Posted by Tom Fornelli
As Auburn head coach Gene Chizik recently found out in Destin, Florida after a rather testy exchange with NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Julie Roe Lach, the NCAA's investigation into Auburn is not over. More specifically, Chizik will "know when we're finished, and we're not finished." Now according to a report from outkickthecoverage.com, we know that the NCAA was in Montgomery asking questions as recently as last month.
According to the report, NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes was in Montgomery interviewing a businessman with ties to the school.
As part of the latest round of investigation in Montgomery, Thurnes conducted interviews with Montgomery businessmen with relationships to Auburn University. Reached for comment by outkickthecoverage.com multiple individuals who spoke with Thurnes declined comment. Those interviews dealt with the NCAA's continuing probe of Cam Newton, but also focused on allegations levied on HBO's Real Sports by former Auburn player Stanley McClover. McClover told HBO that he'd been paid to play football for Auburn. The NCAA investigating McClover's claims is interesting because typically the NCAA statute of limitations on collegiate wrongdoing is four years. McClover last played at Auburn in January of 2006, but the NCAA reserves the right to expand the statute of limitations if there is a connection or pattern of wrongdoing.
Here's our original story on Stanley McClover.
One allegation that Thurnes is reportedly looking into has to do with the suit Cam Newton wore to the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
One such individual, Thomas Buckelew, a tailor at Buckelew's Clothing for Men in Montgomery, Alabama, finds himself buffeted by allegations that he provided high-priced suits to Cam Newton at reduced costs. The very suits, you guessed it, that Newton wore at the Heisman ceremony. According to sources, Newton's suits, ties included, cost in excess of $4,000 each. NCAA investigator Jackie Thurnes was informed of this allegation, and the NCAA has spent time investigating its validity.
Since providing the suits at a reduced rate, if proven, would constitute an improper benefit and hence an NCAA violation, the NCAA has to take each allegation seriously. Indeed, last week Georgia Tech's 2009 ACC title was stripped for a mere $312 in improper clothing benefits.
When contacted by outkickthecoverage.com Buckelew admitted that he knew Newton and had worked with him but then said he'd "rather not get into it" and that he hasn't talked to anyone with the NCAA about his relationship with Newton. Buckelew also went on to say that he hopes the attention on him continues because it's been "good for business."
Maybe for him, but should these allegations turn out to be true and the NCAA keeps looking around and finds more violations at Auburn, it won't be very good for business at Auburn.