Ahead of what promises to be a rather “enlightening” episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, the SEC has issued a statement kinda, sorta addressing the allegations that will be levied by four former Auburn football players.
“We are aware of some of the information to be aired during this evening’s HBO Real Sports,” the statement from the conference read. “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.”
So, apparently and as expected, the end of the program tonight likely won’t be the last time we hear of this issue.
Several members of the media obtained an advanced copy of the hour-long program ahead of its airing Wednesday night, and published at least partial transcripts of what on the surface appears to be rather explosive and damning allegations.
The four ex-Auburn players — Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray — will all claim to one degree or another that they received “financial assistance” from alumni/boosters of the AU football program during their recruitment and, in a couple of the players’ cases, after they had signed with the Tigers. At least one of the players also alleges that he received cash on recruiting trips to LSU and Michigan State, and received cash and “sexual favors” on a trip to Ohio State.
The program tonight is a departure “from its traditional format” and is “dedicated to the state of college sports in America”, although it appears Auburn, for better or worse, will be the central figure in the cable offering.
UPDATED 7:53 p.m. ET: Shortly after the SEC issued their statement regarding tonight’s Real Sports episode, the “stars” of the show have released their own responses to the yet-to-be-aired program.
“We are aware that four former football players have made allegations against Auburn,” athletic director Jay Jacobs said. “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. We have engaged outside counsel to investigate this matter and will spare no resources to find the truth.”
“As a university president, there are several things you want from the athletics department,” Auburn President Jay Gogue said. “One of them is playing by the rules, and Jay Jacobs and the athletics department are committed to that priority. They will investigate these allegations thoroughly and completely.