OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Former Auburn defensive back Mike McNeil received a 15-year split sentence on Monday after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.
Lee County Circuit Judge Christopher Hughes accepted McNeil’s plea deal Monday as his trial was set to begin. Under the deal, McNeil is required to serve at least three years in prison, plus three years of probation, and pay $2,000 in restitution.
McNeil, 24, and three teammates from the Tigers’ 2010 national championship team were charged with armed robbery and dismissed from the team in March 2011. Antonio Goodwin is serving a 15-year sentence while Dakota Mosley and Shaun Kitchens are awaiting trial.
McNeil, wearing a gray suit and with his hair cut short since appearing in court Friday with dreadlocks, nodded to family members while he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. McNeil responded “Yes, sir” when the judge asked if he believed prosecutors had enough evidence to get a guilty plea.
He had 14 tackles in Auburn’s win over Oregon in the BCS championship game in January 2011.
McNeil made headlines when he raised allegations that a failing grade was changed before the 2010 season and that he received about $400 from then-assistant coach Will Muschamp after a practice. Muschamp, now Florida’s head coach, has denied making the payment through a spokesman.
Auburn officials have said McNeil’s grade was changed because absences that affected his grade were medically excused.
Former Tigers coach Gene Chizik, who was the coach in 2010, called the report by former New York Times and Sports Illustrated reporter Selena Roberts “short on fact and logic.” He also said he had no knowledge of payments made to players during his tenure.