Cameron Newton story reaching critical mass

It was my hope this morning to take a break from the ongoing, sordid saga that as become the Cameron Newton story and write about what is going to be another great football weekend:

We have the No. 2 team in the nation (Auburn) trying to stay alive in the race for the national championship against a traditional rival (Georgia) which needs a signature win to save its season.

We have the drama of a winner take all game at Florida where Steve Spurrier, the former Gator coach, has a chance to take South Carolina to its first-ever SEC championship game.

But the Cameron Newton story has sucked all of the oxygen out of this college football season. It’s sad. But you can’t ignore it even if you want to.

So for the second straight week we will not do our Fearless Friday Forecast.  Here, based on a very long Thursday, is where I believe we are on the Cameron Newton Story:

We are quickly reaching critical mass. Two big events happened yesterday that make me feel this way.

 Remember that ESPN.com reported on Wednesday that: “Two sources who can recruit for Mississippi State  said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, admitted in separate phone conversations to a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited last year.” The claim was that Newton told Mississippi State coaches that he wasn’t coming to Starkville because his dad got a deal to ship him somewhere else. Let me also point out that there is no evidence and no one claiming directly that Auburn has broken any rules.

Yesterday we reminded you that Mississippi State originally brought the idea to the SEC that there might be some problems with Cameron Newton’s recruitment. The SEC asked for more information but that additional information was not forthcoming until July. So inquiring minds wanted to know why,  if Mississippi State had direct info that Newton had made this claim to staff members, wasn’t this dealt with this summer? That is a very serious charge.

But the SEC, through spokesman Charles Bloom, revealed that in the reports that it received back from Mississippi State on this issue there was no mention–none–of any such conversations between staffers and the Newtons. I independently confirmed that last night with the SEC office.

So on this matter we are left to draw one of three conclusions:

1. Mississippi State did not share that information with the SEC because it did not want to get that deeply involved in the case and hoped it would just go away.

2. The conversations that were reported by ESPN.com may have taken place but were not with Mississippi State assistant coaches or the head coach (the only people allowed to recruit under NCAA rules) but were with lower level staffers. Thus the Mississippi State brass was not aware of them.

3. The conversations never took place and were incorrectly reported.

Here is the second big item: Last night Kenny Rogers, the former Mississippi State player who started this story, decided to “come clean” on a talk show in Dallas. Accompanied by this attorney (who was on the phone), Rogers told host Ian Fitzsimmons that he and Cameron Newton’s father, Cecil, met with Mississippi State coaches in Starkville on Nov. 27, 2009. Rogers said Cecil Newton asked for money to sign his son and that one of the Mississippi State coaches said “No, no I don’t want to hear that.”

Rogers said later in the interview that Cecil Newton told him that it would take “Anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000″ for his son to sign with Mississippi State.

I spoke with Fitzsimmons last night and he confirmed that all of the reporting on Rogers’ appearance was accurate.

We now have a new name in this this mix. Bill Bell is a successful Mississippi State booster and  told ESPN.com last night that Cecil Newton did in fact ask for money to sign his son. Rogers said that he was referred to Bell on the issue of money.  Bell also said he has already discussed this matter with the NCAA.

Rogers also said that he first contacted Cecil Newton to offer his help when Cameron left Florida. Rogers said that Cecil Newton said, in so many words,  ”It’s not gonna be free this time.”

Folks, I’ve been covering this league a long time but it looks like were are definitely in some uncharted waters here. Just a few observations as we move forward:

**–I know Mississippi State has a game on Saturday with Alabama, but if I’m the SEC I want every coach on that staff, including the head coach, to look me in the eye and tell me if Cecil Newton or Cameron Newton actually made those claims. And if those coaches lie to me they will be fired on the spot and will never–EVER–get another job in college athletics again.

**–The FBI has gotten involved and we’re not sure why. But former Mississippi State player John Bond, whose contact with Kenny Rogers started this story, said yesterday that he’ll be talking to the FBI.

**–Cecil Newton is not talking to the media any more and has lawyered up.

**–This story has been going on for more than a week and there is not one allegation that Auburn has done anything wrong.  I am not saying I know Auburn hasn’t done anything wrong. We don’t know. I am familiar with the enforcement and compliance staff over there led by Rich McGlynn, and they are a pretty tough bunch. If they had some evidence that Cameron Newton’s father got money from anybody to sign his son, the school would have to sit him. It looks like a roll of the dice to me given all the smoke but you can’t sit the kid if you don’t have some evidence.

**–Does the mere solicitation of money, even if it was not acted upon, constitute an NCAA rules violation? There seems to be some debate on that. An NCAA spokesperson told Yahoo Sports that, in general terms, if somebody solicted money on Newton’s behalf, even if the solicitation was not acted upon, then that constitutes an NCAA violation. Attorney Don Jackson, who represents athletes in cases such as these, questioned that claim when he appeared on Paul Finebaum’s show yesterday. But if that is true and the NCAA has reason to believe that somebody solicted money for Newton, including Newton’s father, the NCAA can recommend that Auburn sit Newton down until the matter is resolved.

**–If that happens, Auburn will have a decision to make. Remember that it is the responsibility of the institution to sit the player if there are possible rules violations. That’s what Georgia did in the case of A.J. Green. Once the player is suspended, then the institution applies for reinstatement. In the case of Green the NCAA denied reinstatement until after Green served a four-game suspension. So this isn’t on the NCAA or the SEC. It’s on Auburn. And as of Friday morning Auburn appears to be ”All In” on Cameron Newton. If you love Auburn, and have a lot of friends who do, you had better pray Jay Jacobs and the rest of that staff are right.

Stay tuned. This story is moving fast and a lot could happen between now and Saturday’s 3:30 kickoff.

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746 comments Add your comment

ga gator

November 12th, 2010
2:29 pm

Evansdawg, he didn’t step in on Rainey because of the same reasons that he doesn’t step in on UGA’s misdemeanor offenses, they are handled internally. Did he step in on Udell Thurman, Montez Robinson, Washaun Ealey, Zach Mettenberger……………………?. Please tell me how the Florida program is in trouble or under fire for the Cam Newton’s sad saga.

ol' balls coach

November 12th, 2010
2:29 pm

Any amount of money that may have exchanged hands relative to recruiting may pale in comparison to a Newton vs. U of F/State of Fla. lawsuit associated with the leak of information in violation of privacy laws – now that would be a Church!

Dumbest coach in the nation

November 12th, 2010
2:30 pm

The dawgs cried when they had to play Rainey, now they’re crying and wanting AU to sit Newton. They want something given to them because they can’t win it on their own. Oh yeah, they cried when they were not picked for the BCS NC Game, the year they couldn’t even win their HALF of the conference!

Dawg Tired

November 12th, 2010
2:33 pm

Vance – Newton got more tickets in one semester than the whole UGA team in one year. The difference is most schools’ players do not get written up in the newspaper when they get a traffic ticket (or even fail to appear for one – Newton apparently did that to). Of course, I suspect you already know all this.

cpagrrrll

November 12th, 2010
2:36 pm

Point 1…not for profits (the church) file 990 returns to the IRS. These returns list donations/contributions > than 2,000 and another % that I won’t get into…these returns are publicly avaialble and if requested, must be provided.

Point 2…having worked in compliance at an NCAA institution, I know for a fact…violations reported to the SEC, or any other conference and the NCAA are reported in writing….tons and tons of paperwork….this whole “it was reported verbally” is BS…

Point 3…churches or other NPO’s can receive donations from whatever means…it is not laundering if they received money through several people connected with this…what they did with it if they received it is the question..

