Well, if one incident led to the other, in whichever order, then there had to be allegations behind the scene first. And those allegations would have had to inspire someone to do some digging. The reason I say that is because I wouldn't believe that certain officials or boosters in the know would simply sit on dirt that they had on the other school...holding it as a chip in the event that the other struck first. I think people from either side would be more than happy to strike first if they had something. Coincidence? Maybe. I don't see anyone on either side holding back waiting for the other guy to report something though.
What a strange coincidence. What odd timing. What a bizarre jump from one “scandal” to the another.
On Tuesday of last week, defensive line prospect Darius Paige switched high schools. Immediately, an assistant at the high school left behind came forward to suggest that Alabama assistant coach Jeremy Pruitt had instructed Paige to make the move… because his new school could “take care of him academically.”
For the next couple of days, different views were tossed about. The most prevalent? That Foley High School offered more potential credit hours than Washington High School could, which meant Paige would have had legitimate reasons to transfer. Regardless, Washington High’s athletic director reported the matter to both the Alabama High School Athletic Association and to the NCAA.
Ah, but by Friday, a new scandal was making headlines. One with — seemingly — more meat on the bone than the previous one. Only this one had to do with an Auburn signee. On Friday, it was reported that a Wooddale High School guidance counselor had admitted to creating a false transcript for Tiger freshman running back Jovon Robinson. The guidance counselor resigned from the Memphis school as a result. Auburn has pulled Robinson from practice pending the investigation.
But here’s the fun part according to The Memphis Commercial-Appeal: “The statement (from Memphis City Schools) said the city was contacted by an NCAA representative on Tuesday afternoon regarding the allegation of a falsified transcript and that Supt. Kriner Cash assigned staff to investigate it.”
Tuesday, huh? Same day as the Paige’s transfer and his ex-coach’s comments.
So was this all just coincidental timing? Pure happenstance?
Maybe. Or maybe this was just the latest in an ongoing tit-for-tat battle between Tide and Tiger fans.
With apologies to Sean Connery in “The Untouchables” — “You tell the NCAA one of mine is getting academic help, I’ll tell the NCAA one of yours definitely got academic help. That’s the Yellowhammer State way.”
Now, it’s likely that the NCAA did not just hear of the accusations about Robinson’s transcript on Tuesday and decide to call on that very same day. Heck, it would be an awfully quick turnaround from the coach in the Paige case going public with his Bama concerns to the allegations in the Robinson case reaching the NCAA.
But is it really far-fetched to think that someone with Alabama ties — angry that a high school coach claimed UA was bending rules — could have responded by raising a crimson red flag regarding an Auburn signee? Whether that’s what really happened or not… no, it’s not far-fetched to expect that kind of thing to happen in the Iron Bowl rivalry. Not at all.