Auburn disputes grade-manipulation allegation

April 22, 2013 at 12:29 PM
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AUBURN, Ala., April 22 (UPI) -- Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said an internal investigation didn't uncover indications of alleged academic fraud by the 2011 BCS champion football team.

Jacobs issued a letter Monday in response to a report on by reporter Selena Roberts that said nine Auburn football players had grades changed so they would be eligible for the Bowl Championship Series title game against Oregon.

Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19 on Jan. 10, 2011, to complete a 13-0 season and win the BCS national championship.

Roberts wrote that former Auburn cornerback Mike McNeil said an academic counselor was able to have a player's grade changed from an F, which was given because the player missed too many classes, to a C.

Jacobs said the grade was changed but for legitimate reasons, including absences for medical reasons.

"The independent review by Auburn University Internal Auditing showed that all institutional policies regarding grade changes for excused absences were followed," Jacobs said.

McNeil, who was dismissed from the Auburn football team after he allegedly took part in an armed robbery in 2011, was quoted by Roberts as saying he was given $400 by an assistant coach after a tough day at practice in 2007 and $500 to entertain a recruit.

The assistant coach denied the allegation and Jacobs said the recruit in question never visited Auburn.

"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."

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