By Jaboner Jackson 7 am from Jackson, Mississippi | Yesterday, the FOOTBALLPHDS laid out 2011 SEC West Predictions after hitting 2011 SEC East Predictions the day before. Today, we review the Scandals of the SEC. We are ranking the Most Scandalous SEC Schools. In our world, bad is good.
1. Auburn Tigers
Even though Heisman winning quarterback Cam Newton is gone, his tarnished legacy lives on for the Tigers. At the heart of the Auburn scandal lies a pay-to-play scandal that Rock Mayock has documented repeatedly on this website. The NCAA has yet to conclude its investigation and in fact will likely not do so during the 2011-12 season. Preliminarily, Auburn was given a slap on the wrist before the 2011 BCS Title Game, declaring that Newton was eligible to play.
But if the allegations are true (and it appears that they are), Newton’s legacy will be similar to Reggie Bush’s at University of Southern California in that after-the-fact penalties will weigh down the program. Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, allegedly petitioned payment from schools for the services of his son. The most damaging revelations will invariably come from testimony from Mississippi State officials, who first alerted the NCAA to the alleged infractions.
The trouble does not stop with the past though for Auburn. This spring, four current players were arrested and charged with robbery, burglary, and theft. Auburn thought enough of the allegations to kick these four players off of the team. While the actions by Gene Chizik were reassuring, the fact remains that there is a “lack of institutional control at Auburn”, a phrase that will eventually get thrown about the NCAA in two years when their investigation into all things shady at Auburn concludes.
Prediction: Auburn is the next USC
2. LSU Tigers
Tigers can’t change their stripes. A Tiger at Auburn and a Tiger at LSU both like scandals. The pay-for-play bug allegedly hit LSU as well in 2010. An assistant coach on Les Miles’s staff allegedly paid Akiem Hicks to play for the school. The school quickly supported Miles and imposed its own sanctions but the NCAA opened up an investigation anyway. And even though Hicks has since left the Tigers, his tarnished legacy remains.
Prediction: Some lost scholarships but nothing big. Unless LSU gets implicated in the Cam Newton mess as well…
3. Alabama Crimson Tide
I’ll be honest. I have difficulty keeping up with all the violations at ‘Bama. There was the 2007 NCAA action that implicated 201 student-athletes in a myriad of sports for something to do with textbooks and not actually taking tests and a whole bunch of stuff I’ve conveniently forgotten.
But thankfully , there’s always a new scandal just around the corner to remind me that the Tide is a bunch of rule-benders. This year, allegations of a pay-to-play scandal for the services of highly recruited linebacker Brent Calloway surfaced. Allegedly, multiple payments to Calloway for everything from a new car to mortgage payments were doled out. (Per Jeffrey Lee of rivals.com.) And there is also the case of recruit Barry Sanders, Jr., who was supposedly spotted sitting right next to Nick Saban at a home basketball game even though contact at that time was a big no-no.
I’m probably forgetting a dozen other things well. So I’ll sum things up in the NCAA’s own words: Auburn is a “serial repeat violator” with an “extensive recent history of infractions cases unmatched by any other member institution in the NCAA.”
Be strong, Nick. You can still catapult to the top of the SEC Scandalous list.
Prediction: If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.
4. Tennessee Volunteers
Lane “Lance” Kiffin left the program in shambles and oddly now is trying to clean up a program left in shambles by his mentor Pete Carroll at USC. The Vols are likely to be sanctioned for a wide variety of failure to monitor situations, including sending attractive coeds to recruit players (the “hostesses” scandal) through its Orange Pride program. Complicating matters is a series of serious recruiting violations on the basketball side, which seems to indicate a “lack of institutional control” sanction is coming from the NCAA.
Prediction: Sanctions are inevitable.
5. Georgia Bulldogs
The Dawgs self-reported violations regarding linebacker Ray Drew in March. The violations were of a secondary nature and included illegal contact before signing a letter-of-intent. This was a few days after self-reporting a separate violation with tailback Isaiah Cromwell. Unfortunately, these violations are minor. If they want to be spoken of in the same breath as the Tigers and Tide, they need to step up their cheating.
Prediction: These Dawgs want to win so it’s only a matter of time before they get some real violations going.
6. Arkansas Razorbacks
Et tu, Arkansas? It turns out there may be some secondary violations in 2010 as reported by arkansasnews.com. Ultimately, though the violations are allegedly minor. Come back, Hogs, when you have some real recruiting violations to report.
7. Ole Miss Rebels
Listen, Rebels. If you want to be taken seriously in the SEC, you must at least pay someone to play for you. Don’t waste our time with these secondary violations due to “misinterpretations” of rules. Ole Miss self-sanctioned itself and the NCAA upheld these sanctions this year when the Rebels sent out scholarship offers to prospects too early. Sorry, Rebels, but premature ejaculation is only a secondary violation.
Prediction: If you want to be a Big Boy, pay to play.
8. South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks and Steve Spurrier have been pretty clean the past few years, which is in contrast to the mess that Lou Holtz left behind. Is it a coincidence that the Gamecocks have bottom-of-the-conference talent and also bottom-of-the-conference recent violations? I think not.
Prediction: Now that the Holtz violations have been expunged, it’s time to jump back on the wagon.
9. Florida Gators
The Gators did a remarkable job under Urban Meyer to avoid major scandals but now that Meyer is gone, it’s time to ratchet up the shenanigans.
Prediction: Charlie Weiss + No Urban Meyer = Inevitable Recruiting Violations to Compete Against The SEC
10. Kentucky Wildcats
This is basketball country. Nothing to see here, either on the football field or on the NCAA ledger.
Prediction: John Calipari needs to coach the football team if the Cats want to get after some violations.
11. Vanderbilt Commodores
Yes, the ex-wife #3 was a Vandy gal, meaning that the school was, is, and always will be squeaky clean. Here’s to you, Pumpkin Doll!
Prediction: Vandy Gals make the best biscuits and have the best biscuits too.
12. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Really, Bulldogs? You actually reported a violation instead of committing it? Don’t you know this is the SEC? You’re supposed to commit infractions, not avoid them.
The Bulldogs were the clean team on the Cam Newton pay-to-play scandal and actually leaked the story to the NCAA. No wonder they lose more game than they win most years. They aren’t trying hard enough to cheat.
Prediction: If you can’t beat ‘em, turn them in to the po-po.
Tomorrow, SEC Week continues with SEC QB Prospects. On Friday, I wrap up with Cheerleaders of the SEC.