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

LAdawg

November 12th, 2010
8:40 am

Bank statements will tell the story. Didn’t A.J.’s suspension happen because the NCAA was investigating an agent’s party, of which there was no guilt, but found the $1000 in his bank records from the sell of the jersey? The NCAA nor the SEC has subpeana power, thus the involvement of the FBI. If the money was paid, it will be found; from whom to whom.

hssjsnBama

November 12th, 2010
8:40 am

What about the al qaeda ties they found? :)

Me and you and a Dawg Named Belue

November 12th, 2010
8:40 am

Hey More SEC Cheating,

You’re probably right. Colorado could win the SEC Least- assuming they played all their games at home and had their opponents fumble away the win at the very end. Of course that means they would easily win the ACC as well because we know what happens when a team from the sec plays a teamfrom the ACC. Oh and no one from the other conferences ever does anything shady.

I’m sure Auburn has done nothing wrong here. I bet Cecil just changed his mind about the money cause he just thought Auburn was just a real swell school.

DawginLex

November 12th, 2010
8:40 am

This is the same Miss St coaching staff that many folks want Greg M to hire after he fires Richt?

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:40 am

Murphy,

It’s been reported on several sites. I saw it on rollbamaroll.com

Cam Corleone

November 12th, 2010
8:41 am

The irony in all of this is that if cash was received, it was used to keep a church for a community. Not exactly the worst use of dirty money

m

November 12th, 2010
8:41 am

The recruitment of Cam Newton is rotten to the core.

The sec is rotten to the core.

Tony’s biased reporting is rotten to the core.

The BS-bcs is rotten to the core.

Tony’s defense of the BS-bcs is rotten to the core.

The rotten to the core sec should be renamed the Southern Penal League and all the players and coaches should have to wear striped uniforms.

We need a 16 team playoff. We need it now.

Bobby Lowder

November 12th, 2010
8:41 am

Who is Cam Newton?

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:42 am

Murphy,

Here you go. It’s everywhere now.
Updated Newton story: http://es.pn/bTPQ9Q MSU booster/former player Bill Bell confirms to ESPN.com that Cecil Newton was seeking cash.
about 11 hours ago via web

pceasy

November 12th, 2010
8:42 am

Hey Auburn that’s not fair. A pro QB? C’mon.

boots

November 12th, 2010
8:42 am

Auburn has the choice: do what is right, and sit him, or roll the dice and go all-in, hoping you play for the NC and nothing comes of this. Tough decision. I know what they SHOULD do, but if it were UGA, I would say “no way” and play him. However, we did that with AJ Green, and it likely cost us several loses this year.

GWJ

November 12th, 2010
8:42 am

Slive and Company don’t look good at this point… a possible rare misstep?

JC

November 12th, 2010
8:43 am

I hope Cam Newton plays. Win or lose, I would rather play against the team at full strength. That’s the way any true competitor looks at the world. I can’t understand why anyone would hope otherwise.

Ryno

November 12th, 2010
8:43 am

FBI hates money laundering through churches.

SEC can drag their feet until Auburn loses a chance at the NC game. If Auburn makes it, things get dicey for the league’s PR department. You don’t punish the league’s team with the best chance at the big game..see Alabama or Florida last season.

Slive is crossing his fingers and toes hoping Auburn loses a game or two so this hubbub will subside.

Barkin'Dog

November 12th, 2010
8:45 am

This whole story smacks of a famous joke…
A guy asks a girl if she’d go to bed with him for $10,000. She said, “let’s go.”
When he offered $100, she shouted, “What kind of girl do you think I am?”
He answered, “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just negotiating the price.”

Wayne Hall

November 12th, 2010
8:45 am

What is a church building construction project in Newnan, Georgia?

Dawg_Mike

November 12th, 2010
8:45 am

Let’s do this:
Let’s hijack Tony’s blog and talk about the damn GAMES being played tomorrow

Who ya got???

SC over UF…not this time. It’s November and SC tanks in November.
The U over GT
Rocky Flop over Ole Missy
VT over UNC
OH ST over Penn ST
Baylor over Texas A & M
FSU over Clempson

and……Dare I say the MSU bulldogs over the Tide…..

