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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Report: Mississippi State was asked for cash payment to sign Cam Newton (UPDATED)

AUBURN, Ala. — The NCAA is investigating the claim that a man saying he was from Cam Newton’s camp sought a six-figure payment from Mississippi State to sign the quarterback during his recruitment last year, according to an ESPN.com report Thursday.

The report said former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond was approached by a teammate of his from the early 1980’s, who sought $180,000 to secure Newton’s signature with the Bulldogs.

ESPN.com identified Bond’s former teammate as Kenny Rogers.

Newton signed with Auburn late last December. No allegations in the ESPN.com report were specifically made against Auburn or its staff.

Auburn athletic department officials sent out a press release Thursday afternoon saying they could not comment other than to say Newton remains eligible to play.

Tigers coach Gene Chizik began his weekly radio call-in show by addressing the situation surrounding his star quarterback, predictably not going into specifics.

“Here’s what I can say loud and clear,” Chizik said. “Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University. Period. End of story.”

Mississippi State relayed Bond’s information to the SEC offices. The NCAA has since looked into the matter, talking with Mississippi State and seeking financial records from Newton’s father, Cecil.

“Unfounded,” said Cecil, who questioned the timing of the report. “We’ll participate with the investigation.

“They’re going to do their due diligence and follow up. And I’m not against any investigation. But I’m here to protect my interests in this whole investigation. Myself and my family.”

Cecil, who has retained a lawyer, said he could not comment on specifics of the case but told ESPN.com that “if Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge.”

Newton, a Heisman Trophy contender who has led Auburn to a 9-0 start and the No. 2 spot in the Bowl Championship Series rankings, practiced Thursday as usual in preparation for Saturday’s game against UT-Chattanooga. He was not available for comment.

Cecil said he’s spoken to his son and doesn’t know how the accusations will affect him moving forward.

“I hope it doesn’t,” he said. “I hope and pray it doesn’t. I think he’s a strong kid. He’s fought back from some other insurmountable things, I guess you could say.”

The accusations stem from Newton’s recruitment last fall, when the quarterback was looking to transfer back to a Football Bowl Subdivision school after a year at Blinn (Texas) Community College.

Newton visited three schools during the recruiting process: Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Auburn. Bond said Rogers approached him after Newton’s official trip to Starkville, Miss., for Mississippi State’s game against Ole Miss on Nov. 28.

Bond said Rogers, who claimed to be a representative of Newton’s camp, sought $180,000 from Mississippi State to secure the quarterback’s signature on a letter of intent.

The report said the sum was lower than the $200,000 other teams had offered because of Newton’s relationship with Bulldogs coach Dan Mullen, for whom he played at Florida in 2007 and '08.

“I reported the conversation to the Mississippi State athletic department,” Bond said in a written statement released to the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger.

“I was told by the athletic department that Mississippi State would not respond to the overture that was made to me, and that Mississippi State would continue to recruit Cam Newton as it does any other football recruit.”

Rogers runs a Chicago-based company called Elite Football Preparation, which holds camps in Chicago, Alabama and Mississippi. Rogers has financial ties to NFL agent Ian Greengross, according to the New York Times, although Greengross has not been linked to the Newton investigation.

The Times reported that the NFL Players Association is investigating Rogers posing as an NFLPA employee.

Cecil told ESPN.com that he first spoke to Rogers two years ago, when Cam left Florida for Blinn. He said he talked to Rogers on several occasions to find out more about Mississippi State but that the two didn’t meet until Newton’s official visit to Starkville.

Bond said an NCAA investigator met with Mississippi State in September.

Cecil said his family received a letter from the NCAA seeking financial statements about a month ago. He told ESPN that he submitted bank statements and records for the church at which he’s a pastor, the Holy Zion Center of Deliverance in Newnan, Ga.

The church was in danger of being demolished by order of the Newnan City Council in 2009 for failing to meet the city’s building code, according to articles in the Newnan Times-Herald.

After several extensions, renovation work began last spring. The paper reported Oct. 28 that the church has been brought up to code.


Justin said...

Apparently Cecil sent bank statements to the NCAA "about a month ago". So that means the NCAA has been investigating for a month or more, and has yet to find anything, right?

Phil said...

I know nothing more about this than the articles I've read (which is about like everyone else), but it looks like the Miss St. former players are left with a bad taste in their collective mouths and are attempting to taint a great season. To me it looks like someone trying to get back at Cam by any means necessary for what could have been.

I hope this is all it is and the allegations aren't true.

War Eagle!

Anonymous said...

UGGH this is not good. I love that Pat "Bus" Forde and Mark Schlabach were all over this. Typical.

Anonymous said...

