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Friday, November 12, 2010

TV report: Newton's dad admits to talking about money with ex-MSU player

Updated at 10:00 p.m. with new TV report out of Atlanta:
AUBURN, Ala. — As rumors swirled about his eligibility, Auburn’s Cam Newton boarded the team bus on his way to Montgomery for an overnight stay Friday, a sign the Tigers quarterback is expected to play today against Georgia.

Meanwhile, according to an TV report out of Atlanta by Mark Winne, an unnamed source said Cam's father, Cecil, admitted to having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State player about the possibility of under-the-table payments last year, although he maintained his son, wife and Auburn knew nothing about it.

The news comes a little more than a week after an ESPN.com report said former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond said he was approached by a former teammate asking for $180,000 from the Bulldogs to secure the quarterback's signature during the recruiting process last year.

ESPN.com identified the former teammate as Kenny Rogers. Rogers said on the radio Thursday that he knew of Cecil's request but merely relayed the information to a booster, Bill Bell, who acknowledged to ESPN that Cecil solicited money.

When interviewed last week after initial reports emerged, Cecil denied any wrongdoing. He has since not taken phone calls.

Winne's source, who admitted being sympathetic for the Newtons, said Cecil said no money ever changed hands and no Mississippi State official ever made such an offer. The source also said the family has shown a willingness to cooperate with the NCAA.

According to the NCAA, a violation is committed the moment an athlete or athlete’s family solicits extra benefits. Potential penalties are based on the type and scope of the violation. The athlete’s responsibility is also considered.

Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin released a statement Friday night confirming for the first time that the school was approached with an offer to provide an extra benefit during the recruitment of an unidentified student-athlete, presumably Newton.

"This offer was refused," Stricklin wrote. "MSU alerted the Southeastern Conference about the offer. MSU did not have any specific incriminating information about any other school, and thus could not provide any."

Mississippi State turned the information over to the SEC last January, leading to an NCAA investigation that is ongoing. Auburn, which looked into the matter this summer after being made aware of MSU’s report to the conference, has not specifically been accused of wrongdoing.

Cam seemed unaffected by the rumors Friday, wearing formal attire and a wide smile while boarding the team bus amidst a large gathering of Auburn fans at the school's athletic complex. Players aren’t allowed to travel with the team for the out-of-town hotel stay the night before games if they are ineligible.

Earlier in the day, the Birmingham News and AuburnUndercover.com cited unnamed sources who said Newton will start for the Tigers today.

Auburn did not officially comment on Newton’s status Friday. Asked if Newton is still eligible, school spokesman Kirk Sampson replied, “No comment.”

The school has not commented publicly on Newton’s status since Wednesday, when head coach Gene Chizik said during the SEC teleconference that the quarterback is eligible and would play against Georgia.

The NCAA can recommend to a school what it should about an athlete’s eligibility, but the rules say a school makes the ultimate decision.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive, who had been mum on the issue until Friday, told the Birmingham News that the conference has not made a recommendation to Auburn about whether or not to sit Newton today.

He urged the public not to draw any conclusions until all the facts are known.

“I hope that people will reserve judgment in fairness to the SEC, in fairness to the institutions and most importantly in fairness to the young man,” Slive said. “I hope people will exercise thought and patience before making those decisions. I’m concerned about fairness. This has to do with fairness.”

Slive said the only group that has all the facts is the NCAA.

“There’s been a lot of things said,” he said. “There’s been some inconsistencies. There’s been some credibility issues. But we’re not in the place where we judge those.”


Aubiester said...

I think Mike Slive just made a lot of Auburn fans feel a whole lot better tonight. Sounds like to this POINT Auburn is free and clear. Let's just hope the trash in Mississippi stays in Mississippi.

McGlynn does not bend rules in compliance at AU. If he thought Newton was a risk HE WOULD NOT BE PLAYING.

jim said...

Andy, my take on this whole mess is that some wayward things happened in Starkville. MSU, perhaps afraid they didn't report things promptly did so when they realized Cam wasn't going to wear maroon. Father probably realized this was not a god thing, and Cam headed to auburn to play for Gus. No money changed hands obviously because Cam is a Tiger. Auburn perhaps got wind of issue at some point and reported it to the SEC or NCAA. Auburn has done nothing wrong. We don't know what happened in Starkville
But we will soon. Cam could be ineligible which would hurt auburn. Am I in the ballpark?

MikeP said...

Since Mike Slive found it necessary to chastise MSU for dragging their feet and filing incomplete reports, I'd say they have a problem in Starkville.

Unless they can prove that Cam Newton took money, there is no danger of him being determined ineligible. His father asking for money and not getting it (If that happened, which is dubious at best) won't matter.
That's my opinion after wasting way too much time on way too many internet sites.

