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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kenny Rogers says Cecil Newton asked for $100,000 to $180,000 from Mississippi State

OK, hopefully the last update of the night at 9:31 p.m. CT:
AUBURN, Ala. — Kenny Rogers, the former Mississippi State player who allegedly sought money from his alma mater to deliver Cam Newton’s services last year, said on a radio show Thursday that it was not him, but the quarterback’s father, Cecil, who put a price tag on his son during the recruiting process.

Rogers said Cecil told him it would take “anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000” to get the quarterback to sign with Mississippi State.

Rogers said he relayed the request to Bill Bell, a Mississippi State booster. Bell confirmed to ESPN.com Thursday night that Cecil Newton did ask for money. He said he spoke to an NCAA investigator about the matter earlier this week.
According to the NCAA, a violation is committed the moment an athlete or athlete’s family solicits extra benefits.

Newton ultimately signed with Auburn on Dec. 31 last year.

The school has maintained all week that its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback remains eligible for Saturday’s game against Georgia. NCAA rules say a school must make a determination about whether a student-athlete is ineligible.

Rogers said he did not have any involvement with Auburn and said he had “no idea” if similar requests were made of the school or if anyone acted on them.

Auburn declined comment through spokesman Kirk Sampson. Cecil Newton could not be reached.

Coach Gene Chizik was not asked about the Newton situation during his weekly Tiger Talk radio program.

It’s the latest twist in the Newton saga, which began eight days ago when ESPN.com reported ex-Mississippi State quarterback John Bond said a former teammate claiming to represent the Newton family’s interests told him it would take $180,000 for the quarterback to sign with the Bulldogs. ESPN identified that person at Rogers.

Cecil denied any wrongdoing last week, saying if Rogers requested money, he did it on his own.

Rogers told a different tale Thursday, saying he didn’t ask for money. He said Cecil requested the payment and he relayed the request to Mississippi State boosters who would have it. Last week, on the same radio show, he said he had no idea how his name got involved in the accusations.

“I’m trying to clear the record with me,” he said Thursday with a lawyer by his side on ESPN 103.3 in Dallas.

The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s ESPN.com report by Joe Schad that said Newton and his father spoke to “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State” about a play-for-play plan during separate phone calls last year.

According to the report, Cecil told one of the recruiters it would take “more than a scholarship” to bring his son to Mississippi State.

Another source said a recruiter claimed Newton told him he wanted to play for the Bulldogs but his father had chosen Auburn for him because “the money was too much.”

Mississippi State made the unusual move of releasing a statement Wednesday saying it contacted the SEC offices last January regarding an issue with Newton’s recruitment. Because of what it termed “ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving non-football matters” throughout the winter and spring, the SEC did not interview MSU officials until July.

SEC spokesman Charles Bloom told the Associated Press that there was no mention of the phone conversations from Wednesday night’s ESPN.com article in either of the Mississippi State reports to the league.

The conference relayed the information it obtained to Auburn, which conducted its own investigation and determined no wrongdoing on its part. Unnamed sources in the school’s compliance department have said Auburn has not received an NCAA letter of inquiry.

Rogers works for Elite Football Preparation, a business that connects college athletes with schools. He has said he specializes with junior college transfers.

He said he didn’t meet Cam until the quarterback’s official visit to Mississippi State beginning Nov. 27 of last year, but he first spoke with Cecil after his son left Florida for Blinn College following the 2008 season.

Rogers said at some point Cecil told him Cam’s recruitment is “not going to be free this time,” later telling him the $100,000-$180,000 figure. Rogers said he didn’t know if Cam knew about the money request.

On the first night of Cam’s official visit to Starkville, Miss., Rogers said he, Cecil and two Mississippi State coaches met at the Hilton Garden Inn, the night before the Bulldogs played Ole Miss.

“I can’t really remember how Mr. Newton stated this, but however he said it, one of the coaches was like, ‘No, no, I don’t want to hear that,’ as if money was brought up or it was going to take money to get him,” said Rogers, who did not identify the coaches.

Rogers said he didn’t know if Mississippi State was prepared to pay.

On that Sunday, Rogers followed Cecil out of Starkville on Highway 82 to a Shell gas station. At that point, Rogers said Cecil asked him, “What are you thinking is going to happen? Is it going to go through?”

