Report: Ex-Auburn players say they were paid

MONTGOMERY, ALA. (AP) - Auburn will investigate claims by four former football players, who told HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” they received thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the Tigers.

Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray told HBO for an episode that aired Wednesday night 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.”

Tommy Tuberville, Auburn’s coach during the recruitment of all four players, declined comment Wednesday. He is now the head coach at Texas Tech.

McClover said he “felt totally obligated” to play for the Tigers after getting money _ he wasn’t sure how much _ in a book bag.

“I almost passed out. I literally almost passed out, I couldn’t believe it was true,” the former defensive end told HBO. “I felt like I owed them.”

McClover said he later received $7,000 from an unidentified Auburn booster for a 1973 Chevrolet Impala and would get sacks of money, typically $300 or $400, after games. He said he got four bags totaling $4,000 after logging four sacks against rival Alabama in 2004, when he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference player.

The Associated Press reviewed an advance copy of the hour-long program. Efforts to reach the four former players were unsuccessful.

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