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Alabama SGA president explains decision to miss ODK Trophy presentation in Auburn

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The ODK Trophy presentation was held at Auburn Arena during halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game, Thursday, January 30, 2014. (abc3340.com) The ODK Trophy presentation was held at Auburn Arena during halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game, Thursday, January 30, 2014. (abc3340.com)

In response to some negative backlash stemming from his absence from an annual Iron Bowl tradition bestowed to the game's winner, Jimmy Taylor, the current SGA president at the University of Alabama, released a statement Friday afternoon explaining the decision not to travel to the Plains for the ODK Trophy presentation during halftime of the Alabama-Auburn basketball game.

In the statement, Taylor says the decision not to attend the game came after "careful evaluation" of the hazardous travel conditions stemming from Tuesday's unexpected winter storm that paralyzed most of central Alabama.

"The decision not to travel to Auburn for the ODK presentation was made early Thursday afternoon after careful evaluation of the ongoing situation resulting from the snow storm on Tuesday that impacted our state and both campuses. It was a difficult decision to make, but at the end of the day, we felt it was better to err on the side of caution to ensure the well-being of the members of our University family."

According to Taylor, he made a congratulatory video for the Auburn football team that included his rendition of "War Eagle." The video, which was shot with the help of the university's TV station, was sent to Auburn around one hour before tipoff of the basketball game, but it never aired at Auburn Arena.

"And, in keeping with the spirit of the ODK presentation, I shot a video with our local television station Thursday afternoon congratulating Auburn's football team on their outstanding season; and I sang the Auburn fight song," Taylor said. "While Auburn received the video around 6:30 p.m. Thursday, we understand they were unable to plug it into the program because of the hectic nature of rescheduling the games."

The basketball game was originally scheduled for Wednesday night, but "Winter Storm Leon" forced teams to postpone the meeting until the following day.

Despite the travel conditions, some passionate Auburn fans and students felt Taylor should have been at the halftime presentation.

"It was most certainly not our intent to cause hard feelings between our two great Universities," Taylor said. "The Student Governments of our two schools have a very positive and collaborative relationship, and visit each other's campus each year to exchange ideas. Our tremendous respect for Auburn University made this a very difficult decision. I understand the concerns of those who felt we should have made the trip anyway. As campus leaders, we were faced with a difficult decision and we decided that the safety of our faculty, staff, and students was our priority."

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