Even if this turns out to be completely false, it puts a heck of a stain on a heisman campaign. Especially considering the recent Reggie Bush fiasco.

Simmons B. Buntin said...

Normally you'd expect this to come out the week of the Iron Bowl...

It does put a critical eye to Cam, but otherwise his place at Auburn doesn't seem to be the issue. The interesting (and perhaps telling) question will be the full relationship between Cam's family and the "agent." Hopefully it's as Cecil said, and there really isn't one.

Anonymous said...

Cam has been tearing it up since week one and this comes out now? Time for some VSA treatment of the sources (voice stress analysis lie detection). This is pure bull$h!t.

Scott said...

This money thing for Cam Newton has been common knowledge for a while with MSU fans. The truth will come out and this season will all be a wash for Auburn. Reggie Bush all over again.

Anonymous said...

If this took place, then Miss State is the school that committed the infraction, not Auburn. It is also possible that this is the reason Newton committed to Auburn instead of Miss State, because he refused to to do this, if this indeed happened, he would have likely committed to Miss State instead of Auburn. It is also really odd how this story breaks out just a couple of weeks before the Alabama Game. Once again, according to this article, the money dealing was with Miss State, and not AUBURN.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, who gives a crap. There's probably a grain of truth to it somewhere, somehow, but I seriously doubt that they would ask for a cash payment through some doofus assed old MSU player named Kenny Rogers. Sounds bush league to me. If it is just like Reggie Bush, I think he'd be rollin' in much more style than a friggen Vespa. Mkay.

But even if it's true, it doesn't mean crap for Auburn. There ain't no allegation that Auburn paid him. Maybe that's going to be made before the Iron Bowl. Haters gotta hate, as they say.

MikeP said...

The Rogers guy, agent, is a sleezebag. He's being investigated by the pro football player's union for falsely claiming he's employed by them. I think he tried to pull a shake-down the MSU people. Whether he got their money or not is anybody's guess, but it has nothing to do with Auburn.

MSU fans are burned because Cam picked Auburn over State, but really: Walk around the Auburn campus, walk around the place at Starkville, look at the history of the two programs and there's no comparison. Hey! It would TAKE an extra 200 grand to get somebody to attend MSU instead of Auburn.

When is the last time ANY recruit picked MSU when they had an offer from Auburn? I can't recall one.


So this clown who was a failed MSU player at MSU who now runs teaching camps (kind of like Buffalo Bills doing Scoring classes) is the CAM guy. First of all CAMs Dad barley has money to fix his church, CAM was not pegged THAT great in those days to warrant that money, and I WOULD NEVER go to MSU for $200K.. it would take about $ 5 million and that would get a maybe. Jealous MSU loser.. call the FBI, I bet this guy has scammed others.. AU and MSU is not that stupid to entertain any talks on payment.. Mullins or Chiz.. CAM will not be affected.. it will help to show that they cant stop him on the field so try to stop by lies.. next up will be Gloria Allred and MSU loser in tears in front of cameras

Stephen said...

All I can say is that this goes hand in hand with being at the top...People don't like a great story like Cam Newton, it seems to good to be true, so they throw whatever rotten tomatoes they can find and hope they stick. I don't think this will hold based on what I have seen, but only time and the truth will tell. Until then, Cam keep your head up, smile, and continue to kick a$$ on the rest of this journey! War Eagle!

postermom said...

Now I'm wishing our guys had hit the Miss St guys a lot harder.

John Stubbs said...

That story on Newton...it does concern me b/c it could prevent him from winning the Heisman and it might distract the him and the team. That said, the details are very scant. Unlike Reggie Bush, his family is cooperating with the investigation and I'd be surprised if a JUCO recruit with a sketchy past could really get $200k from any major school. It just doesn't add up, I hope he gets fully exonerated by the end of the month for the awards and such.

tptoomers said...

The NCAA investigation has been going on all season. It has not affected Cam's play, obviously. The only difference today, is that we all know what Cam, Auburn, the NCAA, Miss St., and the SEC have known since the summer.
I can only hope that the men who "broke" this story dedicate equivalent zeal to reporting Cam's exhoneration, when that decision is finally made. Of course, we all know that they wont.

L-E expatriate said...

This is most certainly newsworthy, but the article doesn't state that Newton had his hand out or that any Auburn officials or boosters dealt with Rogers.

And it does seem odd that the Newtons would shop their son for financial gain, seeing as how they have another son who is already in the NFL and making pretty good money.

Auburn would err on the side of caution if it had reason to believe Newton or his family did something wrong. Its compliance director, Rich McGlynn, used to work for the NCAA's enforcement staff.

The only way I could see a problem developing for Auburn is if Mr. Newton's church received a six-figure renovation in order to bring it up to code.