Former Auburn safety Mike McNeil will spend at least three years behind bars and serve three years of probation after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.
McNeil’s original charge stemmed from an armed robbery in March of 2011 involving four AU football players. All four, including McNeil, were subsequently dismissed by Gene Chizik, the Tigers’ head coach.
According to CBS Sports, McNeil’s case was about to go to trial, and he was facing a sentence of 21 years to life if he was found guilty.
“Mike McNeil agreed and thought we had some defenses we could present at court, but in all likelihood, based on the previous trial, he could be convicted and face a much tougher sentence,” McNeil’s attorney, Ben Hand told the Auburn Plainsman.
Of the other three athletes involved in the robbery, Antonio Goodwin is serving a 15-year sentence while Dakota Mosley and Shaun Kitchens are awaiting trial.
As part of his plea deal, McNeil is ordered to cooperate with the district attorney’s office in these cases. If called to testify, McNeil is expected to do so truthfully.
McNeil made headlines last week when he was painted as a possible victim of internal school politics.
During an interview by former Sports Illustrated writer and New York Times columnist, Selena Roberts, McNeil raised allegations that the Auburn football program committed various NCAA recruiting violations, paid players and participated in academic fraud a failing.
McNeil said he had a failing grade changed before the 2010 season and that he received about $400 from then-assistant coach Will Muschamp after a practice.
Since Robert’s article hit the press, at least two players quoted in the story claimed they were misquoted or their words were taken out of context, while Auburn officials vehemently denied the allegations.
Muschamp, now Florida’s head coach, has also denied making any payment to McNeil.