*In the wake of a report on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” Auburn University says it will investigate claims by four former football players, who told the show they received thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the Tigers, reports the AP. [Scroll down to watch a clip.]
Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray told HBO for an episode that premiered Wednesday night (March 30) that they received cash payments — in book bags, envelopes and even handshakes. Ramsey played at Auburn most recently, in the 2007 season.
Coach Gene Chizik dismissed the report as “pure garbage.”
Chizik, Auburn’s defensive coordinator from 2002-04 during the careers of McClover and Reddick, said Wednesday night he had no knowledge of the alleged payments, “and I don’t have my head in the sand.”
“What’s disturbing to me is that they interviewed other former Auburn football players who had exactly the opposite to say but somehow or another that failed to make the air, unless I missed that section,” Chizik said. “So I’ve got other former players that are calling me who are still playing and who are great players who had absolutely no knowledge of any of that stuff.
“So it saddens me that somebody is going to air a show with basically one side being known. I think that’s pathetic. And I think it’s pure garbage.”
He said HBO did not attempt to contact him for comment.
Athletic director Jay Jacobs said the university will investigate.
“While HBO confirmed to us they have no proof that any of these claims are true, we contacted both the NCAA and Southeastern Conference as soon as these allegations surfaced,” Jacobs said in a statement released Wednesday night. “We have engaged outside counsel to investigate this matter and will spare no resources to find the truth.”
University President Jay Gogue said he is confident Jacobs and his department “will investigate these allegations thoroughly and completely.”