Talk about a day from hell, eh?It has already been revealed today that the NCAA has expanded their investigation into Auburn's recruiting practices, that the trees at Toomer's Corner have been poisoned and will likely die, and that defensive line coach Tracy Rocker will be leaving for the NFL. And now we have reports indicating that the rumored investigation of the Cam Newton melodrama by HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is indeed legitimate. Per Sports by Brooks:
Today I learned that for that past month representatives of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel have repeatedly asked Rogers for a sitdown interview to further discuss his involvement with Cam Newton’s recruitment. Recently, Rogers agreed, and will be interviewed on March 1 with the visit to air on a yet-to-be determined date.
That date of the Rogers interview on HBO may depend on the cooperation of former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond and ex-MSU player and booster Bill Bell. HBO has also been pressing them for sitdowns the past month, but so far neither has agreed to participate.
Bond stated on the air last night on a 'Bama homer's radio show the following:
"They’ve (HBO) wore me out for a month and I think Bill and I have decided we’re just going to hold off. For right now. We’re going to sit around and see what happens.
"It’s a situation nobody wants to be in .. it’s unbelievable what’s going on and we’ll figure it out and it’ll all come out and everything will be fine in the end."
The potential HBO special has been out on the rumor mill for the past couple of weeks, and it has also been rumored that both Bond and Bell have been approached to get them to interview for the show, but this is the first item I've seen to date that legitimately confirms either of those two rumors. Nothing has been explicitly confirmed by HBO, to the best of my knowledge, but with this latest tidbit from Bond you can probably move this further away from the "unsubstantiated rumor" category and move it closer to the "partially-confirmed fact" category.
Moving forward, it makes you wonder exactly what all of this means. Normally I would say that the NCAA doesn't care a great deal about what either Bond or Bell say, but it seems relatively clear to me that both Bond and Bell know something that they have not released publicly yet. Presumably if they were just going to re-hash the information they made public four months ago, HBO would not be pursuing them vigorously to get them to appear on the show, nor would they be torn on whether or not to appear. Quite a few people have taken this as, in effect, Bond and Bell implying that they will remain silent if the NCAA acts accordingly, but that if the NCAA is hesitant to act in a manner they feel appropriate they will come forward publicly with additional information. Whether or not that's true is a question on which reasonable minds could differ, I suppose, but it certainly would explain the posture taken to date by both HBO and Bond / Bell.
In any event, the totality of events continue to turn south for Auburn. It's bad enough that the investigation into the recruitment of Cam Newton is ongoing and that an additional investigation has been launched regarding the recruitments of Greg Robinson and Trovon Reed, but now you can add to that HBO apparently planning on doing an investigative piece on the recruitment of Cam Newton. Furthermore, this isn't exactly uncharted territory for Real Sports either, as they did a similar piece three years ago profiling Lloyd Lake's accusations in the Reggie Bush case. Only time will tell what will ultimately come from this piece, and admittedly nothing may ultimately come of it, but at the very least it's something no program wants to have hanging over it and clearly something which nothing good can result.