Also, a local station reported that renovations began on this church prior to Newton signing with Auburn

4th and Long Gone

November 12th, 2010
2:36 pm

I don’t understand the risk. If Newton is ineligible, then Auburn will have to forfeit all the games he played in anyway. So what is the risk, that they have to forfeit a couple more? They will not be hit with any additional sanctions for playing him (other than forfeiting) unless someone can show that Auburn knew or was part of the payoffs. So Auburn’s choices are: 1) Play him, have him found innocent, and possibly win the national championship; 2) Play him, have him found guilty, and have to forfeit the 11 games he played; 3) Sit him, lose the remaining games and have to forfeit the games he played. Seems to me, if he is guilty, Auburn will lose all 11 games either way. Might as well play him and hope he is innocent.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
2:37 pm

Alphare

November 12th, 2010
2:15 pm
BAMA dude, what the hell about the “no comment” speculation? Could it be Auburn people so tired of the whole thing and don’t want to comment on it? Could it be Auburn people want to keep UGA in the guessing game?

Well, I don’t know. Apparently Jay Jacobs said that the school is not commenting on Cam Newton’s status at this time. Take it for what you will.

Rooster's Tale

November 12th, 2010
2:37 pm

Where is Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson?

gir know better than you

November 12th, 2010
2:39 pm

just wondering if you Tony still stand on your words from a few days ago, if Cam Newton is guilty, he can just give the Heisman trophy back? Is that how you feel? Do you think the SEC will say it is no big deal as well and that they will ask Auburn to ask Newton to give the trophy back? A senior writer for the AJC feels it is no big deal, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

Dumbest coach in the nation

November 12th, 2010
2:40 pm

I heard Percy Harvin almost considered Ugay, but Richt had him projected as an offensive tackle!!! LOL!!!

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
2:41 pm

Dawg Tired

November 12th, 2010
2:33 pm
Vance – Newton got more tickets in one semester than the whole UGA team in one year.

I doubt that. They don’t report every effing traffic ticket, just the arrests.

AMG

November 12th, 2010
2:44 pm

Here is some logic. I do not believe ANY of this for a second. Why now, why start talking about Florida cheating. That is the biggest non starter in the history of the NCAA. Why? Because if I went to florida and cheated and left for a Junior College, did well, I could go to Auburn and none of it is illegal. The money thing is flat out funny it is SOOO way wrong. Where is the money?? Why is Miss. St reporting this? Why is Florida reporting the academic cheating? It is not easy being green and it is even harder to hide green from the FBI. Trust me the FBI is involved to track money and if the find it then this thing is an atomic bomb, but my bet is it is a bunch of BS from green SEC loosers.

Pensacola Dawg

November 12th, 2010
2:45 pm

For all you Auburn folks, I hate this for you. But you are only making it worse by talking about about the Auburn family. This kid could care less about the Auburn Family..he has only been around a few months. I have a friend who played football at Auburn, he told me 2 weeks ago that Auburn had been cheating big time suddenly getting these 4 & 5 star recruits. For the sake of your University, please start thinking in those term and turn this slim in.

Bwell

November 12th, 2010
2:46 pm

TB, I’m devout Dawg fan, but as a conference the SEC rules above all other conf. This is shameful and sad, as a father and I would NEVER shop my kids around for money, and say this time its not for free! Did Fla give up something too? Embarassing!

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
2:46 pm

Evansdawg—-

The off-the-field conduct of an athlete from an SEC member institution is not the business of the SEC commissioner, unless it involves violations of NCAA or SEC rules that impact the eligibility of the athlete. The SEC commissioner has nothing to say about it otherwise. The determination of Rainey’s culpability, punishment and probation were matters for the 8th Circuit Court, the University of Florida Student Services Division and the University Athletic Association, not the NCAA and not the SEC.

Frankly, the SEC and NCAA seem to have a tough enough time enforcing their own rules, let alone the Florida Statutes and the University of Florida Conduct Code. The last time the NCAA got involved in Florida law and politics, the NCAA tried to tell Florida State to drop its Seminole mascot . . . until FSU, the Florida Attorney General and the Seminole Tribe of Florida threatened to sue the NCAA in a Florida trial court. You may have noticed the FSU Seminoles are still the FSU Seminoles.

Until you pass the Florida bar exam, I suggest you stick to what you know.

