My family was paid at Mississippi State, Renardo Sidney says

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One of the more recurrent refrains over the last year as the federal investigation into corruption into college basketball unfolded and moved to the courtroom has been that what’s on trial now has been going on for years. Decades.

Renardo Sidney can back that up.

The former top recruit who became a cautionary tale after he went undrafted told his story of agents, money and his college career at Mississippi State that began nearly 10 years ago in a podcast appearance with Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.

“I was getting money,” Sidney said. “I don’t know how much. They weren’t giving it to me. They were giving it to my mom.

“I remember my mom used to come all the way down there (to MIssissippi State) probably once a month. I never asked her how much we were getting.”

Sidney didn’t specifically say where the money was coming from or how much it was. Mississippi State was coached at the time by Rick Stansbury, who stepped down from his position at the school in 2012 and is about to enter his third season as the head coach at Western Kentucky after an assistant coaching stint.

Neither Mississippi State nor Western Kentucky immediately responded to requests for comment made by NBC Sports.

Sidney said that while he was a high schooler, his family lived in a $1.4 million home in Los Angeles, where he was a target for sports agents who wanted to eventually represent him.

“It was agents that would want to come sit down and talk to me,” Sidney said, “but my dad would charge them.”

Sidney said he was told by one agent that his father charged the agent $1,500 for that conversation.

Sidney was eventually suspended for his whole freshman season of 2009-10 due to receiving improper benefits. That time off was destructive for him, he said.

“I gained 30, 40 pounds,” Sidney said. “I smoked a lot of weed.

Sidney’s collegiate career never got off the ground, and he went undrafted to begin a professional career that never truly materialized either.

Sidney, 28, has a two-year-old son and is currently training players in the Los Angeles area. Count him as among the growing number of people clamoring for college athletes to have the opportunity to profit from their talent.

“They make a lot of money off these kids,” Sidney said. “You’re selling-out all the basketball, football games. I think you should pay these kids. At the end of the day … these kids getting money, it’s going to keep happening. It’s not going to stop right now. It’s probably going to get worse.

“Just pay them. I wish we were getting paid.”