HBO Special silences Auburn ’04 lobbyists

It’s hard to watch events unfolding in college football today and not think back to the events of a year ago. After all, it’s only been ten months since USC began the process of undressing. For one ineligible player, the Trojans were stripped of victories, a Heisman Trophy, and a BCS championship. Existing bylaws made NCAA and BCS decisions simple, though the latter didn’t come without debate. But based on information surfacing today, the BCS sticking by its written rule was not only safe, but also correct, and may prove to be far less damaging than the alternative.

HBO aired a “Real Sports” special that focused on the business of college sports and the willingness of athletes to accept improper benefits. The show featured former Auburn players admitting to cash payments in exchange for commitments and field performance, with neither going by the surname “Newton”.  Most viewers gathered before their televisions to see the uncovering of something new in a college football offseason themed of corruption. But being among the USC faithful, I tuned in with thoughts of old, resurrecting a crystal ball discussion.

The 2004 college football season ended with three undefeated teams. By process of elimination, USC was stripped of the title and perfect Utah lacked a resume strong enough to claim it. That left one program remaining for consideration, and it was the 13-0 champs from the SEC.—The Auburn Tigers.

No one lobbied more for a share of the 2004 National Championship than former Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville. When his efforts following a Sugar Bowl victory were met with silence, he began lobbying again last July, as the BCS pondered what to do with the egg formerly owned by the Trojans.

“To me it doesn’t make any sense to just vacate those championships. Somebody should win those. And the players who played by the rules deserved to be rewarded,” said Tuberville. “If you’re going to take the championships away because people didn’t play by the rules then fine. But don’t act like those championships don’t exist. That’s not fair to the kids.”-AJC

Troy Reddick and Stanley McLover appeared on the HBO special speaking of “money handshakes” and envelopes containing thousands of dollars. Both played for Tommy Tuberville at Auburn, and were members of that undefeated 2004 team.  Their confessions place a temporary muzzle on the lead Tiger’s roar, and magnifies the portion of his statement claiming “players played by the rules”.

“A team that won the national championship (USC) may lose the wins that gave it the national championship in the first place,” he said. “If you believe that they should not have that championship, how can you not reward a team that played championship football that season? “Give it Oklahoma, give it to Auburn or, shoot, give it to Utah (Urban Meyer’s team was 12-0 that season). But give it to somebody. I think it should go to Auburn because we were really good that year and we won all of our games.”–AJC

The BCS is a system constantly under fire, and the controversy surrounding its glass ceiling for mid-majors, pay-for-play champion, and corruption among its Bowl executives, does nothing to help its image. An HBO special raises questions, to which the NCAA will compile a list of people to answer. But in not succumbing to the cries of lobbyists, the BCS, in this instance, will answer to no one.  In its place, a coach most vocal over a supposed championship snub will spend the upcoming months providing answers for all comers.

[AJC] [Sports by Brooks]

~ by Anthony on March 31, 2011.

One Response to “HBO Special silences Auburn ’04 lobbyists”

  1. […] Home › NCAA Football › HBO Special silences Auburn ’04 lobbyists […]

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