’s current four-year contract to air the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls along with the BCS title game is worth about $125 million per year. … Duke has agreed to a contract extension with fifth-year coach David Cutcliffe, who has the Blue Devils (6-5) bowl eligible for the first time in nearly two decades. The deal runs through 2019. … University at Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn has agreed in principal to a five-year contract extension that locks him up through 2017. Quinn is 4-7 this season, after going 5-19 his previous two years.