Lets talk some football insted of the same tired story over and over and over…I am sick of it!!!!

Dawgtavius

November 12th, 2010
8:46 am

Kenny Rogers be a lie. Everbody know he plastic surgery were a mess and make him look like a clown. Then he try to sell chicken and that didn’t work either. Now the FBI say he took money from Auburn alum to fix up the church. I know some peoples like that song Lucille but I never did. He a lie and I hope the FBI get him for such a lame song.

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
8:46 am

shane,

This is getting ugly fast ! The remark Tony made: “Alot could happen between now and 3:30 tommorrow” Makes me wonder if maybe a judement concerning Cam’s eligibility will be called into question and maybe he sits?

DawgPound

November 12th, 2010
8:46 am

There is a fourth possible explanation for why MS State did not bring all the information to the table: they gave Auburn just enough rope to hang themselves, while holding back on the smoking gun.

RxDawg

November 12th, 2010
8:47 am

@klubkd, I doubt that. UGA was undfeated and did have a chance to play for every championship, and we sat AJ. At first I thought this was a smear campaign too, but it’s pretty obvious now that Cam’s recruiting was done in a way that doesn’t go along with the NCAA rules.

A blogger said it best yesterday. If you had a son doing as well as Cam Newton has been doing. Some turd comes out and makes these allegations against your son, you and your family. There wouldn’t be a mountain top high enough for Cecil to pronounce his innocence. But guess what? He’s not. He’s clamed up and gotten a lawyer. It’s going to be hard for him to hide that dirty laundry money from the FBI.

One other thing, make no mistake I’m not happy about this. I have no love for Auburn, but this is bigger then them and the Newton family. This is a dark dark black eye on all of us.

The Alpha Male

November 12th, 2010
8:47 am

War Cam Eagle???? Sounds more like War SCAM Eagle to me….

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:47 am

Based on comments from the NCAA once any player or anyone associated with player seeks pay for play, they are ineligible. No matter which University they were seeking money from.

Cam Corleone

November 12th, 2010
8:48 am

The SEC should boot Miss State. They never win anyway, don’t bring any money to the table (just under the table to kids and their families), and now Miss State is costing them money and their marketing brand. Get rid of that cowbell ringing, 40,000 seat stadium having podunk blight on the conference and bring in someone worthy like Texas.

[...] There are some critical decisions to be made by the SEC and Auburn regarding Cam Newton. (AJC) [...]

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:49 am

Murphy,

If Auburn is smart they sit him. If the NCAA informs Auburn there is evidence of pay for play and they as aUniversity chooses to play him, then Look Out! Auburn will then be on the hook.

T-Bone

November 12th, 2010
8:49 am

Tony,

If I’m right, no money was ever paid. So all we have is a greedy dad trying–unsuccessfully, however–to sell his son’s athletic ability to the highest bidder.

Sure this is a big story, but it shouldn’t overshadow the rest of college football. The more you feed this story, the more it takes on a life of its own. Just leave it alone and give us some other storylines. At least give us the Friday Forecast.

Tramp Stamp

November 12th, 2010
8:49 am

Cam will lead Auburn to a glorious victory againt the smelly dawgs.

MIke

November 12th, 2010
8:50 am

It’s time for both Newtons to be men and be accountable for their actions and come clean. Get it over with, already.

Jimmy Rane

November 12th, 2010
8:51 am

What is YellaWood?

Don

November 12th, 2010
8:53 am

Congrats Tony – finally some good reporting on this and I will stay tuned so you ‘da man. LMAO last night watching Heath Evans on ESPN talking about all that Auburn man “integrity” bull crap – is there an “Auburn man” on the coaching staff at Auburn to make sure there is some integrity? Looks like it is too late to save Auburn – hope the SEC office has a team line up to replace there sorry asses cause they are “gone pecans”. Gene Chizik will just fly off and leave the ashes

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
8:54 am

shane,

I dont know? I see Auburn rolling the dice.Why not play him.They will already forfiet 10 games.what’s 2 more?

