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Memphis School System Closes Investigation Into Ex-Auburn Player’s Transcript

jovon-robinsonJovon Robinson probably could have helped rushing-impaired Auburn last fall on the football field.  But the freshman running back from Memphis never got the opportunity due to issues in the classroom.  The NCAA learned that Robinson had had his high school transcript changed and ruled him ineligible as a result.

Now, the Memphis City School system has closed its investigation into the case.  The findings?  Other than Wooddale High School guidance counselor Valerie Starks-Sykes, no other system employee did anything wrong.  Starks-Sykes admitted to making the changes and suggested in internal emails that “she was certain someone had asked her to make the changes but was reluctant to name anyone who may have been involved.”

Unless she comes forward with a name or other new evidence pops up, the Memphis City System considers “the matter to be closed.”

The NCAA did ask Auburn coaches about the Robinson situation, but it did not send an official letter of inquiry to the school regarding that case.  However, reports late last year stated that the NCAA had “spent weeks” investigating the football program.  Gene Chizik and his staff were fired after the season, in which the Tigers finished a shocking 3-9.  (Corrected: Story initially read 4-8)

Robinson has continued to say that he will be back at Auburn.  For now, it’s still a wait-and-see situation.

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Guidance Counselor Won’t Say Why She Fixed AU Signee’s Transcript

Running back Jovon Robinson’s career at Auburn ended before it even began.  The NCAA ruled the AU signee ineligible after a guidance counselor at his high school — Wooddale High in Memphis — admitted earlier this month to having changed his transcript.

According to The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, the Memphis City School system is still trying to figure out why Valerie Starks-Sykes fixed the grades:

 

“She admitted making the changes, yet would not provide a rationale for the changes.  She was certain someone had asked her to make the changes but was reluctant to name anyone who may have been involved.”

 

That came from an internal email sent between MCS schools on August 8th.  On August 9th, Starks-Sykes resigned her post at the school.  (Well, Jimmy Conway from “Goodfellas” would sure like that dame: “Never rat on your friends.”)

The emails — which were released yesterday — reveal that the NCAA started asking questions about two players at Wooddale and two counselors, not just Starks-Sykes, but all their names were redacted.  The principal at the school also said via email back on August 14th that NCAA investigators “have my faculty rattled.”

Rattled is how everyone associated with Memphis recruiting should feel right about now.  From Auburn’s situation to the one involving Mississippi State and beyond, it’s clear the NCAA is targeting the Bluff City.  Any SEC school trying to tap into the wealth of talent in that city had better be doing so on the up-and-up… and they’d better hope that’s how they’ve been behaving all along.

I have a feeling we’re nowhere near the end of this Memphis saga.

 

JOHNNY RIVERS – Memphis

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