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Dear Gamecock fans,

There is a story out there – and if you believe what you read on the state’s message boards, it’s a very, very big one. As we noted yesterday on our founding editor’s Twitter page, a former University of South Carolina athlete has been accused of doing something very, very bad.

When this tip first came to us, we didn’t think much of it – although we did what we do anytime information comes in, we investigated it with a healthy dose of respect and an equally healthy dose of skepticism.

During the course of our investigation, we spoke to several sources who had some degree of familiarity with the basic accusation – but it wasn’t until earlier this week that we got a big break in our efforts.

That’s when we spoke to a source with firsthand information about the allegation (a witness, if you will). Now, things have jumped to a much higher energy level. In fact, thanks to a simple three word allegation, our attorneys … and quite possibly the NCAA … have gotten involved in the case.

Would it be bad for the University of South Carolina if this allegation turns out to be true? Yes. It would be inconceivably bad. It might even result in the school having to vacate its first two national championships.

Obviously, we’re working as hard as we can to uncover all of the facts – or at least all of the facts that are available to be uncovered. Again, that’s what we do – and no amount of local enmity is going to prevent us from doing that.

It is worth pointing out, though, that our founding editor is a lifelong University of South Carolina fan who has been attending Gamecock sporting events since he was in the friggin’ womb. He watched George Rogers Heisman Trophy season, BJ McKie’s sensational basketball career and Scott Wingo’s heroics on the baseball diamond – hell, he was a feature writer for the University’s athletics department for several years while he was in graduate school, for crying out loud.

Which reminds us … he’s got a pair of University of South Carolina degrees.

Obviously, this website has called it like we see it as it relates to USC and its athletics programs – but that doesn’t change the fact that we’re fans and would hate to see something this bad happen to the program.

Unlike a lot of other “reporters” in this state, though – including the no-talent ass-kiss who felt it necessary to rip us on the radio earlier this week – we’re not going to let our allegiances stand in the way of writing a story that we believe to be accurate and newsworthy.

Sucking up to the University’s athletics department by writing puff pieces (or burying scandals) is their job … our job is to actually investigate legitimate tips. But hey – if the mainstream news outlets (the ones that kiss Eric Hyman’s ass for access) wanna call us ‘tabloid,’ they should knock themselves out.

We’re used to it … and at the end of the day the marketplace of ideas always sorts things out.

Anyway, our sincere hope is that one of two things happens here – either a) the story turns out to be untrue or b) after consultation with our attorneys we determine that there is simply not enough evidence to justify publishing the story.

Right now, though – with a direct allegation from an eyewitness in hand – we’re not betting on either of those two things happening.

During the course of our investigation, we have shown the former athlete in question and the University every courtesy. We’ve made it perfectly clear to them what we’re pursuing – and we’ve offered them the chance to speak with us both on or off the record about it. For a blog that doesn’t hold itself out to be “fair or balanced,” we think that’s pretty big of us. So far, though, not a peep has been offered to refute the original claim – even after we made it abundantly clear that we weren’t baiting anybody for the purpose of writing a “denial story.”

Bottom line? If something’s true, it’s true … if it’s not, it’s not. All we’re trying to do is sort it out.

Also, to the one Gamecock fan who has threatened to kill our founding editor in the event he runs this story, all we can say is take a number … and take your best shot. Again … we’re used to it.

If there is one thing we’ve learned in the five years since we launched this website it’s that the facts are what they are – and whether we like it or not, they don’t usually stay hidden forever. Like T.P. Tidwell said, we’ve got a “commitment to the truth.”

Anybody who’s got a problem with that can kiss our asses. And as we’ve said during scandals past, you’re always just one click away from never reading this website again …