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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ESPN report: MSU booster received payment plan about Cam Newton via text message

(Another updated version of the story at 9:07 p.m. CT. Hopefully the last:

AUBURN, Ala. — Mississippi State booster Bill Bell told the NCAA last week that former Bulldogs teammate Kenny Rogers sent him a text message outlining a six-figure payment plan to get quarterback Cam Newton to sign with the school last year, according to an ESPN.com report.

Bell said Rogers, who has been described as a “recruiter” for an NFL agent, made the request on behalf of Newton’s father, Cecil.

Bell said he received a text message from Rogers outlining the payment plan, which requested $80,000 the day after Cam signed a letter of intent to play for Mississippi State, $50,000 more after 30 days and another $50,000 30 days after that.

“When he asked for it, it was like, ‘Bam!’” Bell told ESPN.com. “He told me this kid’s dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message. He didn’t say anything other than, ‘This is what I want and I want it in three installments.’”

Bell said he has Rogers’ text message on an old cell phone, which was damaged by water. He is trying to retrieve it through his cell phone provider.

Auburn, which signed Newton last Dec. 31, has not been accused of wrongdoing in the matter.

School officials continued their stance on not commenting about the ongoing NCAA investigation into the Heisman Trophy candidate’s recruitment.

“I’m not discussing anything about Cameron Newton and that situation unless it has to do with the first 11 games he played in,” Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said.

Bell, who runs a roofing company in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., said Cecil Newton never specifically asked him for money, but he was present during three-way phone calls during which Rogers discussed the payment plan. Bell said he shared a series of voice mail messages from Rogers with the NCAA.

“(Cecil Newton) didn’t come out and say, ‘I want $180,000,’” Bell said. “He inferred it and talked about it, but not directly. Kenny would talk about it in front of him, and (Cecil) never corrected him or said, ‘No, that’s not what we’re doing.’”

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn has said “the solicitation of cash or benefits by a prospective student-athlete or another individual on his or her behalf is not allowed under NCAA rules.” Potential penalties depend on multiple factors, including the benefit sought and player’s level of responsibility in the matter.

Bell joins former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond in saying Newton’s father was involved in pay-for-play talks about his son.

Bond, Bell and Rogers have met with NCAA investigators. Bond has also met with FBI officials, who are looking into players being shopped to colleges.

Bell said Rogers made the initial contact but that he also had phone conversations with Cecil Newton during Cam’s recruitment.

“He said it was going to take more than just a relationship with (Mississippi State coach) Dan Mullen and that Cam’s relationship with Mullen wasn’t what Mullen thought it was,” Bell said. “That’s when he said, ‘Dan Mullen is going to have to put a smile on my face if he thinks he’s going to get my son.’”

Rogers, who works for a company that connects prospective college athletes with schools, originally denied involvement in the matter but admitted on ESPN radio in Dallas last week that he relayed Cecil’s request of money to Bell.

Following Cam’s official visit to Mississippi State last November, Rogers said he followed Cecil out of Starkville, Miss., to a gas station, where Cam’s father asked him, “What are you thinking is going to happen? Is it going to go through?”

Rogers said he phoned his former MSU teammate Bell and left a message, asking about money.

Speaking about Bell’s quotes Wednesday, Rogers’ attorney, Douglas Zeit, told ESPN.com: “As I understand it, that was the payment plan Cecil Newton was seeking.”

Cecil, according to an Atlanta TV report last week citing an unnamed source, admitted to talking about money with Mississippi State but insisted Cam had no knowledge of it. Cecil said no money was ever exchanged.

Cam and his father reportedly met with the NCAA prior to the Georgia game last week. Despite questions about his eligibility, the quarterback played against the Bulldogs.

In other news Thursday, TMZ.com reported FBI officials looking into the Newton recruiting controversy asked someone about Milton McGregor, the owner of Victoryland casino who was indicted on charges of corruption last month after allegedly trying to buy pro-gambling votes in the Alabama legislature.

McGregor is an Auburn booster who donated $1 million toward the construction of the school’s new $86 million basketball arena in May 2008.

His attorney Joe Espy, released a statement to WSFA News refuting the TMZ report: “Milton McGregor has never had any contact direct or indirect with Cam Newton, Cecil Newton, Kenny Rogers or anyone purporting to represent Cam Newton.

“Mr. McGregor has never been asked to provide money for any recruitment or compensation of any current or (prospective) student athlete including Cam Newton at Auburn or any other school, and has never provided any type of compensation in that regard period no exceptions.”


Clint Richardson said...

AB, do you believe any of this? Just asking.

Andy Bitter said...

Well, it falls in line with what they've been saying the whole time.

This time, they say there are tapes, though. Tough to fake those to an NCAA investigator.

Anonymous said...

All of these stories just seem to be narrowing down the same set of facts that we have heard about for two weeks. These reporters just keep regurgitating new quotes about the same situation to try and get themselves a part of the story. Cecil's inferences about money will not take Cam off the field - because that is all opinion, not fact, and it is becoming increasingly obvious that that is all they have.

If Bobby Lowder's name doesn't come up in the next few months, this story is dead.

AUsome04 said...

So Cecil never directly asked MSU for money. The Kenny Rogers guy texted the booster and said this is what we want? Now somebody from Alabama is involved? Ha, ha bingo! I knew somebody from bammer was behind this mess.

