Here’s how these things work:
* A former player makes claims that he was involved in cheating at his college.
* Fans attempt to debunk him by painting him as someone with an ax to grind.
* Teammates come out and say he’s lying.
Like clockwork, that predictable scenario is playing out in Auburn today. AuburnSports.com — the Rivals site covering the Tigers — reports that a number of people who know former Tiger Stanley McClover well believe he is making up his share of the allegations HBO will air tonight during an episode of “Real Sports.”
For the full story, you’ll likely need a subscription, but here are some of the highlights from their lengthy piece:
* McClover’s high school coach says that he “was shocked” during his HBO interview when his former player asked him to talk about Auburn coaches taking over his office and holding a private meeting with McClover. Ken Scott says that never happened. He also says the man who recruited McClover — Eddie Gran who is now at Florida State — “is a man of integrity.” Of the accusation that Gran offered or provided cash for McClover, Scott said: “I don’t understand what Stanley is talking about because I know Eddie Gran well and I know it didn’t happen.”
* Gran himself said, “That absolutely, positively never happened.”
* A former teammate of McClover’s — Auburn All-American safety Junior Rosegreen — also shot holes in the claims. “I told him that I am not going to be a part of that because it’s bull (crap). He said he was going to talk about getting paid to go to Auburn and I know that is a lie. I don’t believe a word he says. He’s not a man you can trust. I know him and I don’t want to be a part of anything he has going on.”
* Former Tiger player Jeris McIntyre says an HBO producer tried to get him to share some dirt on Auburn “off the record.” “He said that about 10 times. I said, ‘Fine. You want me to tell you something off the record? Here you go: Stanley is a damn liar.” (Looks like that’s on the record now.)
* Rosegreen states the McClover is “already broke” following a four-year NFL career. He says, “I was told Stanley got $20,000 (from HBO for the interview), and I know for a fact you don’t get that money until you give them something, until you tell them what they want to hear.”
The piece by AuburnSports.com is a strong defense… naturally. Whether you believe AuburnSports.com or HBO’s “Real Sports” will likely be determined by your own team allegiances.
If HBO actually paid these men for their interviews, then you can count us among those who will give no credence to their claims. And we’re already suspicious of them.
If nothing else, some serious doubts exist as to whether or not McClover and three other former Tiger players are making legitimate claims or simply attempting to smear their old school.
If the NCAA starts asking questions, these players are going to have to eventually provide some names. If they don’t, it will be very hard for anyone — well, anyone not wearing crimson — to believe their accusations.