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The only interesting thing about DJ Fluker's Twitter feed producing an admission of taking money from agents is the reaction from Alabama fans contrasted with the reaction of Auburn fans.

Auburn, one of the most sanctioned division one football programs ever with seven major violation cases, the only program we know of whose head coach was caught on tape offering cash money to a recruit, a program who had a coach leave under cover of night, a school that recruited Charles Barkley with "titties," (per one Charles Barkley,) a football team that most agree totally had Cam Newton's dad paid for his son's services, a program that has for the better part of its history has lived with a siege mentality and pirate tactics across the board, this program...

...This is the program that actually wants you to respect them, or something like it, and has conducted internal investigations using influential members of the Waffle House family or something, and totally not laugh about the fact they've cheated as hard or harder under the insane rules of college football as any program ever, and have done so poorly and shambolically all in the name of keeping pace with the evil empire to the north.

No one will listen to this, because indeed no one really cares, particularly when a coach goes on the radio to brag about "doing things the right way" when he was paying a private security firm to check on his players as recently as November of 2012. No one should listen, either. The reputation Auburn wants to protect never existed in the first place anywhere, and certainly won't come into being with the injection of even more television money into the college football black market.

Now please contrast this with Alabama. Alabama fans see this--or any other hint that their highly successful football program might be giving players something above and beyond the stated dollar amount--is silence mixed with perhaps a few "hey, I bet that was hacked, and, um, look over there." Alabama fans do not protest the violation of the program's innocence. They do not stand up for olde Tuscaloosa, or for the sainted student-athlete you just slandered, or for the coach they just fired.

No, they're throwing that coach in a trash compactor for winning eight games, and not giving a five-assed rat what you think about the program. There are no illusions about what the University of Alabama and its relationship to the football program are. Catch them on the down stroke, and prove it, and Alabama fans still won't care because Alabama is the professional football team of the state, and would be happy to set up an open payroll the minute they NCAA falls to splinters. This is Alabama, forever: It's not cheating until you catch us on the down stroke.

The worst part is that you could be having so much more fun with this, Auburn. Shambolic cheating is one thing, but you've attracted equally inept opponents. (See: Selena Roberts, the NCAA, etc.) You could be making the case that doing the right thing--paying players, for instance--requires doing something against the rules. You could just dare the world to find anything, go about your business, and go on doing what you've been doing anyway, but without the trouble of paying lip service.

You could just own the pirate reputation, fly the skull-and-bones, and pillage until the very temporary end comes. One of these is significantly more entertaining than the other, and with results not too dissimilar than what you've been doing already. Own it before it owns you. The worst that could happen is that people would think you were another Southern school bending the rules in the name of football and the demented ambitions of a few arsenic-treated plywood millionaires with too much cash and free time on their hands.

Rephrased: they would think exactly what they do now no matter what you say. Just be the SEC's charming, Ponzi-scheming uncle with a few ex-wives and bankruptcies under their belt. You're so much more fun that way.


Someone whose team never beat Brandon Goddamn Cox, and whose team once paid players using fake jobs at a chicken plant a few miles outside of town, and who also happens to love going to Auburn, but really wishes you would come out of the bunker and letting Jay Jacobs talk about THA FAMILY HURRRR. The Medicis were a family, too.

P.S. This is college football. There is no right way of doing things, only laughable and varying shades of wrongness.

P.P.S. Kentucky is the weird alcoholic shut-in aunt who has a vivid and active fantasy life online. She plays a game called "Basketball," and is a level 99 mage in it.