Rogers said he phoned Bell, a former teammate of his from the early 1980s who is currently president of Bel-Mac Roofing in Santa Rosa, Fla., and left a message asking if the deal was going to go through, meaning money from Mississippi State.

“Mr. Newton asked me. I told Bill. Bill supposedly told John (Bond),” Rogers said. “Somebody’s asking for that kind of money, I don’t have it. So I just called somebody who knew somebody who had it.”

Last week, Rogers said he didn’t know which former teammate relayed a monetary request to Bond, saying he “didn’t even want to go there.”

Bond, who last week on the radio said there were intermediaries between him and the former teammate soliciting money, told ESPN.com Thursday that he spoke with Rogers directly. He said he is scheduled to meet with the FBI on Tuesday and plans to turn over phone records.

“My story hasn’t changed,” he said. “I absolutely talked with Kenny Rogers, and there are phone records that will show that.”

Bond told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that Auburn has no involvement in the matter.

“This has nothing to do with Auburn,” he said. “Absolutely nothing to do with Auburn.”

Rogers’ attorney Doug Zeit said his client has been contacted by the NCAA but not the FBI.

“There are no circumstances and at no time was there any discussion regarding Kenny Rogers getting any money whatsoever,” Zeit said.

“And there was never a discussion between Kenny and anybody else that he was getting a piece of the action or a percentage or points or anything whatsoever regarding the money that Mr. Newton seemed to be requesting.”


Bret Moore said...

That demand sounds weird. If I'm asking for money, I'm not going to put a range on it. I want the most I can get. Just a strange phrasing, is all. But beyond that, how credible is this turkey? Doesn't he have the Feds and the NFL breathing down his neck? Seems like he's trying to play the "I was just doing what I was told!" card. Not buying it without proof. Speaking of that, how come there ISN'T ANY? With a story this big, why not just lead with it?

JC said...

The only thing keeping my head above water at this point is the fact that this guy is a proven liar. Cam is done if this turns out to be true, right?

Anonymous said...

So this happened in Nov 09 and MSU reported it in Jan 10. Asking for money is a major violation. Why so long before reporting the incident and why did MSU continue to recruit Cam.

spencer said...

Andy, would AU/Chiz give a complete non-answer if after every time a new allegation came out, you simply asked, "Did AU know about this before it came out?" Bc I know a "yes" would make me feel a lot better.

brian said...

i dont think so.there is still no proof.i could say i am a purple lizard,but that does not make it true.the only way we get nailed is if some proof shows...a tape...some document..etc etc

Andy Bitter said...

I guarantee Chizik will not comment on this.

Auburn has already no commented on it.

brian said...

thanks andy,you da man!

Anonymous said...

This is becoming more of a soap opera everyday. It is some sort of crazy mad libs that involves Cam Newton, NCAAA, various MSU staff, and Cecil Newton.

I seriously what in the world is going on here. Last week, Mr. Rogers denied everything, and now he changes his story. MSU said that it reported these violations to the SEC, and now the SEC says that these allegations were not in the report. Is MSU making up the story as it goes along?

John Stubbs said...

Auburn has to sit Newton now. I mean when it's just anonymous sources and rumors, I understand calling bs. However, this is a source coming out front and center. He confirmed the Schad report too. I think we have got to protect the university at some point. I hate to say it, but we have to sit Cam.

Andy, do you agree?

Robert said...

Andy, I counted no less than 65 vocal impediments from the 15 minute interview that would indicate that Kenny was lying: Repeated words, stutters, long pauses etc. These quirks occur more frequently around the most incriminating parts. Conversely, and perhaps most incriminating, he had little difficulty responding to facts that are not of contention. Ie "The first time I met Cam was in Starkville" etc. No hesitation, stutter or repeated words... Implying that he is capable of speaking publicly without impediment.

Anonymous said...

You want to sit Newton based on the testimony of a guy who has already changed his story? That's nuts. All all the people to believe in this you chose Rogers?

Anonymous said...

If Bell confirms this story, I am worried for Cam. That is is missing link to the stories connecting. Miss State is in hit water for not turning it in until he signed with Auburn and even then left this out of the report. Andy- Will Auburn play him if Bell confirms?

John Stubbs said...

Trust me, I do not want to sit Cam. I just think it's gone too far. This will not end well.

Janie Elizabeth said...

