Auburn hit with recruiting penalties

AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn football has been disciplined for secondary NCAA rules violations during its highly publicized "Big Cat Weekend" last May.

The Tigers were temporarily barred from contacting a half-dozen recruits who participated in the event. Assistant coach Trooper Taylor was banned from off-campus recruiting until the end of last month, and five other coaches who participated received reprimands.

Auburn announced the penalties Thursday night in response to open-records requests from media outlets. Coach Gene Chizik said the football program didn't mean to break the rules.

"We unintentionally committed a secondary violation and have cooperated fully with the Southeastern Conference and NCAA, and are moving forward," he said in a statement.

Auburn acknowledged the event violated NCAA rules and imposed penalties on itself, but the Southeastern Conference added to the punishment.

The penalties stemmed from the event in May, when recruits participated in the school tradition of rolling Toomer's Corner with toilet paper. The recruits were introduced to the crowd and members of the media were on hand, both of which are prohibited.

The penalties do not affect the eligibility of the six players, two of whom have said they would attend Auburn.