SPORTSbyBROOKS got an advance copy of the Real Sports program airing tonight on HBO, and if his transcript of these segments are accurate, it could mean a major NCAA improper benefits problem for Auburn University.
The $100 handshake has been a problem on college campuses since forever. Boosters know they’re not supposed to do it. Players sign statements to the NCAA saying they didn’t do it. It goes on nonetheless. But when coaches are allegedly involved, the improper benefits compliance problem metastasizes into a royal pain in in the ass.
From Brooks’ transcript:
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.”
There are four obvious problems for Auburn with the Reddick story. First, while it’s outside the NCAA’s normal five academic year statute of limitations, it’s got multiple rules violations being alleged. Second, there’s a coach involved in a pay-for-play accusations. Third, there’s a coaching staff interfering with a player’s academic affairs. And fourth, there’s an implicit accusation of academic fraud. Reddick says he didn’t go to class, but one has to assume that he remained academically eligible, right up through his senior year. two of the other three players mentioned on the show—Raven Grey and Chaz Ramsey—also made accusations of pay for play and theirs fall well inside the statute. Auburn has a real problem, here.
UPDATE: The above paragraph has been edited from the original post from this morning to reflect a four year statute rather than a five year statute as originally stated.
The fourth player who talked to HBO—Stanley McGlover—made accusations that would fall outside the statute, but I’ve seen some interpretations of NCAA rules that would allow the statute to be waived if there is a pattern of activity that begins outside of the statute but continues into and through that window.
Here’s what bugs the living daylights out of me. How is it that a Georgia grad living on the west coast and writing a blog is able to obtain a transcript of a nationally televised show, and the Alabama media cartel—supposedly with an “Auburn Bureau” and two dedicated beat writers—gets scooped? I don’t blame the writers. Solomon’s a straight up news guy. Sports Editor Randy Kennedy of the Mobile Press-Register is a first class newshound. It’s not their fault that they’re not allowed to chase these stories down. It’s screwed up management.
Exit question: For hard news stories, where are people going now for hard news on this and other such stories?