Just when you thought the shirtless wonders at Tennessee had cornered the market on the self-reported secondary recruiting violation, along comes G-Chiz to mount a challenge. And if you’re asking, “Isn’t this getting a little silly?”, the answer is … uh, yeah.
Background: Under the guidance of the boy wizard Lane Kiffin and his spiritual adviser Ed Orgeron, the Volunteers have reported four — count ‘em — “secondary recruiting violations” for sins ranging from the improper use of a fog machine to an overzealous Twitter Tweet. Not to be outdone, Auburn and Gene Chizik and his Limo Kings have apparently joined the fray.
Auburn hosted a group of rising seniors for what was known as Big Cat weekend. Amazingly enough, Big Cat weekend made big news in the loveliest village. According to Charles Goldberg of Al.com, the recruits wound up on Toomer’s Corner, where gleeful townspeople broke out the ceremonial toilet paper, which generally only happens after the Tigers win a big game, which they used to do periodically.
From Goldberg’s report: “Auburn athletic officials spent Monday reviewing last week’s Big Cat recruiting weekend to determine if any secondary rules violation may have occurred surrounding the traditional rolling of Toomer’s Corner, an event attended by visiting high school football players.”
See, you’re not supposed to publicize recruiting visits. (Every school winks at this one, but it’s a rule.) As Marcus Lattimore, a running back from South Carolina considered the nation’s No. 1 recruit, told Bryan McLaughlin of Sporting News Today: “Somehow it got out that we were all there.” Somehow?
From Andrew Gribble’s exhaustively detailed report in the Opelika-Auburn News: “Three Auburn recruiting-themed Web sites had information regarding the event posted on message boards sometime Saturday afternoon. Niffer’s Place, 1151 Opelika Rd., also publicized the gathering on its marquee.” Indeed, as Gribble notes, at least seven police officers “were called to the scene for a ’special assignment.’ ”
Even if Auburn does find itself guilty of — cough, cough — a “secondary violation” or two, there won’t be a penalty. The NCAA will just tell the school to try not to mess up again. But messing up and saying you’re sorry is now just another way of SEC life, and not necessarily an unprofitable way. (And Georgia is by no means immune: It just self-reported three secondary violations involving the football program.)
Example: Lattimore has just narrowed his field of prospective collegiate destinations to eight, according to McLaughlin, and guess which school made the cut. As Lattimore told SNT: “We definitely felt the love from Auburn.”
Imagine that. Or, better still, just watch this video.