SOUTHGADAWG88

November 12th, 2010
2:46 pm

Maybe Percy wanted some dough too

AMG

November 12th, 2010
2:46 pm

Also one big point, the media is officially the lowest scum in the history of the world and they are digging deeper everyday.

Waldy Butz

November 12th, 2010
2:48 pm

I am so proud of our wonderful SEC institutions of higher
learning.

You reap what you sow!

AMG

November 12th, 2010
2:48 pm

Florida is behind this, you know the commit, this time it won’t be free is straight from Urban’s press corp.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
2:50 pm

Pensacola Dawg, that’s a great point. Add to that the fact that Cam has said that his heart is till in Florida and that HE wanted to h=go to Missy State but let Daddy choose Auburn, and the “Auburn Family” garbage just gets laughable. Cam Newton could care less about Alabama Poly.

LOVE TO SKI

November 12th, 2010
2:55 pm

Let him play… we can decide the winner later!!!!!!

Sean

November 12th, 2010
2:58 pm

This is what I read: blah, blah, blah, these are all allegations, nothing’s actually changed. I would like to wager good money that these “sources” are full of sht about the pay for play scandal. It’s obvious sour grapes.

The Florida stuff is true just not sure if that matters.

http://thebubblescreen.blogspot.com/2010/11/underdogs-san-diego-state-penn-state.html

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
2:59 pm

Sean the spammer again! Still not clicking.

LitiGator

November 12th, 2010
3:00 pm

The kid stole a laptop at the University of Florida. He put his name on someone else’s paper. He was caught cheating three times. He was facing expulsion from Florida. And now he’s the quarterback at Auburn. Any wonder why the nation looks down on SEC schools?

Rainbow Fairy

November 12th, 2010
3:00 pm

What’s the deal with airplane food, I’m I right folks??

Monica

November 12th, 2010
3:01 pm

Does anyone recall the press conference that newton did after they got #2 in the poles? Newton was asked how he felt about being the lead pick for the heisman trophy. Newtons response was “They can throw it out the window for all I care, its not about that, its about my team and having a great season” That right there should have knocked him out of the contention. No class whatsoever and no respect for such an honor. He could careless about Auburn. He is there for one reason and one reason only and that is to be drafted by the NFL. he will be gone next year anyway. let them have their 15 minutes of fame.

Granny Godzilla

November 12th, 2010
3:01 pm

Georgia will beat Auburn with or without their mongoloid criminals!

SEC Analyst

November 12th, 2010
3:01 pm

Cam has every reason to love the Auburn family. After all, they were the only major program dumb enough to allow themselves to be used as his stepping-stone to the NFL Glory Land.

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:07 pm

AMG—-

The phrase is “press corps,” not “pres corp.” It is derived from the Norman French word “corps” (pronounced “core”; the “p” and “s” are silent) for “body.” The word “corps” is often used for military formations and other organizations, for instance, the U.S. Marine Corps, the White House press corps, the corps of cadets, etc.

As for your conspiracy theory that Urban Meyer was behind the alleged release of Cam Newton’s confidential student information as some sort of fit of jealousy, you really don’t understand what would be at stake. The University of Florida, as one of the ten largest public research universities in the country, would be jeopardizing its relationship with various government-sponsored research funding organizations. No one gets between the University of Florida and a research dollar—-no athlete, no coach, no dean, no university president. If Urban Meyer or any member of his staff were proven to have leaked confidential student information, he would be on the next charter flight back to Utah before the university general counsel could sign his termination notice.

If the stories about Cam Newton’s alleged academic irregularities at Florida are true, and have been reported accurately in the media, the more likely source would be one of his former teammates or fellow students, or even a “friend” who sold the story. No university employee in their right mind would ever touch this; it’s a career-ender. As in, “you will never work for a university or government agency ever again.”

Ethan

November 12th, 2010
3:09 pm

Auburn 49, Georgia 17. Another hopeless cause for the hapless dawgtards.

But wear your frilly red panties for luck, since you never know!

Thug!