Clint Richardson said...

MikeP, if you've read the same website reports that I have, you should've noted that NCAA rule states that any family member or 'agent' that even asks for money, they immediatly commit a violation. So, Goldberg's article that said this had nothing to do with Auburn, and that Cecil asking for money didn't matter, well, it does. This still has everything to with Cam and Auburn. With Mike Slive coming out today, I can't really believe this Rogers dude. And now Rivals.com has reported that a former MSU player and his mother came out today and said that he steared him wrong and eventually ruined his college and NFL career. This guy can't be trusted.

Hannah Storm said...

"Auburn has done nothing wrong. We don't know what happened in Starkville."

That's quite a leap of faith. Your first statement is on point (at least as far as what is known to date), and what exactly took place in Stark-Vegas is murky at best. That being said, making a claim that the issue is purely between the Newtons and MSU is quite speculative. I have a hard time believing that Cecil Newton would solicit his son's services to MSU (if that is indeed what transpired) and then go and behave like a saint in his dealings with AU. The logic just doesn't add up.

Anonymous said...

This is the best news in 2 days. We MUST put this behind us and show the nation what kind of team we are. Big audience tomorrow. Let's get Cam and Crew!!

Anonymous said...

Slive's statement looks pretty strong. That makes me happy.

Anonymous said...

"Mississippi State turned the information over to the NCAA beginning last January, leading to an investigation that is ongoing." Was this the beginning of the NCAA investigation? MSU went to the NCAA with information, or the NCAA came to MSU to ask for information?

Andy Bitter said...

That should read SEC.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification -- I was getting confused! ;-)

Clint Richardson said...


Call to arms my AU Family!


Someone tell me that Joe Schad needs to keep his job. Someone!

MikeP said...

Quoting Hannah Storm: " I have a hard time believing that Cecil Newton would solicit his son's services to MSU (if that is indeed what transpired) and then go and behave like a saint in his dealings with AU."

According to Bob Stoops and Lane Kiffin he behaved like a saint at Oklahoma and Tennessee as well as at Auburn.

It's starting to smell like MSU offered money, the Newtons turned it down and now MSU is scrambling.

Look at it this way...A player has a choice between Auburn and Oklahoma and he's going to choose...MSU?? I think they knew offering money was their only shot and that blew up in their faces.

Clint, I've seen two lawyers that are familiar with NCAA things say that if nothing actually changed hands, the NCAA has never tried to proceed. It's simply too hard to prove anything.

Clint Richardson said...

Hey AB. MSU's AD came out and talked today. I've read snipits from his conference, so I can't make an oppinion on this. Have you heard what he said?

MikeP, that makes sense. I was just repeating what some reports, AB's including, were stating. I hope your buddies are right, for Cam's sake.

Pat said...

So if MSU claims to be clean how did Cecil Newton get that boosters information? I'm sure a recruiter didn't pass along the boosters info after the money request. Nooooo.... that wouldn't happen at MSU. What a bunch of hypocrites. I've lost a ton of respect for Dan Mullen especially after hearing him on the SEC Coaches Show on Sirius this morning. Absolute fake.

Anonymous said...

CBS in Atlanta is reporting that Cams dad admits to money talk with Rogers but says Cam nor his mother knew. Said no money exchanged hands and that auburn nor muss state coaches were involved.

Lisa said...

Andy- Do you see a reason why he could still be considered eligible..since he didn't know? I would certainly hope that Auburn knew about this before this hit the media at 9:30 EST.

Aubiester said...


Where does it say he "solicited" money? Looks to me like Rogers could have instegated it - not Newton. I don't see anywhere that he admitted to "soliciting".

Clint Richardson said...

Once again, another SOURCE. This doesn't mean a thing, yet. Until we get some hard-core facts, we don't know any of this. I'm still standing with Cam. People have to remember, Cecil is a preacher. He has morals and knows right from wrong. How could he live with himself for possibly soliciting money for his son, basically selling him. And now if he is just now telling the truth, then he's been lieing for the longest time. This story still makes no sense at all.

Anonymous said...

"...having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State University player about the possibility of under-the-table money" is not the same as admitting solicitation.

Michael said...

Andy, I think your headline is not correct. Go back and read the release, it says that Newton was involved in discussions about money not that he asked for it. If you read this in conjunction with the MSU releases (both of them) and what Slive said today, it would appear to me that the door is still wide open for the fact that Newton was the one approached about money instead of the other way around.

Andy Bitter said...

I appreciate the on-the-fly editing. Currently trying to cover this and a basketball game that's gone to overtime.

Anonymous said...

