According to a very plausible though not at all confirmed first draft of Tommy Tuberville's exit from the Plains on Bleacher Report, Rane (rather than the much-loathed busybody Bobby Lowder, who notoriously orchestrated the JetGate scandal of 2003) is also the booster who set the dominoes in motion after the Iron Bowl.
I've seen this post pop up on a message board or two, but on the good Doctor's site? Say it ain't so.
First of all, that kooky conspiracy theory is obviously wrong to anyone who's read the contract. The key passage:
The night Alabama drilled Auburn 36-0, a prominent Auburn booster (not the usual bank-owning one but one who sells pressure-treated wood and wears a yellow hat) made a phone call. This may have been a $5.1 million phone call.
Since he knows most of the SEC coaches on a first-name basis and shoots ads with many of them, he has their personal private phone numbers. So he calls Houston Nutt over in Mississippi and asks what it might take to have Houston change his address again to Auburn.
Supposedly this triggers a "non-interference clause" in Tuberville's contract, puts Auburn on the hook for a lot of money, and precipitates the Jimmy Sexton-engineered firing/hiring double play. Except this theory relies on a rogue booster making an unauthorized phone call to Houston Nutt and the clause in Tuberville's contract reads like so:
Unless notice has been given by Coach to Auburn of his termination of this Agreement, neither the President nor the Athletic Director of Auburn or any person or entity acting at or under their express authority shall discuss or negotiate directly or indirectly Auburn's prospective employment of any other person as Head Football Coach of Auburn without notice to Coach.
IE: unless someone actually in the Auburn athletic department signed off on this call, this clause has not been violated. Rane is a trustee, but he is not the President, AD, or someone working at or under their authority, and certainly not their express authority. The theory is full of crap from the word go.
Which should be no surprise because it's post on the Bleacher Report, where absolutely anyone can post absolutely anything. This feels like a curmudgeonly complaint more suited to an elderly guy wearing a hat that says "press," I know, but I've seen this from time to time on message boards and other blogs: idiot writes something idiotic on the Bleacher Report, someone takes it more seriously than they should under the assumption that whoever posted it is some sort of professional or, you know, writer. (The mere fact that people can't immediately tell the difference between the dreck on the Bleacher Report and your average MSM columnist is perhaps the most damning criticism you can offer of MSM columnists.)
The Bleacher Report is an amorphous shifting population of people, all of whom seem incapable of dressing themselves. This differs from blogs, because Dr. Saturday is Dr. Saturday and EDSBS is EDSBS and MGoBlog is MGoBlog. Blogs build credibility over time. The Bleacher Report gets it from some nice software, I guess.
That doesn't mean anything on it is worth paying attention to. This hot rumor's source is this guy…
Larry lives with his wife, son and Pug [sic] (Baccardi [sic] the Wonder Dog)... [sic] He's a moderator at WWW.rollcrimsontide.com [sic] and a member of the rowdy bunch [sic] at [email protected]groups.com [sic], [sic](where the motto is "Wear [sic] a Cup [sic]"). He served several terms as a director in the Red Elephant Club and loves to meet with the Crimson Tide coaches and administrators. His Bama years were from 1976 to 1981 during the back to back National Championship [sic] years!
…who is not only a diehard Alabama fan but one who thinks [email protected] is, like, a coherent thing you can say. And has named his dog "Baccardi [sic] the Wonder Dog." And hasn't even read Tuberville's contract. And got this theory from emails and message boards. Under no circumstances should this man be taken seriously.
With the freedom that comes on a platform where anyone can post anything comes the chore of wading through the crap, of discerning good content from bad. Here's a primary heuristic: ignore the Bleacher Report.