Heath Evans: Ex-Auburn players who said they were paid are liars


The HBO report saying football players got paid at Auburn in violation of NCAA rules has drawn some attention in the NFL, including a harsh reaction today from former Auburn player Heath Evans, who is accusing the former Auburn players who said they were paid of making it all up.

“Everybody wants their 15 minutes of fame,” Evans said this morning on the Dan Patrick Show, referring to the former players who talked to HBO. “Obviously their football fame has passed them up, probably because of their play, hence the fact that they probably didn’t get paid to play because they weren’t good enough to get paid to play. At the end of the day, it’s ridiculous as best.”

Evans said he knows the players who say they were paid are lying because if players were getting paid at Auburn, Evans himself would have been offered something.

“There was no one that did more there for Auburn than I did during my three years there. Never once did I get a $100 handshake or anything else that came out of these guys’ mouths,” Evans said. “People can say that’s because you were white, blue-collar from Palm Beach, Florida, and you didn’t need money but that still doesn’t hold water. I know the guys who recruited them — they were the same guys who recruited me.”

Frankly, Evans came across like he was protesting too much. He may be telling the truth when he says that he never heard of any type of improper benefits going to Auburn players, but he has no basis for saying he knows the players who say they were paid are lying.

Furthermore, Evans went off the rails when asked about accusations that Auburn steered players into easy majors where their class schedules won’t interfere with football practice. Asked about that, Evans suggested that coaches were doing that only to help “stupid” players graduate.

“Maybe the kid was stupid and they knew he signed up for something he’d never pass,” Evans said. “They took the graduation rate very, very seriously.”

Evans said that as if it’s a good thing for coaches to pressure players to take classes they’ll pass in order to boost the graduation rate. In reality, as the New York Times reported in 2006, Auburn football players were graduating at a high rate largely because they were given credit for independent study classes that involved little or no work. Auburn has since canceled the independent study program for football players, and its football graduation rate has plummeted as a result.

So as Evans assails the credibility of his fellow former Auburn players, his own comments seem to lack credibility. But Evans will continue to insist that the HBO report was fueled by lies.

“A liar is a liar,” Evans said. “I have no doubt about that whatsoever.”

53 responses to “Heath Evans: Ex-Auburn players who said they were paid are liars

  1. Evans himself said:

    “…hence the fact that they probably didn’t get paid to play because they weren’t good enough to get paid to play.”

    Um, wouldn’t that be tantamount to an acknowledgment that ‘some’ players were in fact paid?

    Just askin?

  2. I have a cousin who played basketball at Auburn (he was good but never pro material), he told me about at these money handshakes after games and this was 20+ years ago (he also mentioned that they were asked to wear suits before greeting the boosters – still don’t understand the significance but it was part of the story). I have no idea what goes on now, but I take him at his word and he certainly had no reason to lie to me. However, I will point out that he wasn’t trying to say anything bad about Auburn, in fact his point was that paying of athletes goes on at just about every school involved in major college athletics in some fashion whether it be cars or just a few hundred bucks (at the time we were discussing another school or athlete that was being investigated and he was using his experience as an example).

  3. Heath was the guy yelling at the other players to shut up regarding the lockout, and now he needs to follow his own advice. He really seems to have a “better than thou” attitude that has worn thin on my ears..

  4. Evans played there, but just because he didn’t get paid doesn’t mean others didn’t. I’ve posted here before, I was offered things(even by DIII school), had friends given things and seen boosters give cash handshakes. Anyone(including Evans) that doesn’t think this stuff goes on is either A) Toeing the line or B) Blind.

  5. I can’t believe that anyone even asks Heath Evans what he thinks. Wouldn’t doubt players are getting paid. Definitely have academic issues there.

  6. he’s talking about the fact that they weren’t good enough to get paid at the next level. if the former Auburn players that are in the NFL weren’t getting paid, why would the scrubs be getting $1000 handshakes.

    but by all means, keep spinning.

  7. “Maybe the kid was stupid and they knew he signed up for something he’d never pass,” Evans said. “They took the graduation rate very, very seriously.”

    Judging by this statement i would take it that evans was one of those players …..

    Its quite obvious at this point that something was wrong at Auburn, lets just hope the NCAA doesn’t vacate another title especially in a year when IMO the best team in the country wasn’t even in the title game.