Andy, I know you're probably getting tired with long hours of reporting, but please take greater care when when re-reporting what un-named sources are saying (without quotes I might add). From the report you source..."A source close to the situation exclusively told Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Mark Winne that the player's father, Cecil Newton, has admitted having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State University player about the possibility of under-the-table money if Cam Newton signed to play football at Mississippi State..." A conversation is not equivalent to a solicitation. While I suspect a solicitation did occur, there is every reason to believe it was initiated by Mr. Rogers. But sticking with the report, it was a conversation, so please report it as such. Let's let this play out to the end, but in the interim let's mind our P's and Q's on accurate reporting.

Anonymous said...

Lay off Andy:) He's the first to report the truth.

Andy Bitter said...

I appreciate all the editing comments on here. Yes, I mistakenly put "solicit" when I meant "having conversations about." It's been fixed.

ATCVX said...

Keep up the good work Andy, this will always be the first place i go for anything AU. In your honest opinion, what do you think happens from here? the team doesn't seem to be fazed, as Lutz tweeted earlier he feels sorry for teams that have to face a pissed off "Cammy Cam". Seems like it's a go that he's playing. God, I just want this to end already and let's get the drama over with. Can't even enjoy what's been a wonderful season on-field.

Anonymous said...

I believe that it is a violation only if a family member solicits "on behalf" of a player, is it not? First, this is not an admission that Cecil solicited, and the "source" claims Cam didn't know. So, if we are believing this unnamed "source", any possible solicitation couldn't have been on "behalf" of Cam, could it?

Anonymous said...

Auburn Undercover is reporting that Cam Newton will start vs GA in Saturday's game even with all of the new developments out of Atlanta.

Chap said...

"no official at Mississippi State ever made such an offer"

So...somebody made an offer? I am assuming this is inferring that someone did make Cecil Newton an offer, but not an MSU staff member.

I have re-read this many times and that's the way I am reading it now. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

If you are going to quote the entire article, please also quote the part that says that Cam's Dad said no MSU official offered any payment.

Andy Bitter said...

What do you think this paragraph says?

"Winne's source, who admitted being sympathetic for the Newtons, said Cecil said no money ever changed hands and no Mississippi State official ever made such an offer. The source also said the family has shown a willingness to cooperate with the NCAA."

Anonymous said...

Andy, you quoted that part right. I was responding to someone else's post that suggested an MSU official offered monies. All of this will be settled good or bad soon. I hope it goes away & Auburn runs the table

Clint Richardson said...

Anony, we all do man, we all do.

Daniel said...

Am I the only one who would feel better if the story was breaking beyond that initial link and television spot? Why is Espn NOT all over this as is their wont?

While this doesn't necessarily indict Auburn. And while we can talk endlessly about the empiricial evidence that discussing money makes you ineligible citing whatever lawyer we want. One question remains:

Why did the NCAA (whose statements have been so limited, and who have apparently been investigating this for a little while now) decide to say explicitly that asking for money is an infraction and constitutes ineligibility.

According to the logic that tells you not to be concerned because Auburn and the NCAA knew about this, then all that Auburn knew (and its apparently hard-nosed complance officer) then said compliance officer and university knew that money was "solicited" in violation of a current NCAA policy (even if it is not regularly enforced or is even not the norm). Doesn't sound responsible to me.

I honestly want to be an optimist and I have been feeling better about the situation over the last 4 days for no other reason than gut feeling and the way the story has evolved (not to mention CONSTANT lack of hard evidence) but I don't want to be forced to spin this forever.

When will we know anything TANGIBLE?

Until we do know, and until it is irrefutable and damning, I chose to believe in Auburn, to believe they knew what they were doing, that they are keeping in mind the long view, and that they are innocent.


Daniel said...

Another comment/note:

When the NCAA released a (exceedingly rare)comment that asking for money constitutes a violation I partly took that to mean that is how they would handle the issue. They obviously knew that part of their by-laws. I doubt releasing it was an attempt to help themselves to better understand their own by-laws. So considering their was, apparently, an investigation (or at the least documents/allegations on record with the SEC/NCAA)why would they release such a thing?

Well as allegations become public the NCAA probably deems it more valuable to speak to the average fan/populous instead of themselves.

To sum it all up: the NCAA, by reiterating a pre-existing by-law, was saying how they would handle THIS issue or even that this was how they were playing TO handle this issue (more likely for an organization like the NCAA). Don Jackson be damned (dude I really REALLY want to believe this but for the above mentioned reasons I swtruggle) and Albert Means is not an analog.

IN fact the NCAA might be trying to overcome a past/all past precedences. If not why release a statement reiterating a by-law you were supposed to be operating under.


But nevertheless,

War EAGLE! Beat those DOGS!

Anonymous said...

Weird. Channel 2 is ABC, not CBS.

I think these guys are just trying to pull eyeballs, they probably look at Twitter trends.