On the tapes, Ramsey, who is repeatedly heard asking for money, comes off sounding as bad as any Auburn coach or booster. His motive in going public with the tapes remains unclear—as does his reason for making them in the first place. Ramsey said last week that he wanted to clean up corruption in the sport, but Dye's attorney, Sam Franklin, suggests other motives. He points out that Ramsey has accused Dye of racism, has blamed the coach for his poor grades and has said that Dye didn't promote him enthusiastically to NFL scouts. "It seems to me that Eric Ramsey is just out for revenge or to hurt Auburn University," Franklin says.
Many Auburn loyalists share that view. On a lawn 10 miles from campus a mock graveyard has appeared with a lone headstone bearing the inscription RIP—ERIC RAMSEY AND THE MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER. On Saturday the words RAMSEY MUST DIE were seen scrawled in white shoe polish on a car parked at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
As for Dye, his principal sin in the eyes of Auburn fans may well be his Tigers' win-loss record of late, not his staff's dealings with Ramsey. As one prominent Auburn supporter told SI, "I'm not sure that Dye will weather the storm and keep his job because of all the controversy, plus the way the team has been performing."
Tiger fans who attended the game against Florida made their sentiments known, and not just by means of the posters and shirts that some of them sported depicting a Ghostbusters sign superimposed on photos of Ramsey's face. At kickoff there was a crowd of 83,714 at Jordan-Hare; midway through the fourth quarter, fewer than 25,000 spectators remained. Even the stubborn Dye had to be concerned about that message.