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

OkefenokeeDawg

November 12th, 2010
9:28 am

Oh, I am sure “Auburn” hasn’t paid Cam or Cecil anything. Nobody is stupid enough to write or deposit a check.

But act as if it’s inconceivable that Auburn boosters would pay Cam is funny. Former head coach Terry Bowden said Auburn boosters paid recruits $12,000 to $15,000 to sign scholarships with Auburn rountinely in the 90’s, even as Auburn was on probation at the time. Bowden says he ended the practice when he became coach.

We’re not talking about Joe Pa and Penn State here. Auburn has on probation for major infractions 7 times.

Add 20 years worth of inflation and pay raises and such, $180,000 probably wasn’t all that out of line . . .

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:28 am

@ Cecil Newton is a man of God

Bingo!!

Lanier Dawg

November 12th, 2010
9:29 am

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.

Basically someone who has between $100K – $180K worth of repairs to be made to his church.

Derek Dooley, the lesser Dooley

November 12th, 2010
9:29 am

I wish we hadn’t wasted all our cash on Bryce Bron.

JC65

November 12th, 2010
9:29 am

Why wouldn’t Au continue to play Cam? He has played 10 games already. If they have any chance of winning the SEC or national champ. it will be w/Cam.

Naomi

November 12th, 2010
9:30 am

Cam didn’t do a dang thing, and his daddy didn’t do a dang thing. This is all Miss State, they want to rurn Auburn, they want to smear Auburn, they want to win the west. They don’t have enough since to know they will be found out, I hope they go to jail.

JB

November 12th, 2010
9:30 am

I thought I read where the NCAA asked and did look at the church records…..That doesn’t mean anything though…….the “CASH” may have never seen the actual church, ole Cecil might have told them , I’ll make sure the Lord’s work is done with it…..Like they care …..

Norcross

November 12th, 2010
9:31 am

Auburn will play Cam until forced to bench him. The reason? If they are guilty, they will forfeit all of their wins this year anyway. So, benching him now would be stupid. If you have to forfeit the first 10 games because of playing an ineligible player, then what do the last 2 or 4 games matter?

It sounds like Auburn knowingly or unknowingly used a booster to pay for Cam. It wouldn’t be the first time that this has happened in the SEC. Let’s just hope that it was unknowingly…

It’s really too bad, but don’t worry too much – Cam won’t win the Heisman, but he’s going to the pros (probably next year) and will make Millions and Millions in the NFL.

JB

November 12th, 2010
9:32 am

Naomi, dear, that s/b ” sense” not since……..

Cecil Newtonis a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:32 am

How can anyone impugn the credibility of someone who is a beloved singer and chicken magnate? What is this world comong to?

SteveW

November 12th, 2010
9:32 am

Colorado is an example of a Boise St. coach outside of the MWC…The same would happen to Boise if it played in a real conference, say the SEC.

The Auburn crowd will be raucous defending their War Eagles. Bad scenario for UGA. The crowd will not let Auburn lose. I hope I’m wrong….

JB

November 12th, 2010
9:32 am

Good post Norcross…..

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
9:33 am

Hey Mr. College Football, who does your proof reading? Some of your grammar is embarrassing! You make the Bulldawg Nation look bad!!!!

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:33 am

“she’s leaving now, because I just heard, the slammin’ of a door….”

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:33 am

Boise State would win the SEC East this year. Don’t kid yourself!

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:35 am

Oh Caaaaaamron, don’t take your love to Barnnn.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
9:35 am

The crowd will not let Auburn lose. I hope I’m wrong….Steve W

That ranks among the silliest comments I’ve ever seen.

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:36 am

@Norcross

the only flaw in your argument is: if enough things came to light to warrant AU benching Newton, and they didn’t….the ramifications would be far worse than forfeiting games played in 2010.

JB

November 12th, 2010
9:36 am

We’ll have Bama, LSU, and probably Miss St cheering their a$$ off for us tomorrow,,,,,Go Dawgs….

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:37 am

you forgot the “if I could move I’d get my gun….” line.

Marcus Dupree

November 12th, 2010
9:37 am

There is more than one way to become a legend!

JB

November 12th, 2010
9:37 am

Wonder who the bag man was ?

