The Aura Of Suspicion

Editor’s note: Shane from Centerpoint first wrote this column for the Finebaum website May 18, 2007.

The Aura Of Suspicion
By Shane from Centerpoint

Selena Roberts, a sports columnist for The New York Times wrote in January 2005, “As wealthy contributors gain more influence in college football, the financing behind Chette Williams Ministries illuminates the elasticity of a booster’s reach into every last pocket of a program. No telling who is under their thumb. Even a trusted chaplain could be vulnerable.”

What if there was a system in place at a university where college football teams’ “big money” boosters could utilize a charitable non-profit, 501(c)(3) fund, based on religious principles, to funnel cash money to anybody, anywhere, anytime?

Would the system appear legitimate if it were lead by an established member of the clergy who also serves as the football team chaplain – a man with the ability to maintain constant contact with every player and who has the freedom to report directly to boosters?

What if the members of that system had mastered the act of stretching the rules to the point that power hungry boosters could keep an inside eye on the heart of the program through it’s team chaplain?

Hypothetically, that person could serve in as many capacities as required by the head coach or a prominent booster if needed. The possibilities are endless.

Every word written above brings me to my next question – why do the chief executive officer of one of the south’s largest banks and the Auburn football team chaplain have so much in common?

The appearance of a prominent booster of any institution being that close to the man who councils the players on a daily basis, not to mention all the money linked to the same two men, is oddly suspicious.

However, publicly questioning the legitimacy of a minority run, charitable, non-profit football organization would be difficult and unpopular at best.

Advertisement: Story continues below




Brother Chette Williams was hired by Tommy Tuberville in 1999. A former standout player for legendary Coach Pat Dye from 1982-84, Williams not only serves as the football team chaplain, but he is also the Alabama State Director for Urban Ministries.

To emphasize Chette’s importance to the players on the team, I’ll refer to former standout Reggie Torbor’s comments to The Times Selena Roberts. Torbor said, “If you ask anyone in that program, Brother Chette is the reason Auburn is where it is right now”. I’m not sure what he means when he tells Roberts, “He wants to help people. At the same time, him doing that would give off the impression of cheating and doing something he knows he shouldn’t do. It’s a fine line there. He helped us, but he didn’t do it for us, he pointed us in the right direction.”

Statements of that type lend to the perception that Chette Williams, not Tuberville, is actually running the day-to-day affairs of the majority of Auburn’s football players.

After all, Brother Chette lives three blocks from Tommy Tuberville in a 350,000 dollar home that at last check belonged to Auburn’s Associate Athletic Director, Terry Windle.

Windle also keeps the books for Chette Williams Ministries Inc., whose address is listed as the Auburn Athletic Department. By the way, there is no phone number listed for Brother Chette’s organization in the national phone number registry.

According to The Times Roberts, in 2003 Williams drew $55,824 in compensation as president for 20 hours work per week. Also, according to Windle, Chette earns a salary from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It’s just a hunch, but I’ll bet Brother Chette doesn’t have a car note.

For a humble, “man of the cloth”, Williams has an apparent limitless source of money to draw from. Surely, the temptation to help poorer players must’ve crossed his mind at least once?

Truthfully, the deeper we look into C.W. Ministries, the more suspect it appears, especially to those who remember Auburn’s past dealings with the NCAA.

First and perhaps most curious, none of the officers of CWM are compensated. Ben Thomas, a former defensive lineman for Pat Dye is the vice-president. Strangely, he is listed as a member of Auburn’s event management staff. He was also the former resident director for Sewell Hall – the athletic dormitory.

Mike McCartney, a former Auburn board member with a history of close association with controversial trustee Bobby Lowder, is the chairman.

The single most controversial member of the CWM team is former Auburn defensive coordinator and Pat Dye clone, Wayne Hall. The Orlando Sentinel reported once that “Hall, a holdover from Coach Pat Dye’s staff when Terry Bowden coached at Auburn, was dismissed by Bowden because he suspected that Hall wasn’t as devoted to NCAA rules as he demanded”.

Amazingly, Wayne Hall is the treasurer for Chette Williams Ministries, Inc.

For the record, Pat Dye, the Auburn consultant, is on the board of directors for Bobby Lowder’s Colonial Bank. Wayne Hall is Dye’s lifelong friend. Williams and Ben Thomas are former Dye players who’ve been around since the early 80’s. Mike McCartney is a longtime friend and associate of Lowders. Also of interest, current outgoing school President Ed Richardson’s daughter works for Colonial Bank. That’s why they call themselves the “Auburn family”. The point is all these people, including many more, apparently rely on Chette Williams to be a guide for the players.

Along those lines there are so many questions left unanswered. For example: How much money does CWM actually pull in every year? Where does the money actually go?

With Lowder’s shady past, which includes the SACS probation concerning micromanagement and his $5,000,000 donations to Auburn athletics, coupled with large donations to Chette Williams Ministries, Auburn is treading on thin ice regarding the appearance of improprieties.

Finally, Chette serves as an FCA agent when he leads the Tiger assistants in Bible study. He’s the team chaplain when counseling individual players and it’s unclear what he does as the State Director for Urban Ministries.

Prior to Selena Robert’s column in The Times, Chette Williams made radio appearances and speeches all over the state. He was Tuberville’s poster boy for Auburn’s success. Lately, he’s the only Tiger in the state quieter than Tommy Tuberville.

