On a day that included an admittance in writing by the state's most worthless, biased media hack that the Cam Newton investigation was still ongoing, multiple reports have emerged that NCAA investigators have descended upon Thibodaux, Louisiana to interview several individuals involved in the recruitments of Greg Robinson and Trovon Reed, including Robinson himself, Robinson's mother, former Thibodaux head coach Dennis Lorio, and longtime RBR reader Sean Nelson.
The first report came down earlier this afternoon from the website SportsbyBrooks. Money quotes:
Monday NCAA investigators descended on Thibodaux, Louisiana, to meet individually with Auburn football recruit Greg Robinson, Robinson’s mother Lydia, Robinson associate Sean Nelson and Robinson’s former Thibodaux High School Coach Dennis Lorio.
During the meeting Lorio was asked by an NCAA investigator about Auburn’s recruitment of former Thibodaux high school players Trovon Reed and Robinson. More specificially, Lorio was asked about the role Nelson played in the recruitment of both players and the nature of Nelson’s relationship with the Auburn coaching staff.
Also discussed between Lorio and an NCAA investigator was numerous trips Nelson took to Auburn with Reed and Robinson, and an iPhone that Robinson allegedly acquired following a trip to Auburn.
Shortly thereafter the publishing of that report by SportsbyBrooks, Thayer Evans of Fox Sports published a report with many of the same
Dennis Lorio, Thibodaux High's former coach, said he was interviewed for 45 minutes by one of two NCAA investigators who visited him Monday. Robinson was also interviewed by an NCAA investigator for "a couple of hours" and Robinson’s mother was also interviewed, according to Lorio.
Lorio said one person told him Nelson was interviewed by NCAA investigators and that another person was unsure if it happened. Nelson, who claims to be Reed’s guardian and operates a non-profit mentoring program called Total Package, declined to tell FOXSports.com on Wednesday whether he had been interviewed by the NCAA.
"Why you calling me? Unless you’re calling to apologize, don’t call my phone no more," Nelson said before hanging up.
In other words, a mere twelve days after Robinson signed with Auburn, NCAA investigators showed up to interview practically every major player involved in his recruitment. What could go wrong?
As an additional point, I'll add that if the NCAA interviewed these four, it's probably only a matter of time until they interview Trooper Taylor and Jeff Grimes as well -- and perhaps at some point Curtis Luper, who was involved in the recruitment of Trovon Reed -- considering that they were the two main recruiters at Auburn for Robinson. After all, it probably wouldn't make a great deal of sense to interview everyone involved in Thibodaux but not interview coaches who may have known about any wrongdoing that may have taken place. For what it's worth, Auburn AD Jay Jacobs did not return phone calls earlier today, and Auburn did not respond to a request to speak with Taylor, though in all fairness they are most likely not at liberty to say much, if anything, about an ongoing investigation.
In any event, I continue to be amazed at the sheer stupidity on display here. Even considering that 17-year old kids can be a bit naive and irrational, who in the hell goes around publicly bragging about illicit benefits they received? Moreover, with Nelson, this whole melodrama should have been a complete non-story had he used any common sense whatsoever when choosing to speak with Thayer Evans several weeks back. He could have just not said anything, or if he insisted on talking, merely said that he was close to Reed, that he took on a bigger role when his mother passed away, that Reed chose of his own volition to go to Auburn, and that Robinson began to be interested in Auburn given his ties to Reed and their obvious offers for early playing time.
If he does either one of those two things, this is probably blown over publicly by now, but instead he chose to spew of bunch of dumb, easily refutable lies -- I'm a big LSU fan, I'm Reed's legal guardian, I just know Robinson through my non-profit mentoring organization, etc. -- that only made his involvement look even more sinister than it initially appeared. Again, this whole thing should have been a complete non-story in the national media, but sheer stupidity fueled the proverbial fires and kept it all alive.
One way or the other, between the ongoing Cam Newton investigation and this investigation into the recruitment of Greg Robinson, the scrutiny surrounding the Auburn football program looks greater than ever. Given this, I'll reiterate my assertion from several months back: Auburn had better be as clean and as pure as the Virgin Mary, and failing that as smart as Stephen Hawking to cover their transgressions.