Rich Rodriguez appears on HBO's Real Sports; 'money handshakes' alleged against boosters at Michigan State and Ohio State
Former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez appeared on the HBO show "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on Wednesday night.
The hour-long show was dedicated to a single topic, which it touted as "the state of big-time college sports in America." At its core, the show was questioning whether college athletes should be paid.
Rodriguez was part of a panel discussion that was asked if athletes were treated fairly considering the huge revenue that college football and basketball generates.
"Those young folks are being offered opportunities to be able to help them for their next job," Rodriguez said during the show. "As coaches, recruiters and universities, they need to make sure that this is what you're going to school for."
FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock, a former Ann Arbor News sports writer, was part of the panel. He summed up his feelings on the issues in a column titled "Greedy NCAA still exploiting athletes."
In it, he writes: "The system is broken. No one believes in the integrity of the NCAA rule book. Most fair-minded people don’t believe the athletes are getting a fair shake. Many of them are unprepared to be educated in college, and the demands on their time compromise their ability to catch up or keep pace academically."
Also in the show, former Auburn football player Stanley McClover said he received “money handshakes” from boosters while being recruited by a number of college football programs, including Big Ten schools Ohio State and Michigan State.
Michigan State associate athletic director John Lewandowski said "our compliance office was never alerted to this alleged handshake" and declined further comment in a Grand Rapids Press story.
McClover, who would have been recruited while Bobby Williams was coaching at MSU, also said he received sexual favors while on a recruiting visit to Ohio State. Jim Tressel was the head coach at Ohio State and current Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio was his defensive coordinator.
He originally committed to Ohio State in 2003, but switched to Auburn when he allegedly received a book bag full of money.
McClover was one of four Auburn players interviewed who said they were given cash by alumni and boosters. Auburn coach Gene Chizik has since called the report "pure garbage" and athletic director Jay Jacobs said the school would conduct its own investigation.
Rodriguez was also a part a web-only “Overtime” segment of the show, during which he commented on the NCAA's Committee on Infractions, a group that he met face-to-face in August.
Rodriguez said he believes members of the committee "truly have the best interest of the student-athletes at heart," but that "sometimes the people that are investigating truly don’t know the ins and outs of college athletics, so they’re going in kind of blind."
Here is the "Overtime" segment, courtesy of HBO: