Auburn Football

Auburn Football: How New NCAA Investigation Will Impact Tigers' Recruiting

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 10:  Head coach Gene Chizik of the Auburn Tigers paces on the sideline during their game against the Georgia Bulldogs on November 10, 2012 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Georgia defeated Auburn 38-0 and clinched the SEC East division.  (Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images)
Michael Chang/Getty Images
Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIINovember 21, 2012

A Yahoo! Sports report has recently surfaced that claims the NCAA is investigating the Auburn Tigers program regarding potential violations.

You know what they say—when it rains, it pours, and this may very well end up being the final straw for Auburn head coach Gene Chizik. This is also going to have a tremendously negative impact on recruiting for the Tigers.

Here's an excerpt of the report, which was done by Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports:

According to multiple sources, NCAA investigators have been working for weeks on potential improprieties involving Auburn recruits, players, coaches, representatives of the school's athletic interests and third parties. Assistant coaches Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper have been scrutinized by the NCAA, sources said. Taylor is the assistant head coach and wide receivers coach, while Luper coaches running backs and is the recruiting coordinator.

 

Forde goes on to explain more about a specific situation the NCAA is looking at:

Sources told Yahoo! Sports in September that the NCAA has been investigating the recruitment of 2012 Auburn signee Jovon Robinson, whose Memphis Wooddale High School academic transcript was found to be forged and was subsequently declared ineligible in August to play this year at the school. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported in August that a guidance counselor at Wooddale admitted creating a fraudulent transcript and resigned.

 

Forde also reports that the NCAA is investigating a P.E. teacher at Wooddale High School, who may have provided "impermissible benefits" during his recruiting process, including transportation to Auburn. It's important to note that Robinson is not enrolled at Auburn this semester, and that the NCAA investigation is believed to be on more than just Robinson, per Forde's report.

This is the last thing that Auburn needed right now, and it certainly adds insult to injury considering their abysmal 3-8 season (0-7 SEC).

What does this mean for recruiting though?

For one, this could be the end in regards to Chizik's time as head coach at Auburn. He's been on the hot seat this season.  Much of that has to do with the Tigers' play on the field, but an NCAA investigation is a big deal, and considering these potential violations happened under Chizik's watch, it doesn't bode well for him.

Coaching changes generally have a negative impact on recruiting, and Auburn will risk losing players that have already committed to Chizik's 2013 classa class that's currently ranked No. 10 in the nation by Rivals.com, mind you.

Even more troublesome, though, are the potential violations, because those will stick around even if Chizik does not.

We've seen coaches leave a program while violations that took place under them stayed with the school, and if these potential violations are found to be true, Auburn is going to be in trouble.

Even if Chizik is fired, any potential ramifications or sanctions will have to be absorbed by a new head coach, and that will only serve to hinder his progress and slow down the rebuilding process.

Not only that, but if Auburn has to face sanctions or penalties, how many of their current recruits will decide to decommit and look elsewhere, and how many more recruits with Auburn near the top of their interest lists will turn away from Auburn as a potential option?

Rarely is an elite recruit going to want to play for a program under sanctions, so this could end up being devastating for Auburn if the NCAA does find these allegations to be true.

Not only will it hurt them with their current 2013 class, but it's going to set back their growth for the future.

Auburn's season has been bleak, but at least fans could point to recruiting as a beacon of hope. That hope may just be taken away if the NCAA investigation proves that Auburn did indeed violate rules.

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