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:55 am

Murphy,

Yeah I can see that point, but they will be risking serious sanctions down the line.

Chris

November 12th, 2010
8:56 am

Who asks for “between $100K and $180K” That just doesn’t ring true to me. If it was $100K to $200K, it would make more sense. I suspect this Bill Bell guy may be tailoring his story to match the others.

Second point. Why does everyone think the Florida grades information had to come from a coach or administrator? If you are on the team with Cam, and he gets suspended for cheating, you’re probably going to know the details. And you might tell one or two friends about it. So, there doesn’t have to be some nefarious plot by Urban Meyer. It could be any ex-player, etc.

kiffinisatosser

November 12th, 2010
8:56 am

I had no idea that Kenny Rogers was an agent as well!

You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em.

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
8:56 am

You’re right MURPHY. It’s ten games too late in the season to bench him now. Let him play.

CR

November 12th, 2010
8:56 am

Anyone believing Auburn has clean hands in this double-wide dowop is probably shoving crack up their rear. And anyone believing Ms State wasn’t outbid and didn’t developed a bad case of the red arse has been eating too many Starkville mud pies. And to the church members who worship at the alter of Newton, don’t forget to give thanks to Cam for the gifts you have or are about to receive.

DawginLex

November 12th, 2010
8:56 am

No more Cam talk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Everyone submit their picks on this blog now!

Auburn 28 UGA 24
Alabama 20 MSU 17
SC 28 florida 27
GT 38 Miami 35
FSU 42 Clemson 37
UNC 27 VT 24
UT 29 Ole Miss 28
OSU 35 PSU 21

dawghuff

November 12th, 2010
8:56 am

It all hinges in the Church.

I don’t think any of us doubt for one minute that Cam’s father is a scum bag just like his son who stole a lap top and somehow avoided conviction for being the thief he is.

The boy wasn’t taught morals by his religious father, nothing new there, Christians are notorious for being of low moral character, just ask Eddie Long and remind yourselves of the long list of “ministers” who broke the law.

The boy has low morals, his dad had low morals, the church is the key, how did it suddenly become repaired. There lies the smoking gun and the reason Cecil is now laying low.

jumbeauxtiger

November 12th, 2010
8:57 am

Fearless Friday Forecast:

Ga Tech 34 Miami 31
FSU 24 Clemson 17
Florida 20 SC 13
Alabama 30 Ms State 13
UNC 24 Va Tech 20
UT 24 Ole Miss 23
Texas 24 Ok St 21
Oregon 44 Cal 17
UK 34 Vandy 14

And….

Auburn 34 UGA 27 (With Cam)
or
UGA 27 Auburn 16 (Without Cam)

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
8:57 am

He would be incapable of such shenanigans. Now pass the plate, b*tch.

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
8:57 am

shane,

I think AU is in to deep already. No way out of this.

Spike

November 12th, 2010
8:58 am

I love watching these AU goobers sweat it out!

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:58 am

Kenny Rogers Roasters
Toasting Auburn Since December 2009!

Will be selling in T-Town come Iron Bowl Week.

Gene Chizik

November 12th, 2010
8:59 am

Malzone!! We got to burn that receipt from the preacher and we gotta burn it now!

shane

November 12th, 2010
8:59 am

Murphy,

I agree with you. They’re toast.

ATL is TigerTown

November 12th, 2010
9:00 am

If Cam were an average QB playing for a 5 and 5 team in a weak division, non of this would even make the news. This whole issue is about sour grapes, creating a distraction and making news. When your house is clean, or you have some credible evidence, Kenny Rogers doesn’t count, come see me. Otherwise, you have zero info of interest.

MURPHY

November 12th, 2010
9:00 am

jumbeauxtiger,

Carolina over UF 28-27
Okie St over Texas 35-24
UGA ??? As a Dawg fan-I aint touching this deal. All I can say is Go Dawgs.

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:01 am

I will lead ye through the shadow of valley of eligibility.

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
9:02 am

@ATL is TigerTown

You left out the WAR CAM EAGLE!!!

Otherwise… Perfect!