Aubiester said...

I don't see anything that can make Cam ineligible. NOTHING concrete.

Anonymous said...

So the text messages remain to be rumored. Interesting that they are lost now. This whole thing was orchestrated by Rodgers There is zero proof pinning Cecil Newton to conversations or texts, other than "he was with Kenny at the time." Let's take Rodgers' word and see if it floats. Come on, Andy, you're better than others fostering this inuendo.

beer_motor said...

"I got texts but they're on my phone that my dog slobbered on, hang on while I recreate them."

Yeah right.

As for the voicemails, put up or STFU. It's time to lay the damn cards out, this garbage has gone on long enough.

Clint Richardson said...

All the involved parties knew about this, and nothing was said about this, until Cam starting beasting the field. I think this guy from Alabama has a big deal with this somehow. I think Saban saw something in Cam after Bama's first loss that showed they couldn't beat us, and Saban goes back to his classless, low, cheap, self and gets this DA GA to leak this stuff. Too crazy to be true??

Simmons B. Buntin said...

So much rests on whether those three-way calls with Cam on the line can be proved. If so, he's doomed.

In the eternal words of Scooby Doo: "Ruh roh..."

Justin said...

First of all, Kenny Rogers has changed his story for the third time. During his radio interview last week, he said his only involvement was that he left Bill Bell a message at a Shell gas station, and now he's agreeing with Bell that there were multiple messages and text messages.

Also, Bell has to prove that Cecil was on the line of a three-way call. And, at this point, if Cecil did bring it up to MSU coaches at the hotel the night before the Egg Bowl like Rogers says, then those coaches need to step forward and verify that.

Finally, that last line of the new ESPN.com article, where Bell says that he believes Rogers, that Rogers was the pawn for Cecil, is extremely poignant to me. Personally, I believed Rogers after I first heard him talk after his first radio interview. And weeks ago Mike Wright, a writer for ESPN Chicago who did the story on Greengross and Rogers and the NFLPA scandal, said something similar on Twitter -- that he thought maybe Rogers was being used, and that he felt bad for him. That's very similar to what Bell is saying now.

But Wright also pointed out that maybe Rogers is just good at lying. Perhaps that applies here, that Rogers is a convincing liar -- to us, to Cecil, and to Bill Bell.

Anonymous said...

The twist is that the phone has water damage. A LIKELY STORY, MR. BOND

...Oh well

Nancy said...

Still waiting on Mullens to comment on why he continued to recruit CN if he was aware of any kind of payment request and why all of the people in contact on behalf of MSU appear to be either boosters or agents. I thought that boosters and such were not allowed to contact recruits much less meet with the recruit at the university. To date no one has mentioned AU. Seems like when this is all over, MSU will have some big NCAA problems.

JC said...

Rogers: "Listen, we want lots and lots of money now and here is how you will do it. "

Cecil (if he is on the line at all): "Uh...okay?"

Anonymous said...

JC haha.

If any recordings are ever produced, I bet you that's what they will sound like. Ambiguous and ultimately ridiculous.

Agree with the commenter above you, this is looking more and more like MSU's going to get clobbered AND THEY SHOULD. They're really lucky we played them in Week 2, holy crap.

Johnny Smith said...

If there is truth to the innuendos, and that's all there is at the time, Mississippi State comes off looking pretty bad in this. The former players are making this look like there was an effort on their part to sign Cam Newton whatever the cost. The alleged conversations took place in November, but Mississippi didn't report this until Cam newton committed to Auburn on December 31st. If he was as dirty as they now claim, why did they continue recruiting him up until the time he finally settled on Auburn?

RJ said...

Give 'em a break. He heard that they might have to launder some money, and threw his phone in the wash for good measure.

Seriously, this whole situation smells to high heaven. Unless they find a check from Lowder to Cecil, I don't think that Auburn is in trouble at all...

Anonymous said...

i am not understanding anything going on on miss. st. side. bond and rogers cannot not even verify a conversation they had over the phone. One says they havent talked in 20 years and the other claims to have phone records of them talking. Rogers could not even verify the correct amount that was asked for by cecil newton, he is also another person who i think that is wrong. How could you even put your son through this knowing all the troubles he went though trying to make it back to a major institution. i think that they should make the decision soon because i am sick of this and as an Auburn Tiger fan, i need to know if he is playing or not so my team can come up with the best game plan.

JohnnyC said...

Milton's biggest in-state competitor is Paul Bryant Jr. Kill two birds with one stone?

I hope the former FBI compliance officer at AU has some juice.

MikeP said...

This still works with my pet theory, which is that Rogers was trying to scam Bond and Bell out of $180,000 for his own use.

Cecil Newton may have been hanging around, but maybe not. According to Bell, Cecil was on a 3-way phone call but didn't say anything. How did Bell know he was even there?

It's a real shame Bell's phone got peed on. Funny how everything in this case that's supposed to be solid turns out to be smoke and mirrors.

I'm starting to think "Where there's smoke, there's somebody blowing smoke."

RW said...

I'm not sure where the perception came from that we have a former FBI officer on the compliance staff. I know Rich McGlynn is a former NCAA investigator, but I haven't seen anywhere that he was ever FBI...am I missing someone?

Andy Bitter said...

There is no former FBI officer on the compliance staff. Somehow that legend has grown lately.

Robert said...
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IRS Payment Plan said...
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