    Also perhaps it is time to start giving college players some form of payment for playing. Its is only more than obvious why the best teams stay the best teams at this point. it is because they make the have the most money to pay kids. But if the NCAA was able to pay every kid who plays an equal share some of this would drop off and encourage more parity as kids could go to any school to get paid

  8. Every time I hear Heath Evans open his mouth I’m reminded of Brian Fantana’s unforgettable words of wisdom to Champ Kind in Anchorman:

    “Take it easy, Champ. Why don’t you sit this next one out, stop talking for a while”.

  9. Except he’s got a point. One of Reddick’s fellow offensive line starters, Jonathan Palmer was in the exact same major as Reddick was . It was never suggested to him to change majors and he graduated (electrical engineering was the major I believe).

    Athletes have a lot of help getting class schedules that accommodate their athletic obligations. The only reason a player would have a suggestion to change majors is if he’s not cutting it in the major he’s in. If a guy isn’t getting the grades he needs and is in academic jeopardy because he’s pursuing architecture or engineering or something that’s out of his depth, there’s nothing wrong with suggesting something he’s more suited to.

    Reddick was one that constantly had to be goaded and pushed in football just to do the normal things like working out and giving his all in practice. It wouldn’t surprise me if he took that same lax work ethic toward his studies and ended up putting himself in danger of being academically ineligible.

    All that to say, Heath’s “stupid” comments might have been a tad harsh, but the gist of what he’s saying has merit, especially in Reddick’s case.

  10. Also, as someone pointed out, when a guy like Heath Evans, or Lee Ziemba, Ronnie Brown, Travis Williams, Junior Rosegreen, Dontarrious Thomas, Karlos Dansby, Walt McFadden, Cadillac Williams, Jason Campbell or any number of other key contributors all say they weren’t getting paid, it stretches the bounds of logic to think that four guys with so-so to zero contributions by comparison were. Auburn’s got this pay to play idea completely ass-backwards if they’re paying future has beens while neglecting the ones who were their stars. Just doesn’t pass the smell test.

  11. Sounds like to me he is more upset at not getting offered money then Auburn being accused of paying players.


    According to Wikipedia… “he finished his three-year career with 149 rushing attempts for 626 yards (4.2 yards per rush) and six touchdowns, and 30 receptions for 354 yards (11.8 yards per reception) and a touchdown.”

    And Heath has the onions to say “There was no one that did more there for Auburn than I did during my three years there”.

    With those stats, he must have been giving the coaches “Money handshakes” to stay on the team..

    Shut Up Heath.

  12. Heath Evans said: “There was no one that did more there for Auburn than I did during my three years there.”

    During his three years at Auburn, Evans had a total of 149 rushing attempts for 626 yards (4.2 yards per rush) and six touchdowns, and 30 receptions for 354 yards (11.8 yards per reception) and a touchdown.

    If nobody did any better than 626 total yards during 3 years, it make sense why they’d have to start recruiting better players. But, truth is, Rudi Johnson went 324 carries for 1567 yards and 13 TD’s just in 2000. That’s a bit “more” than Evans did.

  13. I can see why Evans thinks he would have been offered money….that 1000 yards of total offense and 7 TD’s in 3 years really impressed the boosters.

  14. Please, an NCAA violation probably happens at least once a day if not week in every major program. I doubt people are getting paid 80K in cash that often but players are getting extra benefits all the time.

    BTW, who is Heath Evans? I never heard of the guy for him to be so full of himself.

  15. No amount of *uburn spin can change what has been alleged. Its out there, and the NCAA will decide what to do about it. I highly doubt the NCAA cares whether or not Heath Evans thinks they are lying.

  16. Evans contributions to Auburn went far beyond rushing stats. He was a devastating lead blocker and pass protector and he spent half of his career on Auburn teams that were devoid of star talent. He was a big time team leader and captain in his senior year I believe. He’s right…if Auburn was paying players, Heath would have been one of the ones getting some money. Along with Karlos Dansby, Carlos Rogers, Ben Obomanu, Devin Aromashodu, Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown. And all of them say these players are full of crap.

  17. By the way – why would anyone currently in the NFL, in good standing with the university, ever say a word?

    The logic used here is shocking.

    Have you ever kept your mouth shut simply to protect your own standing?

    Have you ever kept your mouth shut during an argument between two friends simply to avoid being involved in the fracas?

    To sit here and knock the credibility of the statements because they aren’t currently playing in the NFL is outstandingly stupid.

    Then again, so are most NFL fans.

  18. Heath Evans is a blowhard, Skip Bayless wannabe. “There was no on that did more there for Auburn than i did during my three years there.” Wow. Sounds a little like Brett Favre too.