Here's what we know in regards to Kenny Rodgers and this situation:
Either Thursday or Friday of last week Rodgers said in an interview he had no knowledge of any money being solicited on Cam's behalf.
Over the last few days, MSU has implicated themselves more and more into this and these aren't good implications.
Now, all of a sudden, Rodgers is an expert on everything and was THERE when Cecil asked for money.

Now, I may only be a 2L in law school but in a court of law, this guy would have just impeached himself, his credibility would have just been shot, and the court wouldn't move any further with this guy. It's pretty sad that it is the exact opposite here. Makes me so sick.

Anonymous said...


RW said...

It seems at this point that MSU would be hoping that Cam stays eligible at this point. If he goes down, so does their program. There is still nothing that would indicate at Auburn as a program is in trouble other than the possibility of vacating wins.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy,

I've heard conflicting reports on the eligibility question. If Cecil asked for money does that make Cam ineligible for any reason?

Either Auburn paid or they told the Newton's they'd be wise to drop the payment request and sign with Auburn or get reported and be ineligible. That's the only reason I see Auburn being so confident in playing him this whole time.

Andy Bitter said...

According to the NCAA, a violation is committed the moment an athlete or athlete's family solicits for extra benefits.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what level the violation is considered?

Also, that lawyer in the Montgomery paper had a different spin on it. Anybody have any ideas who our rogue booster would be if AU paid up?

SB said...

Anonymous, our rogue booster would be Bobby Lowder.

Anonymous said...

I thought that but Lowder's got to be smarter than that. Of course no one has uncovered any money that we know of yet. I'm beginning to hate this kid and his dad. We'll be lucky if we don't end up like SMU for this one.

Anonymous said...

Also saw this this morning:


Odd that it mentions an MSU booster who's out of the country and all of a sudden this Bell guy turns out to be in Costa Rica.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

So by "ineligible" in this situation, so far restricted to recruitment at MSU, does that mean Cam would not be eligible to play at Auburn (or any school) either? I realize the big question is whether Auburn or a "representative" of Auburn paid -- and if so he obviously would not be eligible at Auburn -- but even before that, if what Rogers says is true, does that mean Cam is no longer eligible (or hasn't been from the get-go, I guess)?

Andy Bitter said...

The HABOTN contacted a lawyer who would know about that. Good stuff over there.


Anonymous said...

The hard part becomes proving Cam's father ever made these comments. You can have boosters and agents making calls, but unless you have Cam's dad's signature or voice on file, you have nothing. All speculation and conjecture.
Auburn has already come out and restated Cam's eligibility. That right there tell me nothing new was reported today.

Daniel said...

Andy, long time fan first time commentor. Can I ask a favor? All of this has degenerated into a quagmire. The times, facts, statements, various reports have made it difficult to understand how this has evolved. It has evolved unlike anything I've ever seen (both more rapidly and intensely, and with such a small amount of hard evidence).

My request/question: could you report a timeline on the allegations, accusations (w/ known and suspected sources), comments by auburn/chizik/msu etc) with some sort of additional media. I for one am struggling to keep it all straight and it is hurting my attempt to wish the best.

Keep up the great work and thanks again.

MikeP said...

MSU coaches allegedly heard this on November 27th, yet MSU continued to recruit Newton right up to the day he signed with Auburn in January. Doesn't make sense.

MSU then raced to send a report to the SEC office, but when the SEC office immediately responded with a request for more details, MSU was "too busy" to get back to the SEC office for SEVEN MONTHS? Gimme' a break!

To those who want to sit Cam out or are feeling so down, you are letting a bunch of liars and irresponsible "journalists" spoil one of the greatest seasons in Auburn history for you. They aren't spoiling it for me, I won't let them.
Until there is ONE smidgen of actual proof that Cam Newton is somehow involved in these accusations, I'll believe in Auburn and I'll believe in Cam.

WAR EAGLE, Beat Georgia!

MikeP said...

Also, go check out the link Andy provided a couple of posts up to the HABOTN article that interviews a lawyer with NCAA experience.

You'll find it worth your time and you'll feel a lot better after you read that, I promise.

Clint Richardson said...

I think we all know the truth about all these allegations. One thing that I can garuntee, don't talk crap about my Auburn Tigers. Don't talk crud about my Auburn Family. This is a family. We're all in. You talk bad about us and we will find you. We will get you. You better hide. War Damn Eagle.

Bret Moore said...


