The insinuation that members of the Auburn Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts were paid for less than above board / sheets activities in their roles as official on-campus hosts for Auburn football recruits was straight up gutted Tuesday by the blAUgosphere. ‘Cause it’s just straight up false. Straight up—payments received by the women listed in a hit piece posted Monday on SportsByBrooks.com was income earned through student employment completely separate from their volunteer work as Tigerettes.
Auburn’s Athletics Department is wisely staying mum on what is possibly the most non-ish of non-stories in The Year of The Auburn Non-Story (with the possible exception of SportsByBrooks’ quickly redacted post “Auburn fan in blackface wearing Cam Newton jersey at BCS game repeatedly shown during telecast” about our flag-footballing friend in D.C.). But for what it’s worth, when the purpose and virtue of university hostesses across the country have been called into question by media outlets that actually care about accuracy, Auburn is usually used as an example of everything that is right about the practice… due in part to being the first school to add men to its welcoming committee back in 1992.
In 2004, USA Today asked Auburn’s on-campus recruiting coordinator, Sue Locklar, to comment on the whiff of ill repute clinging to university hostess groups in the wake of the “sex parties” allegations about the recruiting culture at the University of Colorado.
Locklar says male students bring an added dimension to selling the school and its football program but adds safety also was a factor in their inclusion.
“I just think it’s good to have a guy along,” Locklar says. “A lot of these guys coming in are strangers. We don’t know them. I always feel it’s better to have a co-ed group hosting them.”
Locklar says recruits are never paired one-on-one with female students and usually four or more welcomers will be assigned to each recruit. The volunteers must attend two seminars on the football team and become familiar with Auburn’s football system and needs, and their opinions of recruits are taken into account.
“If a prospect is a total jerk to the girls, if he’s rude or he’s crude, they’ll tell me or a coach,” Locklar says.
“I’ve had our kids tell me, ‘I don’t care if he says he’s 6-2, he’s only 2 inches taller than me, and I’m only 5-8.’ We’re serious about it.”
And because Auburn values this element of its recruiting effort, Locklar worries that the Colorado scandal could lead to the NCAA curtailing student involvement with recruits.
“I think that they could, and I certainly don’t think that’s fair,” Locklar says. “I think that’s punishing the multitude for what a few people do.”
A year earlier, she was even more direct in stating the benefit of male recruiting hosts.
“We realized there were a lot of places these young ladies cannot go, the locker rooms and so on,” Locklar told the Augusta Chronicle in an interview for a 2003 story on men joining the Georgia Girls as Georgia football ambassadors, a decision the paper described as a solution “to the biggest problem facing football hostesses – unwanted advances from recruits.”
Locklar told the Chronicle that Tigerettes are never left alone with recruits.
“I don’t want it to have any semblance of a date or anything like that,” she said.
Did I mention that Bo Jackson’s daughter is a Tigerette?
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* Pat Dye builds a fence
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* Lutzenkirchen knew something was wrong with the Iron Bowl playlist
* Did an Auburn fan contribute to the teenage delinquency of Courtney Love?
* The G.I. Joe from Auburn