November 12th, 2010
3:10 pm

Put an absolute dog at quarterback, then don’t be surprised when the whole team ends up with fleas.

Looks like little brother (Auburn) got tired of big brother (Bama) getting all the attention and the championships. Little brother got a little desperate.

lawzoo

November 12th, 2010
3:10 pm

The story within the story is why didn’t Mrs. State pay? Who is stealing the player’s fund?

Has the Starville Savings & Loan gone belly up?

Also how much did Clemson offer or was it too much to endure at any price?

Questions that need to be answered.

Monica

November 12th, 2010
3:12 pm

Thug – My words exactly. Thank you!

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:14 pm

Liti”Gator”—-

Of the high crimes and misdemeanors of Cameron Newton which you just listed, we only know one thing to be true with any certainty: he was found by campus police to be in possession of a stolen laptop. No official university source has confirmed Cam’s purported academic integrity issues, nor will any official source ever do so unless authorized by the former student in question or ordered to do so by a court of law. All of the allegations beyond Cam’s laptop problems are nothing more than gossip and hearsay at this point. Sometimes, gossip and hearsay are true; sometimes not. I guess we’re going to find out in this case.

T3

November 12th, 2010
3:15 pm

IF…and its mighty big IF…

If solid, documented proof emereges that it was
“Pay-for-PLay” with Cam Newton and his Father…

…Auburn fans are going to look like the biggest
collection of horses’ azzes this side of the Kentucky Derby.

Tick Tock Tick Tock…the clock of Truth continues the countdown.

Verlaine

November 12th, 2010
3:20 pm

Wound my heart with a monotonous languor.

J Clay

November 12th, 2010
3:21 pm

Why would they bench him now? If he ends up being inelligible they will FF all games…or look at it the other way – say he is deemed elligible but they sit him this weekend and they lose – they ruin their season….so play him either way

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:21 pm

T3—-

I don’t really see a lot of Auburn alumni or fans saying much of anything on this blog or anywhere else. Apart from the obvious blog poseurs, most Auburn fans seem to maintaining a fairly low profile right now. After all, what can they say? Auburn fans don’t know whether these allegations about Cam Newton are true or not, any more than you or I do.

egeagle

November 12th, 2010
3:21 pm

Even with the flames, not mere smoke, licking at AU’s backside, they must still rant against UGA. What sort of break is UGA receiving here? Uncertainty about the makeup of the team they face tomorrow? A fired up fanbase? A circle-the wagons mentality to further inspire AU? Georgia, where felons are gone and mesdemeanors get suspensions. Media inflates minor offenses to sordid levels, and hundreds of hits come as rival after rival pile on UGA. Why does anyone feel sorry for AU? The media bromance between the media and Laptop has been nauseating all season. Had he come to UGA, and I’m glad he and his sort don’t, then Aubies, Gators, Bammers, and all would be burying him and the school on far less background than this. Remember the vile things said about AJ Green, who was innocent of the original charge, but suspended 4 games for selling his jersey? And the Bama kid who WENT to Miami and received much more than a thousand dollars who only got two games? And the crowing of Ga’s rivals is never diminished when UGA is missing a pivotal player. Georgia is irrelevant, yet people take pages of text to tell us that they don’t matter. They’re not a rival, but a “brilliant” coach lifts teh suspension of a troubled player to winone of the biggest of his career.
I’m only a second tier Dawg fan, but hearing the hatred of other programs makes me want them to stick the garbage right back into the faces of the Dawghaters.