So if this guy is a "recruiter" as Thamel keeps insisting, doesn't that hang MSU upside down in the town square? Still no proof, though.

Pat said...

Somone posted this on auburnfootball.com message boards:


Two days ago. That's scary. Sorry to bring in message board crap but this is a little too much of a coincidence. "Bill in Destin"?

Daniel said...

I was more curious if I could get a cogent full timeline. Something that included Auburn/Chizik/Reps responses considering the timeline. I want to see how Auburn has handled the issue. I give them a B and I am trying to defend the program because I would feel betrayed by my team and, as many have suggested, my family not to mention my favorite auburn tiger of my lifetime if Auburn was involved or if the Newtons knowingly tried to get money (regardless of Cam's knowledge- which isnt totally fair thus unfortunate). I don't want that and I think evaluating Auburn/Newton's reponse with a consideration to how and when the news broke would be very educational. And hopefully would be a boost for our collective spirit.

War Damn EAGLE!

JJBA said...

Andy, can you come blog for Georgia? Just reading the blog this week makes me very jealous.

Anonymous said...

This just in: Gene Simmons claims to be a Dr., has no medical license!!!

Anonymous said...

You can not sit him or else you do look guilty. Sitting him is the stupid thing to do unless you have hard evidence that AUBURN did something wrong.

RW said...

Did Bell just confirm that Rogers asked him for money on Cecil's behalf or did he confirm that Cecil asked him directly for money?

That's a pretty important distinction that the ESPN article leaves out.

Andy Bitter said...

The ESPN article did make that distinction. My story was unclear.

ESPN said Cecil did ask for money.

RW said...

Per the current ESPN article on this situation: "The NCAA spokeswoman said: The decision to rule a student-athlete ineligible is made by the university, not the NCAA. We do not suspend student-athletes. It is a school action."

That was certainly news to me. Does this mean that Auburn can say Cam is eligible regardless of Cecil's actions? If Auburn did nothing wrong, would vacating of wins only occur if we chose to rule him ineligible?

Anonymous said...

Andy-ESPN just reported that the NCAA has recommended that Auburn sit Cam. Is this true? Do we have a shot with Cody? I'm still hoping for the best but I feel like we must protect our seemingly clean hands. War Eagle!

Bret Moore said...

Cody? I think you mean Caudle. But he's not the backup, Barrett Trotter is. I like our chances against both UGA and Bama with or without Cam. But somebody needs to put this story to bed one way or the other. Is the only way AU could get in trouble if it _knowingly_ played Cam when he was ineligible? If that's the case, we still don't _know_ that answer.

Anonymous said...

Correction-ESPN did not report that the NCAA asked Auburn to sit Cam. They were only pondering whether they would.

Andy Bitter said...

From what I understand, the NCAA can make a suggestion and it's in the school's best interest to take that into consideration.

If a school does not, it can open itself up to harsher penalties if any wrongdoing proves to be true.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

Andy - I think you still need to clarify. ESPN did NOT say that Cecil Newton asked Bell for money.

Rogers said he was referred to a Mississippi State booster named Bill Bell. Rogers said he left Bell a message telling him he was with Cecil Newton, who wanted to know if the deal was going to happen.

Bell, when contacted Thursday night by ESPN.com, confirmed Cecil Newton did ask for money in exchange for Cam Newton signing with Mississippi State.

That's pretty nebulous. Did Cecil ask Bell directly? It does not say that. Bell could simply have been repeating what Rogers told him. Do we really know if Cecil was with Rogers when that call was made?

I admit, I'm concerned that Cecil may not have been entirely truthful on this matter. However, Rogers has a documented history of dishonesty, so until some actual proof is presented, I'll continue to choose Cecil's version over Rogers's.

Tar Heel Tiger said...

I can't remember, did Cecil turn over phone records with his bank records to NCAA?

If so, there should be a phone call from Cecil to Bell (or vice versa) if Rogers is telling the truth.

Andy Bitter said...

"Bell confirmed to ESPN.com Thursday night that Cecil Newton did ask for money."

Nothing in that sentence says Newton asked Bell for money. Just that he asked for it.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi State is just digging them self in a deeper hole and I personally hate them after all this. I do hate Georgia, LSU, Alabama, and Florida but i do have respect for those teams. Mississippi State has none of my respect. They are so sad that they don't have Cameron Newton but he probably didn't go to MSU because they area terrible football team. There gonna get stomped by Alabama.