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HBO Show Details Mid-2000s Pay-For-Play Scheme At Auburn

HBO “Real Sports” is set to air its special report on college athletes and money tonight.  The website SportsByBrooks.com was given a chance to watch an early screening yesterday.  What that site saw will be yet another pain in the rump for SEC fans and administrators:


* Former Auburn players Chaz Ramsey, Troy Reddick, Stanley McClover and Raven Gray speak on the record about a pay-for-play plan on The Plains earlier in the mid-2000s.

* McClover also says someone representing LSU once gave him a $500 handshake at a high school all-star game.  He says there were money handshakes from Auburn and Michigan State supporters, too.  Ohio State boosters reportedly showered him with up to a thousand dollars and girls.

* He claims that he signed with Auburn when a bookbag full of cash was given to him.  “I almost passed out.  I literally almost passed out I couldn’t believe it was true.  I felt like I owed them,” McClover said.

* Reddick says he was “offered a large sum of money” by Auburn alumni.  The player said he didn’t take the money.  He also says he was unhappy on The Plains because AU coaches wanted him to change his major because his class schedule was interfering with football.

* Reddick claims an Auburn coach handed him an envelope containing $500 in order to get him to stay.  “Over that season it happened like two or three more times.  And it happened about six or seven times my senior year.”

* McClover claims that a booster game him $7,000 to buy a car.

* He says he earned $4,000 for a good performance against Alabama in an Iron Bowl game. 

* Ramsey says he received money handshakes during his year on The Plains.

* Gray says he received cash handshakes for “2,500 to 3,000 dollars.”

* Ramsey — who recently had a medical lawsuit against AU thrown out — says he’s coming forward so young players know “what college football is really about, it’s a business.”


For the record, Reddick and McClover were starters at Auburn.  Ramsey and Gray both signed with the Tigers and were on the team.

The school declined to comment on “these alleged claims apparently made by a few former football players.”  Auburn officials also told HBO that “compliance with all NCAA and Southeastern Conference rules is a major emphasis and top priority for all of our athletic programs.”

Someone close to the Auburn athletic department told The Birmingham News: “(The players) lied to somebody, either to Auburn or HBO.  It calls their credibility into question.”  Players are required to sign an NCAA document that affirms they did not break any NCAA rules.  (Uh, yeah… But not many players admit to cheating via NCAA documents.)

Other former Auburn players are now defending their school and attacking the claims of their former teammates.

Lee Ziemba — a star offensive lineman on last year’s BCS championship team — tweeted last night:


Funny HBO story just broke.  Couple former players lying to bring our past season down.  Keep dreaming fellas.


He also sent this message:


Was recruited by the same folks as the HBO star bums, walked out the same locker room doors as them after games…never a dime.


Two-time All-SEC defensive tackle TJ Jackson also discredited the claims.  “I’m not saying this to brag, but I made all-conference my junior and senior year, and I didn’t get paid.  And I wasn’t the only back-to-back, all-conference player and those guys didn’t get paid either.”

Jackson also had a warning for his former teammates: “Some guys don’t know how to let it go when it’s gone.  Don’t be infamous.  By dragging your school into this, you’re not getting famous.  You’re getting infamous.  Guys don’t forget things like this.  Don’t ever burn your bridges.  It’s a dangerous game to play.  You don’t want your business exposed.”


True or false these claims leave Auburn, LSU, Michigan State and Ohio State looking bad.  Ditto Tommy Tuberville — now at Texas Tech — and his former Auburn staff.  And the SEC once again looks dirty, too.

While the fans of the above schools will scream for proof — and these are simply claims — fans across the nation won’t be so patient in rendering a verdict.  Especially not after the Cam Newton fiasco last fall.

Fans of these schools will say that the claims are bunk.  But they have no idea whether they are or not.  Rival fans will take these claims as gospel truth.  But they have no idea whether they are true or not, either.

What we do have are damaging claims.  We’ll see how the media and the institutions involved and the NCAA decide to follow up.  NCAA president Mark Emmert has hopefully already instructed his investigators to sit down and talk with the Tiger Four. 

The Opelika-Auburn News reports that “McClover and Reddick’s alleged interactions lie outside the four-year statute of limitations for NCAA investigations.”  However, because Ramsey and Gray’s accusations fall within the window of investigation, the NCAA could extend its investigation backwards if it finds “the infractions to be systemic.”

At MrSEC.com, we’re going to see in which direction this thing heads before we declare guilt or innocence.

HBO’s “Real Sports” airs tonight at 10pm ET.

 


5 comments
raider67
raider67

i wouder what Kent Hance thinks of his hire now?

Ryan Fox
Ryan Fox

I completely disagree with Truth Serum. I actually find MrSEC.com to be one of the most balanced, non-biased sites around. I find I come here for news and a neutral vantage point much more often than other sites that too often feel like they are just trying to be news themselves. Keep up the good work.

Charlie Adams
Charlie Adams

I think it was a very good read. I liked it because it was fair and balanced.

Truth Serum
Truth Serum

That's funny John. "Going to see in which direction this thing heads before we declare guilt or innocence." In other words, you want to be on the "right" side before flinging your venom. Your only disappointment is that you didn't create this story so that you could then ride to the rescue on your yellow horse. Again, funny......but unfortunately, typical for you.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Truth Serum...

Uh, it's called trying to patient with a story.

If you can produce an example of us "flinging venom" I'd be happy to see it. As for my disappointment... my disappointment is with the fact that I'm going to have write about this crap. I'd rather talk sports than off-field junk, but the SEC is being sludged under in off-field junk these days.

Again, if you can provide examples, please do. Until then, I'll view you as just another rambling, miserable person who won't sign his name to his insults. Yet another person who uses a comment box I provide him with to bash me and this site with false accusations and ugly comments.

Have a nice day,
John

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