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Auburn to investigate claims

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — 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 told the show, which aired Wednesday night, he got about $300 or $400 after games, and got four bags totaling $4,000 after logging four sacks against Alabama in 2004. He said he received cash during "money handshakes" with LSU and Michigan State and received sexual favors during a visit to Ohio State.

Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray are the other players. Gray said he received $2,500 to $3,000 from an Auburn representative when he was recruited. Ramsey said he got $5,000 to $6,000 at Auburn.

"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," athletic director Jay Jacobs said Wednesday. "We … will spare no resources to find the truth."

Auburn coach Gene Chizik was defensive coordinator from 2002-04, when McClover and Reddick were there. Neither he nor any other person was named by the players. Wednesday, Chizik dismissed the report as "pure garbage."

The SEC said that representatives from Auburn, LSU and the SEC "have communicated with the NCAA Enforcement Staff."

A Michigan State spokesman said, "Our compliance office was never alerted to this alleged handshake." Ohio State declined comment. Joe Alleva, LSU's vice chancellor and athletic director, said LSU "vigorously enforces NCAA and SEC rules and we work diligently to educate boosters on NCAA rules compliance."

Tressel apologizes

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State coach Jim Tressel apologized for letting people down and acknowledged he might be viewed as a cheater because of NCAA violations that resulted in a five-game suspension.

"I suppose there could be some that might feel that way and there might be others who might not," he said.

Ohio State recommended he be suspended for five games for failing to report that his players sold memorabilia and received improper benefits. The NCAA could levy more penalties.

fiesta on outs? The BCS could boot the Fiesta Bowl from the lucrative bowl system used to crown a national champion if warranted, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. The Fiesta Bowl released an internal report showing "excessive compensation, nonbusiness and inappropriate expenditures and inappropriate gifts" and fired longtime CEO and president John Junker. Hancock said he had "absolutely no indication" of similar behavior by the other BCS bowls — the Rose, Orange and Sugar.

obituary: Jim Seymour, a receiver at Notre Dame in the 1960s who formed a potent combination with QB Terry Hanratty, died Tuesday at 64. When Notre Dame won the national title in 1966, Mr. Seymour caught 48 passes with eight touchdowns.

Auburn to investigate claims 03/30/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 31, 2011 12:40am]

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