Auburn Rivals Publisher Jeffrey Lee Accuses Pay-for-Play in Brent Calloway's Recruitment (Updated)

I don't follow recruiting all that closely, but even I heard about the saga of Brent Calloway.

He was a four-star linebacker from Russellville, Alabama who had been committed to Alabama for a long time leading up to signing day. Around the time of national title game, he switched his commitment to Auburn. His adopted father Harland Winston went to the media to publicly disagree with Calloway's choice shortly after that, and the vitriol spewed at him from the lunatic fringe of the Bama fan base was incredible. He fled his hometown leading up to signing day, missing a couple days of school and a basketball game, before changing his mind back and signing with Alabama.

That much we know as fact. Here's where the publisher of AuburnSports.com, a Rivals affiliate, comes in.

Jeffrey Lee went on Mobile radio station WNSP this morning (Morning Sports Center hour two, around the 50-minute mark) to level an accusation of foul play in Calloway's recruitment. He says his sources tell him that the person who took Calloway out of state right before signing day was a person "very involved with the athletics department there... Just a big fan who's really involved, I guess you could say." He also says that "allegations are out there" that this mystery person gave cash to Winston.

I was careful to capture the "allegations are out there" quote because Lee himself is not making the claim that Winston got money. He's pointing out that others are saying that, which is a classic CYA move. Lee also said that several people are looking into the matter and will make some kind of evidence public soon, but there's not likely going to be a paper trail due to the cash-only nature of the allegation. He even compared it directly to the accusations of Stanley McClover against Auburn on HBO's Real Sports program in that way.

If it wasn't for the power of the Rivals.com name and the fact this got on the radio (or the fact that Calloway's recruitment was so weird), I wouldn't be reporting this here. In fact, I'm very curious as to why Lee hasn't written an article about this on his site yet. Nevertheless, it's further proof that this offseason is the offseason of scandal.

It also tells me that if people aren't careful, we might be headed for a full scale civil war in the state of Alabama.

UPDATE 4/8

Lee was scheduled to appear on the Mobile station again this morning, but he didn't show. Brooks of SPORTSbyBROOKS published this statement that came from Lee today:

Due to an enormous amount of additional information AuburnSports.com has received in the last 24 hours, we are not planning any updates today as we sort through the details. I will not be conducting any interviews including the one previously scheduled with WNSP in Mobile. We firmly stand behind our sources on this, and want to thank our members for your understanding and patience as this story continues to develop

This is just me speculating, but I can't help but think that some of that additional information came from a lawyer or twelve.

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