HOOVER, Ala. — In anticipation of Raashan Evans' potential commitment on national signing last February, Auburn's athletics department created a bio and statistics page of the five-star linebacker. It was hidden from public view, yet it leaked, anyway.
Evans went on to sign with Auburn's arch-rival, Alabama. Once the bio leaked, it was picked up by ESPN and other media outlets. Auburn deemed the publicity constituted "comments before commitment" and self-reported itself in violation of NCAA Bylaw 22.214.171.124.
The school blamed the media — in a general sense instead of naming a specific outlet — for hacking into its website and spreading the leaked page.
"The bios were 'hidden' in code on (redacted), but were not posted until the individual signed," Auburn's report of the incident reads. " ... Media personnel were able to hack into the site and 'find' the code to pull up the bio. The bio for (redacted) was then publicized on media sites."
What's not mentioned in the report is that anyone who typed in the correct URL would be able to access the page, not just media members.
Still, the school admitted the leaked bio was "an embarrassment to the athletics department, particularly the media relations staff." The report goes on to state how Auburn plans to prevent a similar situation from occurring again.
"(The school) will work harder to 'hide' the information in code, so that future successful hacking attempts do not result in violations."
Since Evans signed with Alabama, Auburn noted in the report that it did not believe any further penalties were "warranted."
Other notable self-reported violations include:
- A pair of violations centered around then-junior college forward Cinmeon Bowers, who is now part of the Tigers' basketball team. On April 12, he was on his official visit to Auburn. During his visit, he ended up shooting with Chuck Person, later tweeting from his personal Twitter account, "Just Beat Chuck Persons (sic) In A Shooting Game I’m The New Rifle Man Lol."
Just Beat Chuck Persons In A Shooting Game .. I'm The New Rifle Man Lol— 6 FOOT 7 Gorilla (@CinmeonBowers5) April 12, 2014
The shooting contest itself was one violation, which goes against the NCAA Bylaw 126.96.36.199, which prohibits prospective student-athletes from taking part in any competition with a member of the host institution. The second violation stemmed from the first, as two assistant basketball coaches retweeted Bowers' tweet, which constituted a breach of NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52 prohibiting electronic correspondence with a prospect.
Since the student-athletes repaid what they owed, they were reinstated immediately instead of having to go through the reinstatement process.
The individual who paid for their meals was never identified.
All 23 pages of the self-reported secondary violations can be accessed by clicking the PDF file attached to this article.