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HBO “Real Sports” To Air “Athletes And Money” Show Wednesday

HBO’s long-awaited, much-discussed “NCAA Athletes and Money” episode is set to debut next Wednesday.  You can bet a number of SEC coaches will be watching.

Over the past month, reports have claimed that former Auburn footballer Stanley McClover would admit on camera that he received illegal benefits from a Tiger coach in the mid-2000s. 

Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond — who’s dropped off the radar following Scott Moore’s departure from a Huntsville radio station — has said that HBO wanted him to talk about the Cam Newton situation.

So what did HBO ultimately find? has already posted the trailer for the show.  And the network put out a release stating the following:

Two long-form segments anchor the program, setting the stage for an extended roundtable panel hosted by Bryant Gumbel and featuring former University of Michigan head football coach Rich Rodriguez, outspoken college basketball commentator Billy Packer, print journalist Jason Whitlock of and former Ivy League Athletics Commissioner Jeff Orleans.  The group will address a host of issues relating to the NCAA and the regulation of the its 1,055 member schools.

Gumbel, Packer and Whitlock?  Good to know that outrage, bitterness and exaggeration will be well-covered.  Expect a full-scale beatdown on the NCAA with plenty of calls to pay players… and no explanation for just how that might be done when most programs are already losing money.

The two long-form reports will be: “The Money Trail” in which Bernard Goldberg looks at “the notion of student-athletes remaining untainted amateurs while generating pro-type revenue for their schools” and “Pay To Play” in which Andrea Kremer examines whether paying players would “curb the headline-grabbing stories of inappropriate payments and benefits.”

Personally, I’ve always found the “pay the players” argument to be pretty thin.  Oh it sounds nice, sure.  But where does the money come from? 

Would the money programs break off so the Wake Forests of the world wouldn’t be forced to match dollars with the Floridas and Texases and Ohio States? 

Would all athletes be paid the same amount?  Or would a women’s crew member at one school make less than a star quarterback at another? 

And just because all players would be paid X, what’s to stop the bigger schools from offering Y under the table?  Seems illegal inducements would only become a bigger problem because someone will always be out to get an edge.

But hey, where’s the fun in questions like those?  It’s much easier just to yell, “Pay ‘em!” and move on to the next hot-button topic.

If you want to hear Gumbel’s voice rise — you may want to get your dogs out of the room to protect their ears — just watch these short teaser clips provided by HBO:

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