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.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

746 comments Add your comment

Cam Newton

November 12th, 2010
3:36 pm

Anybody out there need a laptop? I know a guy who can get you one cheap! Hardly used. Ignore the scrapes and dents. Took an unfortunate fall out of a window.

TallaDawg

November 12th, 2010
3:36 pm

I am sick of the excuse of “the schools and NCAA make money why can’t the players?” Because, those are the rules and you get an education and exposure in return for your effort. If you do not like the rules. Do not go to college; work out on your own for three years; and try to get drafted while remaining ignorant and uneducated. Most players realize that they are not going pro, and the education they are getting costs others tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:37 pm

BAMA dude—-

No surprise there. In for a dime, in for a dollar.

GT VET

November 12th, 2010
3:37 pm

LOL @ egeagle..your glad He ( Newton) and his sort didnt come to uga?? LOL now thats funny I dont care who you are,seeing his”sort” Does go to uga…13 arrests isnt it in what 6,7 months? Ohhh they werent felony charges..just a hit and run,nothing really bad huh…what if he had hit YOUR kid, or ANY kid,would it still be ok with you??You people make me sick and college sports (semi pro sports) is getting WAY outta hand,all for the MONEY.Its just precious how you pup fans stand behind your criminals uhmm I mean athletes.Yea Im a GT man and I have a good friend whos son plays for UGA( and plays ALOT) hes Never in trouble.If a kid for GT does anything like that ,and I dont care how good he is ,I say kick his butt off the team.This nonsense has got to stop ..

Rye

November 12th, 2010
3:37 pm

GT Vet,

UGA has just as many BCS wins as the entire ACC COMBINED!! Sit down and STFU!!!

SEC Analyst

November 12th, 2010
3:40 pm

Tech players can sell their jerseys all day long. The NCAA would only consider any funds illegally obtained from such a sale as petty larceny.

bates

November 12th, 2010
3:40 pm

I get why Auburn isn’t sitting him. The entire season is going to be vacated at this point if Newton is guilty, but I really think their defiance is going to be what does them in at the end.

Amused

November 12th, 2010
3:40 pm

No one has produced any evidence of anything. That so called interview in Dallas is crap. Other than Kenny Rogers, no other names were mentioned and he couldn’t “remember” details to save his life. You have no documentation, no recordings, etc. The timing of everything in the last two weeks stinks to high heaven. Auburn is absolutely correct to play him.

FREE COKES!! FREE HOT DOGS!!

November 12th, 2010
3:40 pm

I bought a Tech jersey for a quarter!!!!

Douglas Quaid

November 12th, 2010
3:41 pm

@Talladawg,

Most of the “student athletes” don’t even do their own homework. Its the SEC, they are in school for football, not Biology

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:41 pm

BAMA dude,

AU all in. Cam will play the rest of the games unless the NCAA lowers the boom.Wouldnt do any good to stop the Cam train now.

TallaDawg

November 12th, 2010
3:42 pm

GT Vet-

You obviously have issues. And, all of the extra “LOLs” and “yeas” show your immature and ignorant perspective.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
3:43 pm

Amused

November 12th, 2010
3:40 pm
No one has produced any evidence of anything. That so called interview in Dallas is crap. Other than Kenny Rogers, no other names were mentioned and he couldn’t “remember” details to save his life. You have no documentation, no recordings, etc.

That’s not necessarily true. Bill Bell says he knows that Cecil asked for money and that he already spoke to the NCAA. Also said that he forwarded a VM of some sort.

DIT

November 12th, 2010
3:44 pm

I bought a Tech jersey for a quarter!!!!

You’ve gotten taken to the cleaners my friend!

TallaDawg

November 12th, 2010
3:44 pm

Douglas Quaid – Maybe some of the “stars” are like that, but the vast majority of players are not. How many do you personally know?

GT VET

November 12th, 2010
3:44 pm

Atlanta Gator…In my hurried writing I fail to say, regular season…but either way where did Fla play those teams?I can assure you it wasnt AT the big ten ….

P. Bull Terrier

November 12th, 2010
3:44 pm

Has anyone stopped to ask WHY any school would have paid Cam Newton $180,000+ to transfer to their program? Remember, when he came out of high school, a lot of teams weren’t even interested in him at QB. When he was at FLA, he was burried on the depth chart and had problems following the rules. It’s not like everyone thought he was going to be a Heisman candidate back when he was looking to transfer. That came as a surprise to nearly everyone. This was a guy whose skill set didn’t fit a lot of programs, with a history of legal issues.