  19. helinhater,

    to ignore the fact that these former scrubs have an agenda/motivation to come forward($, college not working out as planned for them, no NFL career to fall back on) is even more outstandingly stupid.

  20. Why do they need “standing” with AU anymore? They’re set financially already.

    His point makes sense…if they weren’t good enough to actually get paid in the league, what makes you think they were good enough to get paid in college, especially when they weren’t anywhere close to the best players on their respective teams and the ones that were say they never got paid?

    Sorry, I find it hard to believe Ronnie Brown drove a burnt out ’94 Honda Accord while the likes of Troy Reddick and McClover were getting bags of cash.

  21. Heath don’t look now…you say you wasn’t getting paid then, well you’re not getting paid now either. I think you need to worry about your present situation with the NFL lockout.

  22. Does anybody honestly think that this stuff ISN’T happening to some degree at most if not all major football and basketball programs in the NCAA??

  23. Really guys, who cares? This stuff has been going on for decades. It is the coaches with questionable recruiting tactics that win in all NCAA sports and as long as the school is getting the BCS or Final 4 check, the administration turns a blind eye to it. The name of the game is do what you can to win, but don’t get caught. Look at Lou Holtz with Notre Dame. He was known to bring in players with questionable character, then steer them towards classes like “underwater basket weaving.” John Calipari, one of the most successful NCAA basketball coaches, has the NCAA up his A$$ everywhere he goes, but he wins. Even the unflappable Jim Tressel ignored wrongdoing in order to win. This stuff goes on every single day and it shouldn’t even be news by now.

  24. Evans sounds like a snitch. I wouldn’t tell him if I was a player getting some money under the table. He would probably tell and I would stop getting money. And why would he say anything to incriminate his former school.

  25. The real issue is what prompted the Auburn players to come forward NOW? Was this their true effort to get PAID ( by HBO) ? Most alumni would not want to piss off their alma mater – and recent National Champion – unless there was something BIG in it for them. Perhaps HBO made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Whether their dstory is true ot not, something doesn’t pass the stink test here.

  26. Counterpoint — What would Evans have to fear by incriminating his former school? He’s graduated and he’s made plenty of $$ in the NFL. Not like he needs Auburn for anything.

  27. Mr.media darling, Charles Barkley admitted on the DP show he took money while at Auburn. Do we really think things have changed since the early 80’s…those with the money have only gotten more creative.
    And just because a guy says he didn’t take money,it doesn’t mean cash didn’t make its way into the hands of roommates,girlfriends,tutors,student trainers, etc who wound up paying for things when out and about in their towns for these guys.

  28. I love the slanted tone to this article. As a writer, they should be subjective every now and then. To insist that he loses credibility because he hit the nail on the head with people getting paid demonstrates Michael David Smith’s bias. If you can’t figure out that three of those players never were anything special and thus didn’t earn a “money handshake” then that is on your ignorance. Good or great players would be more likely to get those handshakes. Not back ups or scrubs. Not to mention their is no proof. Meanwhile, you have Ohio State who is on record (from the same accusations) who has proof of wrong doing and yet your hyper-focusing on HBO’s report about Auburn. Time to let your Cam Newton frustrtions subside and look at this with a subjective eye dude.

    Finally, what schools don’t encourage less bright players to take classes they can pass? Nothing out of the ordinary there. Just use some common sense.

  29. As for the independent study program, Carnell Williams was one of the athletes in question and if I can recall correctly, he stated something like, “I didn’t never do nothing wrong!” Stlll, I feel I’m leaving something out… because he sounded way stupider than that in his statement where he proved the independent study program was a joke due to his complete inability to articulate even the most simple of sentences.

  30. Comparions to Rudi Johnson and other Auburn tailbacks are unfair. Heath Evans was a fullback. They don’t put up tailback like numbers in modern college systems.

    I was a D1 pitcher at an A-10 school, albeit not a top-tier football program, but I can say that I was around all the athletes, parties, boosters, coaches and never heard of or personally saw anyone getting paid. Heath is correct about there not being recruiting parties, rather parties that recruits go to, not sexual favors, but opportuntistic ladies, not money given out, but clothes from sponsors given, not academic cheating, but special tutors and guidance given.

    Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics where these things are seen as “favors” to some and “guidance” to others.

  31. Are they trying to turn this paying players thing a race issue? They only paid the black players. If so, maybe the boosters were trying to pay only the black players as part of the reparation for the slavery in the South during the Civil War.