GT VET

November 12th, 2010
3:23 pm

Sounds to me like a bunch of crybabies…Im in NOWAY an Auburn fan,but everyone knows UF,LSU and Bama are the medias little darlins..(UGA is the AJCs)now Bradley wants Newton to sit out the Aub vs UGA game..LOL to funny..MOst of this stuff was known back in the summer,why NOW?? Because Auburn is making a run for the NC..Had Auburn already lost a game or 2,this would be yesterdays news.I also can pretty much bet you,Alabama has stoked the fire…Ive heard espn (better know as SEC sports news) yap over and over ..shouldnt a 1 loss Alabama team play for the NC before a Boise or TCU undefeated team get in..LOL how about a 2 loss Bama team?? or even 3..Good lord..Boise or TCU would spank any team in the SEC and Oregon KILLS any SEC team.Its like the SEC and espn think its their right to play for the NC every year.Talk ,talk yap, about the EC being the best conf.It getting OLD..Ye the SEC has (this year) 3 or 4 better than avg teams..In past years MAYBE 2.yea yea but ECs won 4 of last 5 NCs ,yea and look who they matches up against in the Bowl,team that didnt even win its Conf, team where the QB sat out and Tex still nearly won..If you idiots havent figured out its not about being the best ,its about MONEY..PERIOD!! and who has the most fans,and biggest stadiums,and travels with the most fans for the MONEY?? the SEC…..btw when will teams like Auburn,Florida,and Alabama EVER leave the south and go play somebody? ANYBODY??.Auburn has played outside of the south 3 times in 12 years,Alabama 2 times in 14 years,Florida 1 time in 20 YEARS!!!All 3’s record in those games….0-6…LOL..ohhh ok I know now why they wont leave …Cam Newton should be left alone..even without him Auburn beats uga…with him Auburn KILLs UGA…

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:23 pm

Verlaine—-

And, yes, I have seen the 1962 movie version of “The Longest Day.”

AJ Green

November 12th, 2010
3:27 pm

How much for a Cam Newton game jersey?

Cecil Newton

November 12th, 2010
3:28 pm

$180,000. It ain’t gonna be free this time baby!

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:28 pm

AJ—-

That depends on who wins on Saturday. Good luck.

Bobby Lowder / Pat Dye / Gene Chizik

November 12th, 2010
3:29 pm

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
3:30 pm

Heres a lighter view: Charles Barkley said the guy who only asked for 200k for Cam Newton should be fired for only asking for 200k. That’s some good stuff.

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:31 pm

GT VET—-

You may not have noticed, but the Florida Gators football team has played and beaten the Big Ten and Big XII champions in the last three seasons. And by pretty convincing margins, as I recall. Are those big enough out-of-conference opponents for you?

Justice is Served

November 12th, 2010
3:33 pm

Where there is smoke there is fire my friends …

What is Auburn smoking? … They are going to pay a higher price for ignorance. (USC has nothing on this).

What about those teams that got smoked by Newton? … Really, vacating wins. Auburn is at best a three-win team without Newton. This is a prime example where wins should be forfeited not vacated, and sooner rather than later. It would set a precedent, that if you cheat you don’t to get reap the rewards. And the other teams that you cheated will not be robbed.

What is Mississippi State smoking? … Nothing as far as I can tell. They follow proper channels and the SEC drops the ball. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that the NCAA leaked the story to shake the tree for more evidence.

What was Slive smoking? … Don’t get this one. Was he hoping this would just go away? These are serious allegations that seemingly got nothing more than a glance over. They may or may not have gotten more than that, but in the court of public perception looks really bad. If that is true, it’s time for Slive to go.

What was Cecil Newton smoking? … Can’t blame him for wanting to get paid. Who doesn’t? But come on, you suppose to be a man of the cloth and you are shopping your son around like he is a piece of meat. You couldn’t wait two years for him to make it to the NFL?

What is Cam Newton smoking? … One has to feel a little sorry for the kid being shopped like that but rules are rules and he is the one that is going to have to pay the price.

T3

November 12th, 2010
3:33 pm

The NCAA simply amazes me……

The Reggie Bush “saga” got drawn out over almost 5 years when
everyone in the State of California…KNEW…Bush and Family
had taken HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE money in a blatant “Pay-for-Play”
arrangement.

Its time to simply disband the NCAA for a more ethical
and responsive organization for College Athletics, and return
control of College Sports finances back to the schools.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
3:35 pm

Well, according to this, Cam is still on track to start tomorrow. Hot off the presses. Or the keyboard. Or something like that.