Ex-Auburn Players Claim Systematic Pay-To-Play

HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel premieres an hour-long special on the business and ethics of college sports on Wednesday. The first airing is at 10p ET on HBO.

Auburn football player Troy Reddick appears in HBO Real Sports Episode

(Spoiler alert!)

I have obtained an advance copy of the show and have transcribed excerpts of a portion of the Andrea Kremer-hosted “Pay to Play” segment of the show below.

The segment contains explosive claims from former Auburn players Chaz Ramsey, Troy Reddick, Stanley McClover and Raven Gray.

  • On McClover’s recruitment: 

Kremer voiceover: “McClover 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.

  • Troy Reddick talks about his recruitment by Auburn

Reddick: “I was contacted by a local alumni (of Auburn) and offered a large sum of money.

Kremer: “What are you thinking?

Reddick:That people are trying to take advantage of me. And I can’t give anybody any kind of power over me.

Kremer voiceover: “He (Reddick) says he didn’t take the handout. …

  • Reddick on why he was unhappy at Auburn - and the remedy for that unhappiness

Kremer voiceover: “Reddick was growing increasingly unhappy because he says the (Auburn) coaches wanted him to change his major. Why? Because his class schedule got in the way of football practice.

Reddick: “I changed my major, so my classes didn’t interfere no more but I didn’t bother to go because I knew I was only there to play football.

Kremer: “So what did you do?

Reddick: “I started complaining and insinuating that I was ready to leave any day. They had to do something about that.”

Kremer voiceover: “The enticement to stay, Reddick says, became clear to him, when one of the coaches approached him after a team meeting.

Reddick: “He (Auburn coach) said I got some mail for you up in my office.”

Kremer to Reddick: “Some mail for you?

Reddick: “And I followed him up to his office and he gave me an envelope. I didn’t open there, I walked out to my truck, took off. … It was about 500 dollars.”

Kremer: “500 dollars in the envelope?

Reddick: (nods yes)

Kremer: “How often did you get the money in the envelope?

Reddick: “Over that season it happened like two or three more times. And it happened about six or seven times my senior year.

Kremer: “So where do you think the money came from?

Reddick: “I think that worry got back to alumni from my hometown.  Or it may have been the coaches or the staff but everybody knew I didn’t want to be there.”

  • On McClover being paid $4,000 for his performance in the Iron Bowl:

Kremer voiceover: “Stanley McClover says he was also paid while at school (Auburn). Paid by boosters. Like the time he had his eye on this 1973 Chevy Impala.

McClover: “Private owner wanted seven thousand in cash so I went to my booster who I knew and he gave me the money the next day in a bookbag.

Kremer voiceover: “McClover says eventually he didn’t have to ask for money, as long as he played well, he’d get paid.

Kremer to McClover: “How much was a sack worth?

McClover: “Anywhere between 300 and 400 dollars. For one.

Kremer to McClover: “I think in one game you had four sacks, what did you earn in that game?

McClover: “Four thousand. Against Alabama.

Kremer: “Seriously?

McClover:Alabama, a rivalry game.

Kremer: “More money because it’s Alabama?”

McClover: “Definitely. No other game matters.

  • Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray are interviewed at same time together

Kremer voiceover: “Chaz Ramsey played for a year (for Auburn) in 2007, and says he too received money handshakes after games.

Ramsey: “You walk out and all the fans are waiting for you to sign autographs and everything and some random guy just walks up to you and shakes your hand and there’s a wad full of money.”

Kremer: “How much are we talking about?

Ramsey: “300 or 400 dollars a game.”

Kremer voiceover: “Raven Gray was a top (Auburn) recruit in 2007, he says people affiliated with Auburn would visit him at his junior college and press the flesh there too.

Kremer to Gray: “How much do you think you got?

Gray: “Twenty five-hundred to three thousand dollars. Loyalty is the key. This man give me money I’m going to be loyal to him and go to Auburn.”

Kremer voiceover: “And he did go to Auburn but got injured before he ever played a game.”

  • On Ramsey’s motivation for coming forward

Kremer: “You have an axe to grind?” (Ramsey had a medical claim lawsuit against Auburn recently thrown out.)

Ramsey: “I’m not out to get anybody, I want high school athletes to know what they’re getting into. This is what college football is really about it, it’s a business.

  • Ramsey and Reddick on selling items made available to Auburn players by the school:

Ramsey: “I would sell tickets all the time, Iron Bowl you can make a thousand dollars a ticket.

Kremer: “How much money did that get you during your time at Auburn?

Ramsey: “Five-six thousand dollars probably.

Reddick:I sold my SEC Championship watch right off the stage as we were celebrating in Toomer’s Corner.”

Kremer: “Why did you sell it?

Reddick: “Because it was useless to me. I had to sell all my championship rings to help my sister not go into debt as her house was about to be foreclosed on.

At the end of Kremer’s segment, the host read Auburn’s official response to HBO regarding the allegations by its former players:

The NCAA turned down repeated interview requests to discuss anything to do with illegal payments, despite new NCAA President Mark Emmert recently saying he wants to be more transparent with the media.

As for Auburn University, officials declined to comment on quote, “these alleged claims apparently made by a few former football players” and said, quote, “compliance with all NCAA and Southeastern Conference rules is a major emphasis and top priority for all of our athletic programs.

For more comments from Reddick and McClover, go here.

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