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Chad Prewett Promoted

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Auburn has promoted Chad Prewett to an assistant coaching position in the wake of associate head coach Chuck Person’s arrest and subsequent suspension without pay, head coach Bruce Pearl announced after practice Tuesday. Pearl described the move as temporary considering that Auburn has an open spot on its bench, but also admitted that “temporary could last a while.” Prewett, the former Lee-Scott Academy coach, spent the previous three seasons as a special assistant to Pearl before being promoted to Director of Operations on April 27. He moved up to that position after Steven Pearl, Bruce’s son, was promoted to assistant coach in the wake of Chad Dollar’s exit to South Florida.

Governor Ivey Visits Auburn

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Gov. Kay Ivey visited Auburn yesterday as part of her “Strong Start, Strong Finish” education initiative.  Ivey cut the ribbon at the Auburn Daycare Center to recognize a new First-Class Pre-K classroom. 18 children are enrolled in this Alabama First Class Pre-K class, which is located in the Auburn Housing Authority Complex.  First Class Pre-K is part of the Office of School Readiness within the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education. The program has received the highest quality rating from the National Institute for Early Education Research for the past 11 years, according to the state’s website.  “Alabama’s preschool program is a crown jewel in our state,” Ivey said. “It is recognized as one of the very best in our nation.”  The governor was joined by state and local educators and elected officials including Auburn Daycare Center Director Frixie Melton, Auburn Mayor Bill Ham and Sen. Tom Whatley. 

Flu Season Arrives Early

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Typically, flu season begins in early October and runs through the end of May, but this year, it began earlier than expected.  Two flu outbreaks have been reported so far in south Alabama. Because the timing of flu season can be unpredictable, doctors are saying now is the time to get the flu shot. This year, the nasal spray is no longer an option. In June 2016, the CDC reported that the “nasal spray” vaccine was only 3 percent effective. During the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC reported 140 pediatric flu deaths.  Doctors encourage children under the age of six, adults 65 or older, and pregnant woman get the vaccine, and they want to stress that the vaccine does not cause the flu. In fact, getting the vaccine will make your symptoms milder if you do get sick.

FBI Basketball Probe-Latest

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Federal authorities have revealed that Louis Martin “Marty” Blazer III was the informant — referred to in criminal complaints as cooperating witness-1″ — who played a central role in the FBI investigation of Chuck Person and 3 other assistant coaches at top-tier basketball schools. Blazer agreed to wear a wire and buddy up to coaches who took covert payments in exchange for encouraging top-flight NBA prospects to choose a particular school, agent or financial adviser. Blazer posed as an experienced — and corrupt — financial adviser and business manager while helping the FBI make hundreds of recordings — resulting in a case charging Person and 9 others, including one assistant coach each at Southern California, Arizona and Oklahoma State. Blazer did covert work including recording and videotaping a meeting with Person in late 2016 at a restaurant near the Auburn campus. Person agreed to accept $50,000 to steer athletes to Blazer’s firm, at that meeting. The ramifications of the FBI probe have already hit the basketball program. 6-foot-10 E.J. Montgomery, the lone high school player from the class of 2018 to commit to the Tigers, has reopened his recruitment. The consequences also hit hard at Louisville, coach Rick Pitino is now on unpaid leave in a related scheme that promised the family of a Louisville prospect it would get $100,000 from Adidas if he signed with the Adidas-sponsored school. Yesterday, Oklahoma State announced it had fired assist. coach Lamont Evans accusing him of accepting $2,000 a month in bribes to funnel athletes to certain agents. Kobe Baker, University of Alabama Dir. of basketball operations resigned yesterday. Baker allegedly took part in a bribery scheme where he directed an Alabama player to sign w/an Atlanta financial adviser. The University of Alabama said it believes Baker had a meeting w/Chuck Person and the father of a highly regarded incoming freshman who eventually signed w/The Tide, believed to be Collin Sexton. More details and more charges are expected nationwide in the FBI probe of college basketball.

Basketball Probe Brings De-Commitment

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E.J. Montgomery, the lone player committed to the Auburn men’s basketball team in the Class of 2018, has decided to reopen his recruitment, per a report from Scout.com. The decision comes a day after Tigers associate head coach Chuck Person was arrested and charged with six counts of federal corruption as a result of a joint investigation between the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office. “We are going to open EJ’s recruitment back up,” his father, E.J., Montgomery Sr., told Scout.com. “He hasn’t really gone through the process of being recruited and he wants to experience that.” The 6-foot-10, 200 pound Montgomery, out of Marietta, Ga., ranked No. 7 at his position and No. 25 nationally in the Class of 2018. He had been committed to Auburn since Sept. 22, 2016. He was the only player Auburn had committed in that class, as the Tigers have 12 scholarship players and no seniors on their current roster.

Suspect Sought

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A first-degree robbery suspect is being sought by Opelika police after a male victim was robbed at knifepoint last Friday. The crime occurred around 8:15 p.m. on South 4th Street near Avenue “E.” The suspect is described as a black male in his mid-twenties, about 5-foot-9 & 180 pounds. The suspect also had a beard and wore all black clothing.

Area Schools Respond to Prayer Ban

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Before Friday night’s Central-Phenix City/Smiths Station football game, students & parents from both teams stood together Following the national anthem & began reciting the Lord’s Prayer. This was a reaction to Lee County Schools’ announcement earlier this week banning student-led prayer over the public address system before games. The Freedom from Religion Foundation said that it received complaints from a parent following Smith Station’s Aug. 25th season opener against Opelika. The cited multiple Supreme Court decisions regarding student prayer. The school system was facing litigation as a result & is now complying w/federal law.  At the Beauregard High School Homecoming game an announcer had to remind everyone over the public address system about the prayer ban. He then told the stadium crowd that they could recite the Lord’s Prayer if they chose.

Auburn University Increases Security on First Transit Buses

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New measures that include placing security personnel on its Tiger Ten late-night bus service were announced Friday by Auburn University’s Office of Communications. The announcement comes amid the fallout from a sexual assault on a female Auburn University student that occurred on a bus during Homecoming weekend.  First Transit will implement the program. Security contractor Murray Guard will be accompanying the Tiger Ten late-night buses this weekend while a long-term security firm will be determined soon, according to information provided by the university.  First Transit will work with the university to promote its real-time bus tracking system’s feature, called TransLoc, in which students can communicate to the university about their trip and/or driver.