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Auburn Takes Hit On Big Cat Weekend

Apparently last May's Big Cat Weekend was a bigger violation than originally thought. Auburn officials revealed last night that working alongside the SEC office, the school self-imposed recruiting restrictions on its coaches for much of the fall as a result of a secondary NCAA violation.

Auburn was required to halt contact with at least six recruits for much of the fall as part of its punishment. Wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor was banned from off-campus recruiting through the end of November. The rule violation centers around Auburn holding a staged pep rally at Toomer's Corner as part of the weekend's festivities. Taylor played a key role in the planning and staging of the event.

Auburn turned itself in to the conference and offered a reduction of eight official recruiting visits and a letter of reprimand for Taylor. Commissioner Mike Slive felt the measures didn't go far enough and imposed more.

According to Evan Woodbery of the Mobile Press Register, the commissioner, "barred Auburn from contacting six recruits who were present at Toomer's Corner for six weeks, through Sept. 15. Further, a member of Auburn's coaching staff was required to call each of the six recruits -- Jessel Curry, Khairi Fortt, Marcus Lattimore, Eric Mack, Trovon Reed and Lache Seastrunk -- and read a specific, six-sentence statement that said the prospects should "disregard the Toomer's Corner activities when deciding upon the University you will eventually attend.

"Slive also said that Auburn should bar Taylor, one of the team's top recruiters, from any off-campus recruiting until Nov. 30, and that all six of the staff members present at Toomer's Corner should receive a reprimand. Those six coaches are Taylor, offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, running backs coach Curtis Luper, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jay Boulware, offensive line coach Jeff Grimes and safeties coach Tommy Thigpen."

Auburn coach Gene Chizik eventually made the calls to the recruits to read the statement. Auburn issued a statement from Chizik Thursday night that read...

"We unintentionally committed a secondary violation and have cooperated fully with the Southeastern Conference and NCAA, and are moving forward. We're pleased about the foundation that we are setting for this program and are excited for our upcoming bowl game. We will continue to work hard on the recruiting trail to recruit top-notch student-athletes that best fit our needs at Auburn."