As if this season couldn't get any worse, Yahoo! Sports columnist Pat Forde reports Wednesday that the NCAA is looking into Auburn's recruiting practices.
According to multiple sources, NCAA investigators have spent weeks looking into 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.
There have been rumors of a possible NCAA investigation floating around this season, but those have mostly come from noted oddsmaker/liar Danny Sheridan and have been resoundingly dismissed. But with the report coming from Forde, the rumors should be given more credence. Forde is relying on sources, but after the journalistic debacle regarding the Cam Newton investigation in 2010, it's unlikely that Forde would run with something unless he believed his sources were air tight. That being said, it would be much more worrying if his Yahoo! colleague Charles Robinson had this report.
According to Forde's sources, assistant coaches Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper were pulled off the trail earlier this year due to the investigation.
Both Taylor and Luper were taken off the road recruiting several weeks ago amid the NCAA probe, sources said.
Al.com beat writer Joel A. Erickson reported on Oct. 31 that Taylor and Luper would neither confirm nor deny that they had been pulled from recruiting. The two have long been at the heart of speculation, with many fans -- and some journalists -- openly wondering just how dirty they may be.
According to Forde, running back Jovon Robinson, who was found to have a forged high school transcript and ruled academically ineligible before the season, is one focus of the investigation, but that it is more widespread than just the former commit out of Memphis.
In addition to the academic issues involving Robinson, sources told Yahoo! Sports the NCAA has investigated whether a Wooddale P.E. teacher, Rhonda Wilkinson, provided impermissible benefits to the player during his recruitment, including transportation to the Auburn campus on at least one occasion. Wilkinson is an Auburn graduate and fan - her vehicle and home are extensively decorated with Auburn memorabilia.
Who knows what may be accurate, and if there is an investigation, what may come of it. Either way, the worst football season at Auburn in recent memory just continues to get worse.