June 20, 2011 — Internet muckraker Brooks of Sports by Brooks web fame broke a story this morning claiming Auburn University had paid its Tigerette hosts and hostesses “tens of thousands” of dollars over the past year and a half.
According to Brooks, Auburn shelled out over $84,000 from October 2009 to May 2010 to 27 students who served as Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts.
He further revealed that one such student, Jamie Nolen, had racked up just over $12,000 since March of 2010 and Dominique Neville, president of the Tigerettes received $6500 since October of 2009.
What Brooks neglected to report (or apparently even bother to research) is that there is no connection between the duties of the Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts and the pay they received. None. No correlation whatsoever, despite his incendiary claims.
The students Brooks attempted to expose in his morning assault are student employees of Auburn University. They have jobs on campus. Jobs. This employment is the source of their income. The students maligned by Brooks are merely a few of the hundreds of students to take advantage of employment opportunities on campus.
One Auburn student who wished to remain anonymous and may not actually exist expressed puzzlement over the uproar.
“I work for the University part-time, but not in the athletic department” the anonymous student told the Never To Yield Foundation. “I make as much or more as any of the students listed and I never have to work weekends or holidays. What’s the big deal?”
Once Brooks posted his highly inflammatory piece, the Internet rumor mill surged into overdrive. One radio host was heard repeatedly lamenting the “huge amount of money” spent by Auburn. Huge? Please.
Take the highest paid on the list, Nolen. According to the report she earned a grand total of approximately $12,000 over a 14 month period. Do the math. That’s less than $1000 per month. It’s only about $200 a week.
Completely irrelevant and well within the bounds of a student worker. The furor over the amounts paid diverted attention from the utter absurdity of Brooks’ report.
The practice of having students serve as hosts/hostesses is legal, accepted and perfectly within NCAA rules. Virtually every college in the country has some on-campus ambassadors who assist prospective students with visits. No big deal there.
Brooks, an avid supporter of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, failed to check the basic facts in his hyperventilating rush to fling dirt at Auburn. There are far more than 27 Tigerettes and Tiger hosts. The school lists in excess of 75.
If you use the same open records search Sherlock Brooks used, you’ll find that many of the members of the Auburn hosts and hostesses received no compensation.
Oops redux. Brooks failed to report that.
Let’s review. Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts are not compensated. That means no pay. Serving as a Tigerette or Tiger Host is voluntary.
The students Brooks smeared with rumor and innuendo in his poorly-vetted hit piece were hired by the University and hold jobs in one or more departments, the same as any other student who has an on-campus job.
They were not paid for their duties as Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts. Could it be any clearer? Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts are not paid. Some are also employees of the University and their employment is unrelated to their status as hosts or hostesses. For those jobs they receive pay from the University.
What a revelation. Students are paid to do work by the University they attend. What’s next? Will Toomer’s Drugs require customers to pay for lemonade?
That didn’t stop Brooks from piling on salacious rumor and innuendo. At one point Brooks revealed the shocking tidbit that an Auburn recruit actually went on Facebook and friended some of the Tigerettes who met him on his recruiting visits.
Oh no. A student has a Facebook friend. Oh. The humanity.
One of the Tigerettes singled out by Brooks has more than 1100 “friends” on Facebook. Each one must have intense and personal meaning to her, including the ones she may have met once through a mutual friend of a friend’s cousin during a weekend trip to the beach.
One parent informed the Never to Yield Foundation that his 15-year old daughter had several hundred Facebook friends, and among those counted a handful of college and professional athletes. His daughter also had friended or liked Katy Perry, Justin Beiber and Bruno Mars among celebrities. He was terrified at the possible ramifications.
“Oh my gosh,” the parent is quoted as saying. “I should be really worried, right? I mean friending somebody on Facebook must clearly imply some kind of reciprocal relationship. Well we’re not going to have that in MY house. That’s it. I’m taking her computer and smashing it to pieces before this Beiber character shows up at the door with his swoopy hair and baby doe eyes. Or maybe I should wait. We’d love to have Miss Perry stop by if she’s touring the area. Since she and my daughter are Facebook friends, I’m sure she’d love to come hang out with us. But not Beiber. No. Not that one.”
Of all the ridiculous stories that have come out in the last six months, this morning’s assault by Brooks is by far the most desperate and pathetic. If this is the best Brooks can conjure up to deflect attention from the raging inferno in the Georgia athletic department, that’s incredibly telling.
This is the big news? Auburn pays student workers. Some of them are female. And they have friends on Facebook. Wow.
Keep fiddling Nero. Keep fiddling. But wipe some of that egg off your face first.
[Disclaimer: Interview subjects are fictitious. Unless they aren't. The interviews were intended as satire to illustrate the utter absurdity of Brooks' report. No Auburn students were harmed in the recording of the interview. Okay, maybe one was harmed, but it's nothing life threatening or anything. Had an actual student been interviewed, the Never to Yield Foundation would have supplied pepperoni pizza and a refreshing coke to said student to encourage cooperation and alertness. Any resemblance to parents living or dead is purely coincidental, unless they're your parents and then we intended it. Katy Perry appears courtesy of Capitol Records. Justin Beiber once threw up on stage. He dates Selena Gomez. We're not exactly sure who Bruno Mars is, but we're told he's not going to do anything today.]