Posted on: March 30, 2011 6:58 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 6:59 pm

SEC releases statement on HBO story

Posted by Tom Fornelli

HBO still won't be airing its "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" story on four former Auburn players who claim they received money amongst other perks to play football at Auburn for another couple of hours, but the story has been out for nearly 24 hours now. If you plan on watching, feel free to read along with the story from the post we wrote yesterday.

As you would expect, it's been a pretty big story since the transcripts broke on Tuesday, and the SEC released a statement about the show on Wednesday evening.

“We are aware of some of the information to be aired during this evening’s HBO Real Sports. Representatives from Auburn University, representatives from LSU and the SEC office have communicated with the NCAA Enforcement Staff. The involved institutions and the NCAA staff will pursue the allegations in a timely manner.”

Of course, what remains to be seen is whether or not the NCAA will be able to prove any of the allegations the players made to be true. Though the NCAA may find that the player's statements are more than enough evidence, as none of the four really have anything to gain by publicizing all of this.
Posted on: March 29, 2011 8:10 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 1:26 pm

Ex-Auburn players tell HBO they were paid

Posted by Tom Fornelli There have been rumors floating around the internet for weeks about a story HBO was doing for its Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel that would not shed a favorful light on Auburn. The program is set to air on Wednesday night, but Brooks from SportsByBrooks received an advanced copy of the show, and there are quite a few bombshells dropped in the interview. Brooks was kind enough to transcribe the interviews. Here's a taste of the talk between HBO's Andrea Kremer and former Auburn Tiger Stanley McClover.
Kremer voiceover: “McLover said it wasn’t until he attended an all-star camp at Louisiana State University that he realized how the game is played. A game of money and influence.” McClover: “Somebody came to me, I don’t even know this person and he was like, ‘we would love for you to come to LSU and he gave me a handshake and it had five hundred dollars in there. … that’s called a money handshake … I grabbed it and I’m like, ‘wow,’ hell I thought ten dollars was a lot of money back then. Five hundred dollars for doing nothing but what I was blessed to do. I was happy.” Kremer to McClover: “What did you say to the guy when he hands you five hundred dollars?” McClover: “Thank you and I’m seriously thinking about coming to LSU.” Kremer voiceover: “But McClover says there were money handshakes from boosters at other football camps too. At Auburn for a couple hundred dollars and at Michigan State. All the schools denied any wrongdoing. And things really started heating up a few months later when he went to Ohio State for an official visit where schools get a chance for one weekend to host prospective athletes. McClover says there were money handshakes from alumni there too. About a thousand dollars. And something else to entice him.” McClover: “They send girls my way. I partied. When I got there I met up with a couple guys from the team. We went to a party and they asked me to pick any girl I wanted.” Kremer: “Did she offer sexual services?“ McClover: “Yes.” Kremer: “Did you take them?” McClover: “Yes.” Kremer: “McClover committed to Ohio State right after that weekend. The recruiter at Ohio State who says he dealt with McClover that weekend denied the school was involved in any wrongdoing.” On what caused McClover to sign with Auburn over Ohio State: Kremer voiceover: “McClover says what he asked for was money. A lot of it. And that he got it. Delivered in a bookbag, exact amount unknown.” Kremer to McClover: “You opened it up, what are you thinking?” McClover: “I almost passed out. I literally almost passed out I couldn’t believe it was true. I felt like I owed them.” Kremer to McClover: “You felt obligated to them (Auburn)?” McClover: “I felt totally obligated.” Kremer to McClover: “Because of the money?” McClover: “Yeah.”
The word that should be in your head as you read that is the same one that was stuck in mine the entire time: Wow. In just one segment of the interview we have McClover not only saying that he was given money by Auburn to attend the school, but also that he received money from LSU, Michigan State and Ohio State during his recruitment. Oh, and then the tiny tidbit of Ohio State basically hiring a prostitute to help convince McClover to come to Columbus. And remember, this is just the interview with McClover. The talks with other former Auburn players Chaz Ramsey, Troy Reddick and Raven Gray don't exactly do Auburn any more favors. There's Reddick saying that Auburn wanted him to change his major because they felt his class schedule was getting in the way of football, and McClover also saying a booster bought a car for him.  Now, it's important to point out that there's no way to prove what these players are saying is true, which I'm sure plenty of Auburn fans will point out in the coming days. Still, the fact that four players are coming out and saying so, without any real motivation, makes you wonder what, if anything, they'd have to gain by lying about all this. Of course, this isn't the first time in the history of college football that players have been paid, and it won't be the last either. To pretend like this isn't going on at other schools right this very moment would be incredibly naive, but obviously, this is not good news for Auburn. If Auburn thought he Cam Newton sideshow was a distraction in 2010, well, things won't be any quieter on the plains in the coming months either.
Posted on: February 16, 2011 12:41 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 2:41 pm

Lane Kiffin drops not-so-subtle hint to HBO

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Every summer I look forward to HBO's Hard Knocks series that follows an NFL team through training camp. It's just incredibly interesting to see life behind closed doors on with a NFL team. It's that appetite for such knowledge that has often had me wish HBO would do something similar with a college football team. ESPN and the Big Ten Network have done it before, but I'd prefer to see the show on a premium channel like HBO where there are less restrictions on what can be aired.

It would give all of us a better idea of what life is like for a college football player as he balances school with football, and we'd see the amount of work these kids put in every day. Plus, can you ever really have enough college football? It'd be an excellent way to bridge the gap between the seasons for college football fans, and you know it would be a ratings hit.

The problem may be finding a program and a coach who is willing to give such access to the media, but I believe we may have found one.

Lane Kiffin may say it's just a random thought, but I read that as "HEY, HBO! COME FILM US!!" Which would be fine with me, and it may be one of the first things Lane Kiffin has ever done that I thought was a good idea. Though if given my choice of which program I'd like to see profiled, I'm not sure USC would be my first choice.

I'd like to see a program that was working in a new head coach, or a huge program that was trying to bounce back from a down year. So, with both of those things in mind, I think a series featuring Texas would be the most interesting choice. You have Texas coming off of a down season, and a ton of coaching turnover on Mack Brown's staff. It'd be compelling television to see how the Longhorns prepare for a new season with the goal of getting back to the top of the new Big 12.

Which school would you like to see?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com