I’m not surprised a few teams were willing to take a chance on him, but it’s hard to imagine that he was in the position to spark a bidding war for his services.

@ Amused

November 12th, 2010
3:44 pm

Did you not even bother to read the very article you are posting on? Bill Bell is a name and he too has supported the same allegations. There are names all over the place. Just because you are an Auburn homer doesn’t mean you just ignore reality.

George

November 12th, 2010
3:45 pm

Southwest Conference Part II

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
3:46 pm

Actually, it would Murphy. This is gonna stink for the SEC. Just watch- he plays tomorrow and they clinch the West then he’s suspended before the Iron Bowl. What are the odds that Auburn wins the IB and SECCG without him? I say next to none, and even if they did the BCSCG would be ugly. Of course, some voters might pull them off the ballot in that case so TCU gets in. Who knows?

SEC Analyst

November 12th, 2010
3:48 pm

Tech gets some credit for losing in a wide variety of locations. They have to take pride in something.

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:48 pm

I wanted a Reggie Ball jersey,but after 4 years of but whoopings from the Dawgs nothing was left of it. Maybe we can bid on Tech’s newest Heisman winner-Nesbitt LMAO

Beast from the East

November 12th, 2010
3:49 pm

GT Vet,
Ohio State in the BCSCG, Oklahoma in the BCSCG. I know that’s not as tough as Kansas on the road but it’s all we have to brag about. LOL!

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
3:50 pm

TallaDawg—-

There larger point is that most of the athletic programs of Division I schools are lucky to break even, let alone generate surplus funds. Most of that money is generated by football revenue, and in fewer instances, by basketball, and is used to support the other 20+ non-revenue sports. Hell, even a good gymnastics or lacrosse coach for a major program makes low six figures. Athletic scholarships are worth $25,0000+ in room, board, books and tuition per year at any major public university. Stadiums, coaches’ salaries, training facilities, equipment, support staff, medical costs, academic counselors . . . after paying those expenses, only a handful of the biggest programs have any money left over.

Frankly, the problem with giving these kids a $250 monthly stipend isn’t that Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio State and Texas can’t afford it. It’s the bottom 90 of 120 Division I schools that can’t afford to do it for their football players, let alone all of their other athletes. Do the math.

elliot

November 12th, 2010
3:50 pm

P. Bull Terrier –

Hmmm…..Newton was the #2 nationally rated duel-threat QB coming out of high school that got a full ride to the most highly regarded program in the nation fresh off a national championship. What are you talking about???

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
3:50 pm

Interesting from AJC’s Schultz: “Spoke to buddy at Caesars today. They put Auburn-UGA game back up on board, and took it down again in AM amid rumors Cam Newton would sit.”

Beast from the East

November 12th, 2010
3:52 pm

Bama Dude,
Can you imagine if Auburn won out and then had to forfeit the games before the BCSCG? That would possibly hose LSU from a chance to play for the title. Yeah, it could be really bad for the SEC in more ways than one.

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:52 pm

BAMA dude,

I suspect if they were going to sit him they would have already made that decision. I dont see that happening past this Sat.Just my opinion

elliot

November 12th, 2010
3:52 pm

GT Vet,

Your teams plays Samford, Troy, Gardner-Webb, J-Ville State and the Citadel on a regular basis. You truly have no room to judge anyone.

GT VET

November 12th, 2010
3:53 pm

Telladog…my issues are MY issues..and as a retired Navy vet,I will put as many LOL’s and yeas as I please,,,I think Ive earned that right…but I will say anyone that would even bring up lols and yeas,seems (and no doubt is) very immature and ignorant .Im guesing that the real reason for your childish comment is that you know what I said was the truth.

hahahahaha!!!!

November 12th, 2010
3:54 pm

@ elliot,

How funny is that!?!?!? All the barners are trying to rewrite history and pretend that Newton wasn’t one of the most sought after QB’s in the nation coming out of high school!!! If you let them tell it Newton was a walk-on at UF!!!!

DIT

November 12th, 2010
3:55 pm

Heck, It’s still all hearsay, let him play. They proved AJ sold his jersey. They have yet to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that Cam’s dad took the money. This will suck if it comes out true, but for now there is no reason why he should not play.
I don’t think my Dawgs stand much of a chance tomorrow, but if he plays and somehow, the Dawgs pull it off, well I’d rather him be on the filed that not being their best player.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
3:55 pm

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:52 pm
BAMA dude,

I suspect if they were going to sit him they would have already made that decision. I dont see that happening past this Sat.Just my opinion

Don’t forget that Kenny sits down with the NCAA on Tuesday. They may very well make a “recommendation” after that.

hahahahaha!!!!

