‘Pay-For-Play’ HBO Trailer: Ex-Auburn Player Talks

On Feb. 22 I broke the news that during production of an HBO Real Sports special on the business and ethics of high profile college athletics, former Auburn football player Stanley McClover had told an HBO interviewer that a former Auburn assistant coach had provided him extra benefits that would be considered outside of NCAA rules.

Auburn football player Troy Reddick appears in HBO Real Sports Episode

McClover’s claims about the arrangement were subsequently debunked by his high school coach and former Auburn teammates.

We’ve since learned that the Real Sports episode on college athletics, which debuts on HBO on March 30, will be broken into three parts. From an HBO press release:

Two long-form segments anchor the program, setting the stage for an extended roundtable panel hosted by Bryant Gumbel and featuring former University of Michigan head football coach Rich Rodriguez, outspoken college basketball commentator Billy Packer, print journalist Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com and former Ivy League Athletics Commissioner Jeff Orleans. The group will address a host of issues relating to the NCAA and the regulation of its 1,055 member schools.

The “two long-form segments” include:

The Money Trail: Every year, thousands of talented young student-athletes sign letters of intent and obtain full-ride athletic scholarships (tuition and board) from the biggest, wealthiest programs in America, effectively giving up all rights to revenue generated by their participation, including TV rights fees, merchandising and ticket sales. But with a dramatic increase in revenue from top programs and athletes’ growing awareness of their contribution, many are starting to ask if there should be financial compensation. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg examines the notion of student-athletes remaining untainted amateurs while generating pro-type revenue for their schools. Are they getting a fair shake?

Pay to Play: Should athletes at Division I programs be financially compensated? And would that curb the headline-grabbing stories of inappropriate payments and benefits? More and more standout athletes in top programs are seemingly putting their education on the back burner to focus on what’s really important ? the money. Those destined for the NBA and NFL face the moral dilemma of dealing with “advisors” and “street agents” who can deliver the funds and material items they desire while in school in exchange for a promise of future reciprocation when they reach the pros. REAL SPORTS correspondent Andrea Kremer delves into the controversial and complex subject of premium college-bound athletes receiving benefits that are prohibited by the NCAA.

Immediately following the March 30 presentation of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, at 11:00 p.m. (ET), viewers can log on to hbo.com/realsports for an exclusive “overtime” webcast segment, in which the roundtable panel will continue the discussion and answer questions from viewers.

HBO is currently airing a promotional trailer for the scheduled broadcast which does not include McClover but does feature another former Auburn player and an ex-Alabama football player.

Former Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro is shown in the promotional video being interviewed by Goldberg.

In the HBO preview clip, Prothro and Goldberg have this exchange: Read more…

Ex-Bama Star Tyrone Prothro Now a Bank Teller

Five years ago today in a game against Florida, former Alabama star receiver and kick returner Tyrone Prothro suffered a horrific leg injury that is burned into the memory of not just Crimson Tide football fans, but anyone who remembers seeing the play.

Tyrone Prothro

The injury came in the fourth quarter of a 31-3 blowout of the then-No. 5 Gators in Tuscaloosa. Prothro recently described the play to Jason Galloway of the Univ. of Alabama’s THE CRIMSON WHITE student newspaper:

It was all the starters’ last play,” said Prothro, who had 134 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the game. “The DBs were playing aggressive, so we called a hitch-and-go. I had him beat by at least five yards.”

But an underthrown ball allowed Florida cornerback Dee Webb to catch up and bump Prothro while he was in the air. After an awkward landing, a Bryant-Denny crowd that had been erupting all game was suddenly in a silent shock.

During the landing, Prothro literally snapped the tibia and fibula in his left leg. The gruesome injury ended his playing career - though Galloway reports that at the time, Prothro was unaware of the gravity of what had happened:

Even Prothro had no idea how serious it was. As a cart carried him off the playing field for the final time, the Tide’s most electric player lifted his hands. He motioned the crowd to break its silence, allowing everybody, including himself, to believe that everything was going to be OK.

What followed was a months worth of surgery and then years of excruciating rehab.

He took his initial redshirt season in 2006 and a medical redshirt year in 2007. His last chance at playing for Alabama came in 2008. When the realization set in that he still had no chance of playing his senior season, he gave up his athletic scholarship.

Five years later to the day, Prothro, who currently works as a bank teller at a Tuscaloosa Regions bank location, says he’s still considering trying pro football. Read more…