Posted by Tom Fornelli
Another day, another NCAA investigation of Auburn.
This time the NCAA is interested in Auburn's "Tiger Prowl." A practice that has since been ended, the Tiger Prowl started in 2009 as a way for Auburn coaches to get the school's name out there to high school football players across the state of Alabama. The coaches cruised around to various high schools during the spring evaluation period in stretch limo Hummer that first year, and ended up with a class that was ranked near the top nationally by just about every recruiting service. In fact, it was so successful, that in 2010 Auburn decided to ditch the Hummers and roll out in giant buses with Auburn-related images painted on the sides.
Seriously, it's getting to the point where I'm beginning to wonder whether or not the NCAA should just open an office on the Auburn campus for the sake of convenience. If this is the kind of attention that winning a national championship brings, then maybe those 9-3 seasons aren't so terrible after all.
The Tiger Prowl grabbed a lot of attention for Auburn, but unfortunately it also caught the eyes of the NCAA which now wants to know if the Tigers violated any rules while touring the state.
The Birmingham News made an open-records request to Auburn seeking documents related to any individual NCAA violations from last year's Tiger Prowl, the attention-grabbing recruiting practice that Auburn coaches used while traveling the state. Auburn denied the request, saying that Tiger Prowl is the subject of a "pending investigation" and that Alabama law therefore does not require release of the records at this time.
"The NCAA is not reviewing Tiger Prowl as individual violations. They are reviewing the entire event as a whole," Auburn Senior Associate Athletics Director Scott Carr wrote in response to The News' request. "Therefore, the investigative phase of this event is still on-going and we are currently working with the NCAA."
Auburn did not say what the NCAA is investigating in relation to Tiger Prowl. Auburn declined to comment further.
What could the NCAA possibly be looking for? Well, I don't think Auburn coaches were throwing money out the windows as they drove by, so odds are any violations found won't be major ones. Instead the NCAA is likely looking for more minor violations like Auburn allowing potential recruits on the bus or in the limos. There is also the "bump rule" the NCAA passed which basically says the only thing a coach can say to a player during the evaluation period is "hello." There is to be no talk of attending that coach's school, or whether or not the school in interested.
Really, in my opinion, this is nothing more than the NCAA trying to look under any rock that may be on the Auburn campus as they investigate other areas of the school's recruiting practices. While you're in town, you may as well be thorough.
Image via The Birmingham News