Tampa, Fla.--The last five months have been an open season on the Auburn Tigers and Coach Gene Chizik’s program from both the national media and faceless bloggers throughout the country. Now the latest shot is one that could come from HBO as several outlets are reporting that former Tiger Stanley McClover could be making claims of receiving extra benefits while on the Plains.
McClover wasn’t the only Auburn player contacted by the network though as other Tigers were called out of the blue including wide receiver Jeris McIntyre (1999-2003). Currently a co-owner along with his father Secdrick McIntyre of a utility company in the Tampa area who also is a coach of a junior high football team in the Town and Country area, the second generation Auburn player said he was surprised to get a phone call asking about college football.
“I didn’t really have any idea,” McIntyre said of getting a call from HBO. “In this day and age you have all these media outlets and a guy hit me up saying he was doing a story on big time college football. I went to Auburn and we just won the national championship so I decided to go ahead and do it. I gave him my number and he called me.
“He started out by asking me questions about Auburn,” McIntyre added. “I thought I was just doing an interview. He asked me if I thought players should be paid. I was trying to answer the question as far as legally and through the university how it would be nice because of all the money that the football program brings in. I think it makes some sense.
“Then he asked me if players get paid under the table at Auburn? I told him 'no way.' We were pretty much struggling, maybe not everybody was struggling but nobody was living the life. I told him absolutely not. He just got off the subject and talked about college football itself and the Cam Newton situation and things like that. I told him Cam Newton was a great player, but I don’t know anything about the situation because I was there in 2003.”
The questions came as somewhat of a surprise to McIntyre. Like most everyone else he’s seen his school get slung through the mud this season by fans and even some supposed credible journalists, but to get that question directed at him was something he didn’t expect.
“After the Cam Newton situation people might have their jokes about players getting paid, but for a real media outlet to try to do something like that out of the blue was kind of shocking,” McIntyre said. “Nobody has ever directly asked if me or anybody else got paid while we were at Auburn. It was kind of shocking for a stranger just to ask that.”
McIntyre said he’s spoken with several former teammates who got a phone call from HBO and he made it a point to call several guys as well to get their take on the situation. Just like him they said they never saw anything underhanded while on the Plains.
“A couple of teammates said they got called and asked the same questions as well,” McIntyre said. “Saying ‘off the record this and off the record that.’ He got the same answers that at Auburn it doesn’t go down like that. From what I know and what I have seen it doesn’t go down like that at Auburn.”
One of the top recruits in the country and the subject of a heated recruiting battle between Auburn, Tennessee and Alabama, Carnell Williams would be the perfect candidate for something like that to occur seeing all the hype surrounding him. McIntyre said the current Tampa Bay Buc sees things just like him when they talked about things very recently.
“Me and Cadillac (Carnell Williams) were talking yesterday and with him being one of the top players in the country and the top player in the state of Alabama that’s definitely not the case at Auburn,” McIntyre said of players getting paid. “You look at the players like Carlos Rogers having his old Honda Accord half spray painted and Cadillac having his old Camaro. It’s not just cars but if you’re getting paid like than then everybody is not going to be driving around in a junky vehicle and not really having any money to do what they want to do.
“If you’re getting paid it’s going to be obvious. From my time at Auburn and through now with the guys there the program speaks for itself. If you go to a Tiger Walk and to a game that’s going to be enough said. Nine times out of 10 if you’re on campus for a game then you’re going to have Auburn in your top two or three. The university speaks for itself. All that pay for play crap, it doesn’t go down like that at Auburn University.”
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