That said, Auburn’s system definitely works and may be totally legitimate, but if The New York Times suspected enough foul play to investigate and report the issues surrounding Williams’ Ministry then the public needs to see an open book on the program.

Chette Williams or Tommy Tuberville should address the issue up front and put out the fire once and for all.

You can reach Shane via email at shanesez@gmail.com

Separator image Posted in misc.

22 Comments

Add Yours
  1. 1
    capstonereport

    One of the things I’ve argued in the past is that religious programs help at-risk students because many of them come from backgrounds that can benefit from strong male leadership committed to the spiritual virtues modeled by people like Rev. Williams.

    The connections between so many prominent Auburn officials/boosters and Rev. Williams could simply be they recognize the value of helping students from troubled backgrounds.

    Then again, this is Division 1 college football where nobody really cares about the players. 😉

  2. 2
    Kevin

    This article was stupid a year ago, and it’s still stupid now. There’s no substance to any of this, and it’s retarded to keep bringing it up. Even for a bamzo.

  3. 4
    sixdownnow7

    YOu better stick to the Criminal Tide and their amazing sucess at recruiting immediately after getting out from under the NCAA’s thumb for repeat violator status.
    Players getting pulled over and not being able to provide proper registration will and has gotten the NCAA’s attention.
    Keep it up. The REC’s involvement is going to bring the death penalty to UAT.

  4. 6
    troy

    other dealings are suspect with the auburn family. back when carnell williamss was a junior at auburn, his mom moves intto a newer house on the outskirts of attalla. his dad, who’s job history is sketchy at best, builds a new house down the block. this takes place after a couple of years out of high school where he lived for the most part in a very small run-down house. its magic. mom gets a house and money for school, dad just gets a NEW HOUSE. PRAISE BE, Brother Chette, or as he’s known around the editorial pages, chicken chette

  5. 8
    JB

    Carnell was initially going to Tenn, but guess who brought more to the table………I wish I could say how I know but Im not gonna put the persons name out there to cause them problems…..go ahead and say no names are ever mentioned but I promise that there are people in north Alabama that know!

  6. 9
    AlabamaPolytechnicInstituteIsSecondFiddleToTheUniversityOfAlabama

    Do you mean, “brought more money to the table?”

  7. 10
    Darryll

    You love talking about Auburn in your column that is so cool.There was a time 20 years ago where Auburn fans would talk nothing but what Alabama was doing,dang times have changed.Keep it up shows class something Alabama use to have when they was winning,,you guys are really bad losers you know.Auburn is cheating,Tenn.is cheating.Nobody beats Alabama,,we just beat ourselves,,shut up.

  8. 12
    mike

    I noticed at the top of this page it reads: “Capstone Report, News and Commentary about Alabama Athletics”.

    Maybe that should be changed to read: “Capstone Report, All Auburn all the Time”.

    Sure am glad that the Bammers could care less about the Barners!!!

  9. 13
    capstonereport

    I have to laugh at Auburn fans who say this site is all Auburn. Let me see, there have been over 450 posts and less than 20 deal with Auburn.

    Yeah, that is all Auburn.

    But I guess with Auburn math that is 90-percent of the time….

  10. 15
    larry davis

    talk about your probation bound uat

    program [ice man shaney]. shane, are you

    going to the free spring game saturday?

    i guess you will be to busy posting about

    the auburn tigers.

  11. 16
    Weagle

    It is apparent that shane is a closet Auburn Fan. He knows more about the inner workings of the Auburn Athletic Program, than he does about delivering ice.

    Just go ahead and give us a big WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!!!! shane, you will feel so much better.

    That pang you feel in your gut is DENIAL.

  12. 17
    troy

    shane does know more about auburn football than the average auburn. the average auburn fan is stupid. they wear dirty over-alls, are 50-100lbs. over weight, have red craggy faces, and bitch about how they(AUBURN) don’t get any respect. even tho auburn is the most penealized team in NCAA history. so talk about the criminal tide, be we can’t hold a candle to the auburn outlaws.and don’t be surprised if auburn doesn’t go back on probation in the near future. investigators are headed that way.rtr

  13. 18
    parker34

    PROOF? YOU STILL LACK ANY. What program doesn’t have old coaches and players working for alumni. I

  14. 19
    mike

    Stupid??? The average Auburn fan is stupid???

    Well, here’s a few questions for you Mr. “Hooked on Phonics” Troy……

    WTF is an average Auburn???

    When did overweight become 2 words???

    Is tho the same as though???

    WTF does penEalized mean???

  15. 21
    Cyndi from Helena

    Shane,

    You and Bobby are a riot. Bobby claims to be an Auburn fan yet spends all his time talking about Bama and you claim to be an Alabama fan and spend all your time talking about Auburn.
    Here is the truth, without the rivalry the game would not be as much fun and if either University gets in trouble and is put on probation it makes the SEC look bad as a whole. Focus on the positive that Alabama has going on and quit trying to dig up dirt on Auburn. WAR EAGLE!!!!!!!

  16. 22
    becky

    Shane needs to read Proverbs 6.One of the things the Lord detests is a person that stirs desention among their people.
    Chette is living the American Dream and inspiring others to do so. I taught Tray Blackmon’s high school buddies in 1st grade.I only wish that Chette could have had the opportunity to influence them as he has Tray.Go 10 and yes, the colors of the sky are orange and blue-God created that sky.War Eagle!

Comments are closed.