On Feb. 22 I broke the news that during production of an HBO Real Sports special on the business and ethics of high profile college athletics, former Auburn football player Stanley McClover had told an HBO interviewer that a former Auburn assistant coach had provided him extra benefits that would be considered outside of NCAA rules.
We’ve since learned that the Real Sports episode on college athletics, which debuts on HBO on March 30, will be broken into three parts. From an HBO press release:
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 FoxSports.com and former Ivy League Athletics Commissioner Jeff Orleans. The group will address a host of issues relating to the NCAA and the regulation of its 1,055 member schools.
The “two long-form segments” include:
The Money Trail: Every year, thousands of talented young student-athletes sign letters of intent and obtain full-ride athletic scholarships (tuition and board) from the biggest, wealthiest programs in America, effectively giving up all rights to revenue generated by their participation, including TV rights fees, merchandising and ticket sales. But with a dramatic increase in revenue from top programs and athletes’ growing awareness of their contribution, many are starting to ask if there should be financial compensation. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg examines the notion of student-athletes remaining untainted amateurs while generating pro-type revenue for their schools. Are they getting a fair shake?
Pay to Play: Should athletes at Division I programs be financially compensated? And would that curb the headline-grabbing stories of inappropriate payments and benefits? More and more standout athletes in top programs are seemingly putting their education on the back burner to focus on what’s really important ? the money. Those destined for the NBA and NFL face the moral dilemma of dealing with “advisors” and “street agents” who can deliver the funds and material items they desire while in school in exchange for a promise of future reciprocation when they reach the pros. REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer delves into the controversial and complex subject of premium college-bound athletes receiving benefits that are prohibited by the NCAA.
Immediately following the March 30 presentation of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, at 11:00 p.m. (ET), viewers can log on to hbo.com/realsports for an exclusive “overtime” webcast segment, in which the roundtable panel will continue the discussion and answer questions from viewers.
HBO is currently airing a promotional trailer for the scheduled broadcast which does not include McClover but does feature another former Auburn player and an ex-Alabama football player.
Former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro is shown in the promotional video being interviewed by Goldberg.
In the HBO preview clip, Prothro and Goldberg have this exchange:
Goldberg: “Guys like you make more money for the school than you will ever make in your whole life.”
Prothro: “I definitely don’t think it’s fair.”
“With scandals, violations and sanctions constantly in the headlines, Real Sports questions whether the current NCAA system is broken. Why are there frequent stories of objectionable recruiting practices?”
After the voiceover, Reddick says to Kremer: “I was well aware that they’re going to throw women at you, they’re going to throw alcohol at you. Your player hosts are going to try to get you drunk and try to get you to sleep with somebody.”
HBO has also posted two online discussion segments featuring show host Bryant Gumbel, Kremer and Goldberg as an additional primer for the Real Sports episode.
Kremer from one of those segments:
“There’s also a lot of personal stories that will be told on this show as well because players not only getting paid to attend a university but how it works once they’re there. How whatever they need is provided for, not just in terms of money but in terms of changing grades, making even more of a sham of the academics that are involved in college athletics. The misnomer that is student-athlete, it’s very, very one-dimensional.”
Reddick, Kremer’s interview subject in the trailer, had a productive career at Auburn but went undrafted in 2005. He was signed as a rookie free agent by the Chicago Bears but released in August, 2006. He then signed with the New York Giants and saw action in four preseason games prior to being released at the start of the 2006 season.
Still only 27, Reddick has since played in the arena league for San Jose, Dallas and Arizona, with his latest playing stint in 2010 with the Phoenix-based Rattlers.
Regarding the college football recruitment that he referred to in the Real Sports interview, just before he signed to play football for Auburn in 2002 Reddick said of his recruiting visits:
“I am done with all my visits now and I will announce my decision on signing day. I still have some thinking to do and probably won’t know for sure until that morning. I have been all business on my visits. I really haven’t had the time to have a lot of fun.”
Of Reddick’s visit to Auburn as a high school recruit in January, 2002, AUTigers.com reported:
Offensive lineman Monreko Crittenden was Reddick’s player host. “I had a lot of fun,” Reddick says about the weekend.
Before Auburn played Georgia in 2005, Morris News Service reported of Reddick:
Offensive tackle and Albany, Ga., native Troy Reddick has made road trips to the past two Georgia spring games. Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill and offensive guard Jonathan Palmer, both from Decatur, Ga., joined Reddick at this year’s G-Day game.
“We didn’t even come to watch the game,” Reddick said. “We were scouting their girls. They like football players a little bit more over there.”
I’ve been told there may or may not be review clips sent out to a small number of reporters before the show. If there is, we may get a better idea of what HBO has in store for Auburn, Alabama and all manner of college football fans on March 30.