NoGaGator

November 12th, 2010
9:37 am

The start of this whole bizarre saga came from MSU boosters/supporters and it continues to grow. It appears obvious that they were peeved after Cecil Newton decided that Cam would go to Auburn. They reported it early to SEC office and SEC sat on it. MSU claims they’re too busy to follow up with details to SEC at the time which is a crock. Who referred Rogers to have Cecil talk with Bell? Find that out and their you will find rationale for why MSU dragged their feet for 6 mo on providing details. Sounds like they have a booster network to grease palms.

There’s still no allegations about anything improper vis-a-vis Newtons and AU but FBI’s involved and probably looking at every $ they can find on the good “rev”.

I hope Newton plays this weekend. If he has a great game with all of this happening, you have to give him props.

Regardless, this is all too compelling for sports fans – who needs TV drams or soaps with this?

Sorry for the AU supporters to have to deal with this. Looks like Damon Evans and the red panties has definitely been topped.

Scott

November 12th, 2010
9:38 am

An unspeakable human tragedy………Barnhardt, you are such a blowhard fool

Dawgtavius

November 12th, 2010
9:39 am

Eddie Munster be in rehab for skrearin’ peoples. Kenny Rogers need to go for lame songs and for being a lie.

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:39 am

As a man of God, Cecil would not condone the murder of an unfaithful wife such as Ruby. Consequently, he would never support Kenny Rogers. Ergo, this story is a lie.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
9:40 am

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:22 am
Here’s a question(s). What if someone, or a group of someones (unrelated in any official capacity to a university) donated money directly to a struggling church in Georgia? How could anyone “prove” this donation was related in any way to a football player? Also, it would be tax deductible.

Cecil Newton may be the smartest guy in the room.

Not even close. Churches get busted for dirty donations all the time. This is more than likely why the FBI is involved. Old Cecil may have more at stake here than just Cam’s eligibilty- he could end up in prison. His butt(literally) may be on the line.

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:40 am

since we’re getting into acronyms….Please refer to your programs; the F.B.I. will be followed next by the I.R.S., and then our final act, the D.O.J.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
9:41 am

NoGaGator, if Missy State has a booster network set up they must not pay very well. They usually suck.

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:41 am

@ Cecil Newton is a man of God

You’re right. I’m so ashamed.

lovelyliz

November 12th, 2010
9:42 am

Attempted character assassination of Cam Newton continues
That’s what this is. There’s no other way to describe it. Even if the latest allegations against Cam Newton are true, they add up to a serious attempt at character assassination.

In 26 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:42 am

MNC is the only acronymn we care about at Auburn. There is always something other than what transpires on the field that keeps it just beyond our reach. It is enough to make me want to pay some players!

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
9:43 am

JB

November 12th, 2010
9:36 am
We’ll have Bama, LSU, and probably Miss St cheering their a$$ off for us tomorrow,,,,,Go Dawgs….

Now THAT’S an accurate comment. If UGA wins then Bama is only a LSU loss at Arky from controlling their own SEC destiny again.

lovelyliz

November 12th, 2010
9:43 am

The Times adds that Rogers shares a joint banking account with NFL agent Ian Greengross under the name “Greengross Athletic Management Enterprises,” and notes that he told ESPNChicago.com that he “specializes in transfers and players who have been kicked out of school.” Rogers is being investigated by the NFL Players A…ssociation for posing as an NFLPA employee.
See More

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:43 am

Character assasination? Try, suicide sweetheart.

Same As It Ever Was...

November 12th, 2010
9:43 am

WOW!

I mean, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW !!!!

Tony said, quote:

“Folks, I’ve been covering this league a long time but it looks like were are definitely in some uncharted waters here.”

Uncharted waters?? Are you kiddin me ??????????

THIS is STANDARD PRACTICE…in the SEC.

This is how it’s ALLLLLLLLLLLLL-WAYS been done in the SEC.

There is NO level of corruption that the SEC has not ALREADY sunk to.

Man, the world must have tilted off its axis if SEC Super-Homer
Tony Barnhart has somehow found himself in “uncharted waters.”

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:44 am

@ BAMA dude

Would really need proof on that one. I can’t recall any churches being busted for dirty donations.

Please refer to the Richard Scrushy case.

