MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Auburn will investigate claims by four former football players, who have told HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" they received thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the Tigers.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Auburn will investigate claims by four former football players, who have told HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" they received thousands of dollars while being recruited by or playing for the Tigers.

Stanley McClover, Troy Reddick, Chaz Ramsey and Raven Gray told HBO for an episode that aired Wednesday night that they received cash payments — in book bags, envelopes and even handshakes. Ramsey played at Auburn most recently, in the 2007 season.

"While HBO confirmed to us they have no proof that any of these claims are true, we contacted both the NCAA and Southeastern Conference as soon as these allegations surfaced," Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said in a statement released Wednesday night. "We have engaged outside counsel to investigate this matter and will spare no resources to find the truth."

University President Jay Gogue said he is confident Jacobs and his department "will investigate these allegations thoroughly and completely."

Tommy Tuberville, Auburn's coach during the recruitment of all four players, declined comment Wednesday. He is now the head coach at Texas Tech.

McClover said he "felt totally obligated" to play for the Tigers after getting money — he wasn't sure how much — in a book bag.

"I almost passed out. I literally almost passed out, I couldn't believe it was true," the former defensive end told HBO. "I felt like I owed them."

McClover said he later received $7,000 from an unidentified Auburn booster for a 1973 Chevrolet Impala and would get sacks of money, typically $300 or $400, after games. He said he got four bags totaling $4,000 after logging four sacks against rival Alabama in 2004, when he was a first-team All-Southeastern Conference player.