Auburn, Ala.--On Tuesday night reports surfaced that ex-Auburn football players Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey, Stanley McClover and Raven Gray have claimed in interviews for HBO’s Real Sports television program that they received money from unnamed boosters as recruits or while at Auburn.
That episode of Real Sports is scheduled to air on cable for the first time at 9 p.m. CDT on Wednesday.
Lee Ziemba, a 2010 All-American offensive tackle who set an Auburn record for the most games started by any player, made it clear he is skeptical of the accusations.
“I started 52 games in the SEC,” Ziemba told Inside the Auburn Tigers on Wednesday. “I was part of a 14-0 national championship team. I played here four years. I walked out the same doors and locker room doors after games that these fellows did. I hung out with them after games.
“I was recruited by the same coaches just as hard as they were, and I didn’t see a dime from anyone--not from a booster, not from the school, not from a fan, not from anybody,” said Ziemba, a high school All-American who had scholarship offers from colleges from around the nation.
“The way I figure it is the guys who are coming out obviously have a bone to pick with the university,” Ziemba adds. “I don’t know why. Maybe they didn’t think they were treated fairly.
“None of this happened,” Ziemba added. “It’s just a story that is going to sell some subscriptions to HBO. That’s all it is.”
Ziemba signs an autograph for a young fan after the 2011 Senior Bowl Game in Mobile.
Another former player, wide receiver Jeris McIntyre, said he was approached by someone who claimed he was working for HBO and tried to get him to him make comments critical of the Auburn football program.
I didn’t really have any idea,” McIntyre said of getting the unexpected contact. “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 said. “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.”
Jeris McIntyre is shown at his pro day workout in 2004.
McIntyre added that knows of dozens of former players who were contacted trying to dig up dirt on the Tigers, who won the 2010 national championship, but those players were just like him in defending the program against allegations of improper conduct.
Of the four players reported to be part of the HBO program, offensive tackle Reddick and defensive end McClover were the ones who saw significant playing time at Auburn.
Reddick and teammate Marcus McNeil were both considered NFL?prospects at tackle. McNeil has become a star for the San Diego Chargers and Reddick did not make an NFL?team.
McClover left Auburn early to enter the NFL draft. A seventh round pick for the Carolina Panthers, he was active for just 13 games in two years for the Panthers and made 12 tackles one sack before being cut. He was signed by the Houston Texans, but was cut by that team without playing a down.
Ramsey started 10 games as a freshman in 2007 as part of an offensive front that included Ziemba, who was also a freshman that season. Ramsey never played after that due to a back problem. Deciding to put the blame on Auburn for his injury, he sued former AU offensive line coach Hugh Nall and former trainer Arnold Gamber. That lawsuit was dismissed in early February of 2010.
Coming out of Enterprise High, Gray signed with Auburn but failed to qualify academically and attended Copiah-Lincoln Junior College in Mississippi. His second year there he suffered a knee injury that required surgery and was never the same after that. He re-signed with Auburn, but stayed at Auburn briefly after having off the field issues. He left the team prior to the 2008 season.
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