TUSCALOOSA | The University of Alabama terminated an employee Monday who played unauthorized music over the Bryant-Denny Stadium public address system prior to Friday’s football game against Auburn.
The staffer was a part-time employee, according to UA Public Relations Director Debbie Lane, but has not been named by the university. Two of the pre-Iron Bowl song choices were “Take the Money and Run,” by The Steve Miller Band, and “Son of a Preacher Man,” recorded by Dusty Springfield in 1968 and later by recording legend Aretha Franklin.
The song choices were apparently directed at Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, whose father, a minister, is embroiled in a recruiting scandal amid reports that he sought payment during his son’s recruitment in violation of NCAA rules.
“Our processes require that all music and videos played in the stadium prior to and during every game be carefully scripted and approved by a senior administrator in the Athletics Department,” Lane wrote in an e-mail. “The former staff member deviated from the script that had been approved for the game with Auburn, and the University took steps to immediately terminate his contract.”
Auburn spokesperson Kirk Sampson declined to comment on the song choice or on Alabama’s response to the matter.
Newton, the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, was recruited heavily by Mississippi State before signing with the Tigers. It has been his recruitment by the Bulldogs that has come under scrutiny, according to reports, by both the NCAA and FBI. No link between Newton’s father, Cecil, and improper benefits from an Auburn representative has been established to date.
“The University of Alabama takes great pride in our football team’s long-standing tradition of playing the game with dignity and class, and showing respect for players and coaches of opposing teams,” Lane added. “We are disappointed when the actions of any staff member undermine our deeply held values and expectations.”
Auburn defeated Alabama 28-27. The victory snapped a 20-game home win streak for the Crimson Tide and maintained Auburn’s national championship hopes.
Efforts to reach Southeastern Conference Associate Commissioner Charles Bloom were unsuccessful.
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