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Updkye Apologizes On Finebaum Show… To Alabama

Alleged tree-poisoner and alleged assault victim Harvey Updyke made an appearance on the Paul Finebaum radio show yesterday afternoon.  With his attorney in the studio with the host, Updyke phoned in and answered questions about his initial call to Finebaum, his alleged involvement in the poisoning of Auburn’s oaks at Toomer’s Corner, and the attack he alleges befell him on Wednesday.

On the show, Updyke admitted to being “Al from Dadeville,” the caller who in February announced on Finebaum’s show that he had poisoned the trees at Toomer’s Corner.  Updyke — and his attorney tried to make sure of this by interrupting his client — never admitted to actually poisoning the trees.

Apparently we’re to believe that he just happened to call in with knowledge of the exact poison that was actually used… before anyone knew the trees had even been poisoned.  Uh, yeah.

For the guts of the story, turn here to Evan Woodberry’s report for  In it you’ll find that while Updyke apologized to the University of Alabama for causing the school troubles with his phone call he did not get around to apologizing to Auburn. 

To Auburn: “If I was in Auburn’s place, I would be upset, too.”

To Alabama: “I have hurt the University of Alabama and that’s the last thing I want to do.  I am an Alabama fan.  I’m not apologizing for that… I apologize for what I’ve done to the university.

He even ended his interview with a “Roll Damn Tide.” 

You can find a partial transcript here at

One last point — during the interview Updyke said that he has lived in Texas for most of his adult life but that there’s nothing in that state — Texas versus Texas A&M, for example — that comes close to the Iron Bowl rivalry in terms of heated passions.  “There’s nothing like this in Texas,” he said.

Indeed, there’s nothing like this anywhere else in college sports. 

The Iron Bowl rivalry — thanks to a number of fringe element fans — has become a punchline in American sports.  It’s a shame that normal, well-adjusted AU and UA fans are given a bad name by tree-poisoners, conspiracy theorists, finger-pointers, and angry, ranting callers to Finebaum’s nationally-syndicated radio show.  But it’s happened.  It continues to happen everyday.

When it comes to many fans across the country, the face of the Iron Bowl rivalry is now Harvey Updyke.

Just think about that.



"Apparently we’re to believe that he just happened to call in with knowledge of the exact poison that was actually used… before anyone knew the trees had even been poisoned. Uh, yeah."

Uhhh, auburn put the poison in the soil just before they sent it to Miss State for analysis (they should have included a check to Miss State for $200,000 for Cam Newton also). The trees were never poisoned. The amount of poison *reported* WOULD kill them but, they will not die. You watch, the trees will live and it will be "God's will", sayeth auburn. All Harvey Updyke did was make a prank phone call. auburn knew of the prank phone call and created this story ON THEIR OWN as at least one 'anti-Bama' story to try to dilute all the stories about investigations into auburn's cheating & corrupt athletics department.

Just a day or two after the prank phone call occurred an auburn official working in the turf management department posted on the university blog that he did not think the tree had actually been poisoned. This is what he posted and, while this is real & legit, the university blog has since been removed by auburn officials:

Toomer's Oaks are Fine(baum)- Just a Toilet Paper Overdose.

I have been watching all the traffic related to possible poisoning of Toomer's oaks. I heard over the water cooler that someone called into the Paul Finebaum Show claiming they had poisoned the Toomer's oaks with the herbicide Spike. I was very skeptical, but I knew I could quickly determine if this was true. First, never passing up a teachable moment let me do some explaining.

The herbicide in question is sold by the name "Spike", but the active ingredient, the chemical compound that actually kills the plants, is called tebuthiuron. Tebuthiuron is very specific in its action--it essentially blocks photosynthesis from occurring. It is very specific to plants and is safe to humans.

With many herbicides, if one wants to tell if a plant has been purposely treated, one would take soil and leaf samples, extract the herbicide, and run it through some chemical analytical test to determine if the herbicide is present. This process can take weeks. But with tebuthiuron, since it specifically stops photosynthesis, a negative herbicide effect can be determined in a few minutes.

So I took my handy, dandy handheld chlorophyll fluorometer up to Toomer's Corner, clamped it on a few leaves and checked photosynthesis. Everything is fine. It has been two months since the alleged poisoning, and there should be a reduction in photosynthetic activity-- and there is not. Just in case it occurred more recently, Auburn Horticulture has taken some soil and leaf samples for future analysis, if any damage ever appears. For now that is a moot point, the trees are fine, just a little beat up from all the toilet paper clean up. I will keep checking over the next few weeks just to make sure.

To anyone who has had the idea of poisoning Toomer's oaks or killing your neighbor's tree that is blocking your satellite reception--you can easily be caught. Not only can one quickly measure photosynthesis of the plant, but the herbicide will last up to a year in the soil surface and a little longer in the killed plant. It will be very easy to catch you.

- Scott McElroy, PhD@auburnturf
Department of Agronomy and Soils
Posted by auburnturf at 11:16 AM Email This Blog


I could not agree with you more, for an AU fan that has been to almost every iron bowl for the last 30 years, it is embarrassing to hear the idiots on both side of the ledger call Finebaums show, now on a national basis and make fools of themselves, doing only one thing, making Finebaum money and making the rest of us sane people look like idiots too!!! Finebaum is laughing all the way to the bank as these fools embarrass anyone connected to this rivalry!!!


Auburn and Alabama are in direct competition to each other. This was only a matter of time. Both programs dream of being top 10 teams yet compete in the same state for 1) fan support, 2) recruits, 3) exposure. Plus they compete in the same division of the SEC which makes it ever more likely that one team can only achieve success at the expense of the other.

Let's face it, if one of these teams sucked . . . the rivalry wouldn't be as intense. If BOTH teams sucked . . . even more so. Yet both university's commit a great deal of money and resources to appease demanding fanbases with football success. Unfortunately there is a finite level of resources in the state of Alabama. This isn't Florida, Texas or California we are talking about where the state can legitimately support multiple Championship caliber programs at the same time for long periods.


I hope they ( AU and UA) blows each others brains out. If they have any!


I thought you were tired of writing about this.



I'm also tired of paying taxes, but it goes with the salary.

We cover SEC news here -- even the news I'm sick of. I'll tell you I'm sick of certain stories -- and yesterday I didn't even detail the latest Updyke junk -- but I still feel a duty to provide you with the information we promise to deliver each day.

Instead of being a jackass, you could just say: "Thanks for bringing me all of the news from around the conference for FREE everyday."



Gotta love twitter. hit and run. Geat reply John. It is not your falt the only fans of every school who seek the limelight belong to the idiot fringe. And that goes for EVERY school.

B Roberts
B Roberts

I believe he also apologized to his high school coach. His excuse was being "too full of Bama".


It would be nice if the Alabama - Auburn "rivalry" could be something other than an ignorant WalMart parking lot brawl. I'm sorry to say it doesn't have any of the fun of a sporting rivalry, with good natured, intelligent trash talk, stunts, even heated exchanges based on some semblance of dignity. When both sides are represented by thugs, goons, mouthbreathing lumps it's amazing that this is supposed to be about COLLEGE sports. It reflects on the academic institutions and "y'all ain't doin' either school good", which I hope is clear. Thanks for being a national joke.

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