Message from a fellow Auburn man

The following was posted by a fellow Auburn man, Cole Cunningham.  I spent over an hour one night preparing my soapbox moment about the “situation” on the Plains, but somehow the entire message was lost while posting.  Enter Cole.  I could not have said it better myself.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Auburn Investigation

The New York Times might have just passed FIFA World Cup Referees for the top spot on my hate list. I know I’m an Auburn fan, and I’m bias, but let me just make one point about this matter.

The one-on-one coursework an Auburn professor provided to dozens of students, including a number of football players during the Tigers’ unbeaten 2004 season, is typically granted only under special circumstances, a professor said. “A student may need a class for graduation that may not be offered at a time that fits into their schedule,” Auburn sociology professor Paul Starr told the Opelika-Auburn News in a story Friday. “So if the professor agrees, they can meet with the student on an individual basis and assign work and reading. Dr. Thomas Petee offered the directed-reading format to 250 students in 2004-2005, including 18 members of the 2004 football team, along with other athletes, according to a report in Friday’s New York Times. Two players who took the courses under Petee, tailback Carnell Williams and defensive end Doug Langenfeld, said they did nothing wrong and didn’t get special treatment. Williams took two courses during the spring of his senior year in 2005 while spending much of his time on the road meeting with NFL teams. He had already completed his playing career at the time.

“I didn’t do nothing illegal or anything like that,” Williams, now a tailback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told the Times. “My work was good. It was definitely real work.” (

This all began from complaints by professor James Gundlach, the director of the Auburn sociology department who reports to Petee.

“I didn’t think it was appropriate for him to take over teaching the sociology major entirely on his own in a directed-reading format. It was an insult to me and what I do,” Gundlach said. (

Now, here’s my point. I remember a Heisman winning quarterback named Matt Leinart taking a Ballroom Dancing course to remain eligible for his final season at USC. In my view, if he can take one joke class to play football, then surely any other student athlete can take a one-on-one directed-reading course offered by a professor. I believe The New York Times is far out of line in blowing this event out of proportion. 

Please feel free to comment.

Well said Cole.  Thank you and WAR EAGLE!

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