November 12th, 2010
3:55 pm

My dad is a REAL Navy vet and he wouldn’t get caught dead using “LOL’s”

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:56 pm

Beast,

A Tech fan questioning UF schedule and program? WOW, This guy should be committed right now!!!

hahahahaha!!!!

November 12th, 2010
3:56 pm

Yeah, the money that was needed to renovate daddy Newton’s church just magically fell from the sky!!!

Beast from the East

November 12th, 2010
3:57 pm

GT VET,
I’m sure we would all agree that we appreciate your service to our country. That being said, no one playing in the ACC can really talk smack to any of the other BCS conferences. You guys have the worst record in BCS bowl games. That speaks volumes about the level of competition in your conference. Brag about basketball. You guys are tops in that sport. Football? Not so much.

serious question

November 12th, 2010
3:58 pm

Will Auburn get the death penalty once all this is finally documented and proven to be true?

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:58 pm

BAMA dude,

The NCAA could recommend it,but will AU go through with it? That’s the question. Why I say this-They have gone all in for support of Cam-Will they or can they back off that position now?

Beast from the East

November 12th, 2010
3:58 pm

MURPHY,
Some people just hate a winner.

Jimmy

November 12th, 2010
3:59 pm

Jimmy thinks Elliot is right. Cam was highly sought after as a HS senior. I would think he was in a much better bargaining position at that point than he was coming out of Blinn. Florida probably paid $500,000 to get him in the first place. Now he is damaged goods and a bigger risk…so his asking price dropped to $200k.

I sure wish the NCAA would investigate Florida as well as Auburn…hell this kid’s highschool coach might have bought is lunch everyday to get him to play!

Jimmy thinks Bishop Newton and his kid seem a lot more like old Judas than Jesus. Guilty or not Cam will get his 30 more pieces of silver next year.

savannahdawg

November 12th, 2010
3:59 pm

Let’s ask Bo…………..Bo knows everything!!!!

get real

November 12th, 2010
3:59 pm

Auburn has one of the most corrupt, desperate, weaselly boosters in the nation that basically calls all the shots for the football program, and we’re supposed to believe this scumbag didn’t deal with Mr. Newton? Ha!!!

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
3:59 pm

I dont believe the NCAA has the balls to give a SEC Football Program the death penalty.

Beast from the East

November 12th, 2010
4:00 pm

serious question,
I don’t think you’ll ever see the death penalty handed down by the NCAA again. The penalties would be crippling but not the death penaly.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
4:00 pm

DIT

November 12th, 2010
3:55 pm
Heck, It’s still all hearsay, let him play. They proved AJ sold his jersey. They have yet to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that Cam’s dad took the money.

1- They don’t have to prove anything with hard evidence. This isn’t a criminal proceeding, it is the NCAA. They have handed down sanctions based on testimony in the past.

2- For the two thousandth time, it matters not if Cam or Cecil got a dime regarding Cam’s eligibility. If they asked for money then Cam’s likely to be ineligible, if they asked somebody else to find money for them then he certainly is.

GT VET

November 12th, 2010
4:01 pm

@ beast of the east ..ok when was it when Fla. went to Oklahoma and OhioSt. and played..Im looking at past seasons and just cant seem to find when they did that….You and I both know they never have and wont…UGA ,Tenn and at times LSU are the only SEC schools that will leave the south to go play a big name school…

rbi

November 12th, 2010
4:02 pm

Regarding your statement:
This story has been going on for more than a week and there is not one allegation that Auburn has done anything wrong.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Cameron Newton himself allegedly tell the Miss. State coaches that he would be going to Auburn, based on his father’s decision because “the money is just too much”? If that is the case, are we assuming that the tooth fairy gave the Newton’s the money or can we reasonably presume that it came from an Auburn booster?

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
4:02 pm

Beast from the East

November 12th, 2010
4:00 pm
serious question,
I don’t think you’ll ever see the death penalty handed down by the NCAA again. The penalties would be crippling but not the death penaly.

The death penalty is still available to second offenders. The statute of limitations is only five years though, so a school must have two majors within five years for this to be a possibility. Hopefully nobody is that stupid.

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
4:02 pm

Lowder might get the death penalty-But not Auburn