Nate

November 12th, 2010
9:44 am

@shane:
You’re a moron. No where in that rollbamaroll article does it say that. The article openly states that the author speculates that with today’s technology, there could be some tapes out there. And IF THERE ARE (which he’s not saying there are) that Bill Bell would be in the best position to have those tapes. Can you not read or are you just trying to stir the pot? Even if tapes later come out, it in no way changes the fact that the article you cite says nothing of the sort.

lovelyliz

November 12th, 2010
9:44 am

This isn’t the first time that Pete Thamel has gone public with a story of questionable substance ended up making Auburn look bad. He did a piece about courses at the school being a means for football players to maintain their grades while supposedly doing little or no work. story, published 2006, implied that Auburn was committing academic fraud.

Thamel glazed over the fact that the courses in question, given in the Sociology department, were mostly taken by non-athletes. The NCAA showed up, sniffed around, and left. Unlike the textbook selling scandal at Alabama, there wasn’t any wrongdoing uncovered related to the directed-reading courses.

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:46 am

The thing that I know is that the TSA will never do a rectal cavity search on a man of God. That is the loophole! (no pun intended).

WesDawg

November 12th, 2010
9:46 am

Auburn has been caught with it’s hand in the cookie jar, Oreo crumbs around their mouth and yet continues to be defiant. Somebody is gonna get consequences for this.

RxDawg

November 12th, 2010
9:46 am

@klubkd, back atcha. Also good points, the scenarios were a little different with AJ at the time and Cam/Auburn now. Still… knowing UGA and how conservative they are with their decesions/disciplines/actions etc. I just can’t see them playing a player under this much national scruitiny. But take a look at Auburn’s history. Those guys aren’t exactly squeaky clean. Not that everyone else is, but still Auburn has a history of “keeping it down low”. Those guys like to win games… and it appears they still like to bend the rules to do it.

McDawg

November 12th, 2010
9:47 am

so whats the deal w/ Latimore now

i hope they play him-this just makes the whole AJ thing evem more absurd

Sid

November 12th, 2010
9:48 am

does this put LSU legitimately in the title hunt? if the NCAA drops the anvil on Newton in the next two weeks does that send LSU to the title game & possibly title game? we may get our 1-loss sec vs (two) undefeated non-bcs scenario yet! can we PLEASE get a playoff & a legitimate champion?

Cecil Newton is a man of God

November 12th, 2010
9:49 am

The “deal on rhe Lattimore thing” is called “out of money.” Aubie didn’t have enough gas in the tank after Cam and Dyer.

ted

November 12th, 2010
9:50 am

The unfortunate thing for Auburn and Mississippi State is “if” they have been doing anything untoward concerning recruiting, it will come to light. This could cost both programs dearly. I had questioned why a new coach at Auburn which no one wanted at the school, could come in and recruit lights out. I also questioned how Dan Mullen could bring in such good classes knowing the history of MsState, their winning and recruiting. Both these schools have a long history of recruiting probation’s and it appears they have not learned their lesson.

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
9:50 am

Would really need proof on that one. I can’t recall any churches being busted for dirty donations.

Actually, you’re right- I worded that poorly. Preachers have been busted for running dirty money through their churches.

Nut Job

November 12th, 2010
9:50 am

I would be willing to bet that this happens more than anyone knows. One player and his dad don’t just come up with this idea on their own. Highly recruited players have been doing this for years. People were just either looking the other way or too busy with other things to worry about it. In the climate that we live in now, these things are going to come to light more often, just like we’ve seen with players across the country this year.

Any chance the FBI is getting involved because to look into financial records of the Newton family or the Church that Newton’s dad is a part of the FBI has to be involved? I have no idea of jurisdiction in this situation. Maybe they are looking into a large donation by someone from AU to Newton’s church or something???

Schools are either going to have to stop doing this altogether, or get smarter in how they do it. There needs to be much stiffer penalties for things like this. I’m talking lifetime bans by the NCAA, not only on players, but for agents and boosters as well.

3rdN8

November 12th, 2010
9:51 am

You’re nodding off at a red light…..it turns green….you continue to snooze. Some guy behind you sits down on his horn.

You stick your head out the driver’s window, and scream LOOPHOLE!!!

Hey…I like that.

Michael Vick

November 12th, 2010
9:51 am

“Dawg Mike”………….you talk a good game. How about we exchange email addresses, then phone numbers…..and make a bet? I know I feel good about the bet! Oh, by the way……..AU leads the series by 1, as of today. Hee’s a bet for you……..add 1, make it 2! I’m ready! You?
The dawgs will look like a “2nd flight” Michael Vick dog after Saturday.