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It’s Time for Auburn to Go on the Offensive

Auburn officials need a public relations makeover more than any program in the country. I've got a suggestion: How about opening the doors to Saturday scrimmages at Jordan-Hare Stadium?

After weeks of reading about armed robbery, disorderly conduct and alleged pay-for-play schemes, it would be nice to watch some action on the field - you know, kind of get our minds off the meltdown.

While the Auburn Athletic Department continues to take more incoming hits than Colonel Gaddafi, the defending champs continue to practice in silence. I hear there's a pretty good quarterback race, though I can't confirm.

During these weekend events that still manage to put hundreds in the seats at Jordan-Hare despite the lockout, media members are placed in a holding room in the bowels of the stadium. I'm serious. Yet the athletic department continues to complain about negative coverage.

I wonder why?

Let's do away with closed scrimmages. It's ok during the season; but in early April, does it really matter? Is Auburn secretly installing the wishbone offense? It's time to use some common sense...

Now that fans have had several days to digest the HBO Real Sports segment from last week, the question is, what does it all mean? How about a big fat NOTHING?

There's no arguing the allegations by former players hurt the image of the program. But after months of having its ass kicked up one side the internet and down the other, is there really much left to damage?

You basically witnessed four guys who left Auburn on bad terms whine about being mistreated and then say they were paid illegal benefits by boosters they cannot identify by name. That's a good one.

The NCAA can investigate until the end of time. Good luck on uncovering those cash payments. It's hard to track down something that never existed. The real losers are the four clowns who had their 15 minutes of fame and woke up this morning alienated from the Auburn program forever. Ask Eric Ramsey how that's working out for him.

Stanley McClover lost the most as a result of Wednesday night. A guy who had one of the most magical days in Iron Bowl history can no longer show his face on the campus that made him famous. Now that's sad and pathetic all at the same time.

It's doubtful any sanctions will come from last week's television program. The characters are less than believable and when you can't put names with money handshakes, then you really have credibility issues. Damn those sneaky boosters!

What Auburn does face is a real public relations issue. The Real Sports program may have been unfair. Those guys involved in the armed robbery certainly didn't represent what Gene Chizik has worked so hard to build. Cam Newton by all accounts, truly knew nothing of his father's antics.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, perception is every bit as important as reality in the world of college athletics. It's like that with anything in life.

It's time for Auburn to act. It's time to spend money and bring in professionals who know how to go on the attack and defend Auburn so these things don't happen. It's time to bring in skilled media professionals who can protect the Auburn brand.

Auburn is too good to let outsiders break it down. School officials can either blame others or do something about it. Now is the time to act.