Danny Sheridan—"sports analyst" for USA Today and apparent expert on everything related to Auburn and the NCAA—has made another sweeping declaration on what appears to be imminent doom for the Auburn football program.
It's not about the coaching situation, Auburn's 1-7 record or its inability to get anything going on offense.
No, that'd be too easy.
Sheridan went "old school" after his speech at the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Quarterback Club saying that two Auburn assistant coaches have been pulled off the road, according to AL.com.
Based on what I've heard, the NCAA is looking at their program. I'll say that on the record. I will quickly say, I hope they are exonerated. But if it's true that they've taken two of their coaches off the road, that generally speaking is not a good sign. Usually when you take a coach off the road, it's an effort to placate the NCAA.
This coming from the man who said that he knew the name of the "bag man" that he alleged paid the father of former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to come to Auburn before the 2010 season. The same man that went on the radio on the Paul Finebaum Radio Network to release the name of the alleged bag man and then hid behind his lawyers when nothing came of his allegations.
That little incident led the NCAA—an organization within which he claims to have multiple sources—to issue a statement refuting his claims and stating that Sheridan instead used the meeting as an attempt to gather his own information.
In October 2011, the NCAA cleared Auburn of any wrongdoing in Newton's case, in addition to several other incidents it was investigating involving the Auburn football program.
Hasn't Sheridan learned his lesson?
This rumor is nothing new. I was asked about it on October 23 on my weekly radio appearance on Head To Head Radio in Mississippi.
My response then is the same as it is now. If assistant coaches were taken off the road, that is not something that is easy to hide.
Recruiting slows down during the evaluation period, but coaches still have contact with uncommitted recruits—many of whom have no loyalty to the program. If something was out of the ordinary, a recruit would probably say something.
Does that mean that Sheridan's wrong?
No. Sometimes message board rumors turn out to be true.
But just because Sheridan mentioned it at a Tuscaloosa Quarterback Club doesn't give the rumor legs. Based on recent history, it actually makes it less believable.
Based on this season's results, if Auburn is cheating, it's doing it wrong.