‘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…

Your Call: Is Bryant Gumbel a “Real Sports” Fan?

As Bryant Gumbel’s HBO show is called Real Sports, I thought it’d be interesting to ask you, the typical sports fan and potential viewer of his HBO show, if you think Gumbel’s views on sports represent something you want to watch on television.

Bryant Gumbel HBO Real Sports

(Full text of commentary at bottom of post - thanks Dan & Paul)

In Gumbel’s most recent commentary for the show, which aired last night, you will find these comments about the World Cup:

  • I love that the referees don’t stop the action to let replays warp their beautiful game.
  • I love the single names: Ronaldo, Kaka, Drogba — all of which sound a lot more elegant than Manny, Pudge and Big Baby.
  • I love that at the World Cup, there are sporting people representing cultures from all over the world and befitting grownups … at least we’ve one pocket of sanity, if only for two more weeks.
  • I love how they mimic NBA stars and go down dramatically, as if they have been shot whenever they are fouled.
  • I even love the vuvuzelas. Yes, they are noisy, but they are preferable to the deafening din of the weekly Billy Bob 500

Now that you’ve read that …

Would you tune in to see Bryant Gumbel host HBO’s “Real Sports”?

View Results

Full text of Gumbel’s commentary is below.

Read more…

Bryant Gumbel Being Treated For Lung Cancer

While filling in for Regis Philbin today on Live! With Regis & Kelly, Bryant Gumbel revealed he has lung cancer.

Bryant Gumbel Announced This Morning He Has Lung Cancer

(Gumbel with wife Hilary Quinlan)

The 61-year-old Gumbel had a malignant tumor removed from in his chest in a surgical procedure last month. Gumbel said a portion of his lung was removed and he will be following up with his surgeon next week. Read more…

Jamaican Ski Team Exists, Actually Pretty Decent

America likes to invent sports and force them into the Olympics. It makes us happy to see our country win more medals, and see the French fall down a lot. The 2010 Winter Olympics will feature skier cross, which is a hybrid of cross-country skiing, and obstacle course, and awesomeness. You guessed it: it got its start at the X Games. But what nobody could have guessed, unless they went to the movies in the early 90s, is that Jamaica is planning on fielding a team.

Cool Runnings Cast

(Oh, like you could’ve resisted running this picture.)

Errol Kerr and Gregg Samuels, the entire Jamaican ski team, have a couple of disadvantages. Their names are not nearly as memorable as Sanka Coffie or Yul Brenner, and they come from a country without snow. They’re getting around this handicap by training in the US, as well as with “dry land exercises.” And if I were any good at photoshop, you’re damn right I’d post a picture of two men with 2×4s strapped to their feet getting pulled by a team of dogs down a city sidewalk. (Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s push-cart time - after the jump.)

Read more…

Goodbye, Gumbel: Bryant Bolts From NFL Network

Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK reports that Bryant Gumbel is bidding adieu to the NFL Network.

Bryant Gumbel NFL Network

The lead play-by-play announcer during the network’s first two years of existence is apparently hanging up the mike. In a released statement, Gumbel explains that he “thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity” to call games on NFLN, but added that he & the network “agreed that we’d all be better served going in different directions.”

Creative differences? Or a cute way to say you were canned? Either way, Bryant is bidding adieu. But it might have been his earlier comments about Gene Upshaw that could have paved the way for his eventual exit.

Read more…