    I don’t believe they were paid to play. It’s just sour grapes from players careers that fizzled out.

    But, please, let’s not make this another race issue.

  32. He’s just mad that Cam Newton made more in his season at Auburn than Heath has made any year of his pro career.

  33. The most damning evidence against Auburn is the parade of former players & coach PURE GARBAGE chizik’s comments

    all these guys saying there is NO WAY anyone EVER got ANYTHING just reeks of a cover up defense parade

    So those players (claim) they were never paid… but how could they possibly know the situation of every other player or recruit. Note NONE of these guys said things like “I dont think anyone got paid”… they were all demonstrative statements like “PURE GARBAGE” etc then they go on to try to discredit the 4 players who claim they did get money

    100+ players a year… over about 8 years… 800 players + practice squad. Yet Heath Evens knows for a fact that NOT ONE person ever got a dime?

    to me I find that to be the most interesting aspect of the AU response to these accusations.

    Not “we are checking into it and believe these claims are baseless”… but instead, without any investigation they already know it is all “Pure Garbage”


  34. Also

    If McClover got $4000 for all his sacks against Brodie during that Iron Bowl…

    I sure hope he split that loot with Bama LT Chris Capps!!!

  35. @endzonezombie

    “The real issue is what prompted the Auburn players to come forward NOW? Was this their true effort to get PAID ( by HBO) ? Most alumni would not want to piss off their alma mater – and recent National Champion – unless there was something BIG in it for them. Perhaps HBO made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Whether their dstory is true ot not, something doesn’t pass the stink test here.”


    enough with the spin

    HBO doesn’t pay for interviews, so Aubs desperately trying to claim that as motivation for making up lies against their school is beyond moronic

    its really just simple statistics and percentages. If you pay 800 players over a 10 year span, it wont be that hard to find 4 who have become disgruntled and are willing to spill the beans

    and despite 796 players who might come forward and say they didn’t get paid… it only takes 1 to say he did

    HBO found 4… so far

  36. Auburn University- Thank Heath Evans for making this worse. To say the the “Handshakes” don’t exist is crazy. They exist and it’s a cool thing. Those “Handshakes” aren’t enough to make you buy a house, but it’s a simple “Good job today” gesture. So what if it is $200. How much money did the University make that game?

  37. heath & chiz def made them look worse

    the flat out denials of things like $100 handshakes from boosters that go on just about everywhere and would be next to impossible to stop just makes you scratch your head

    in fact, there isn’t much AU or any school can do to police or get rid of $100 handshakes short of locking kids in their dormrooms 24/7

    So this denial of what we all know goes on, just makes them look even more guilty for the more serious accusations… like getting money directly from an assistant coach, or being forced to change your major to not conflict with football

    the players like Heath seem like they have been sent with a prepared statement to deny absolutely everything and its not helping the situation

  38. Everyone’s who is dissing Health Evans clearly doesn’t know football

    That being said… 😉

    I agree with you Heath! I think they are lying.

    In fact I think they’re getting paid to lie!


  39. Heath Evans has the right to defend his school, but he acts as if he was monitoring the school 24/7 when he was Seattle, New England, Miami, or New Orleans.

    He doesn’t have that high of credibility because a player who last wore an Auburn uniform during the 2000 season doesn’t realistically have that tight of relationships with players who played in 2005 & 2006. Especially, when their relationships are going to be tighter with their actual teammates at the time.

    Evans can act “holier than thou” as much as he wants, but if he comes off that way in front of the younger players he mentioned to Dan Patrick (i.e. Ronnie Brown, Stanley McClover) then he shouldn’t be surprised that they could be lying to him.

    There are fear inducing parents in this country and the kids who sneak off and smoke pot or drink underage will lie to not look bad or let them down.

    For Evans to act like a Mr. Know-it-All is a complete joke because when one does so then his or her level of naiveté is equal or greater than a child’s.

    It’s also a disgrace that the “holier than thou” Evans craps on a guy like Stanley McClover because those who keep emphasizing morality and that other thing known as a “bunch of crap” are supposed to appreciate it when a guy like McClover at least publicly takes responsibility for his mistakes.

    McClover told Andrea Kremer that “it’s all on me” and if he passed the litmus test that has helped ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel’ win 21 Emmys in 15 years, then Evans is a fool for ripping these younger players the way he did, especially when they hate school more and are relieved to get out compared to former players of earlier time periods.

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