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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www.twitter.com/MrCFB

746 comments Add your comment

fyi

November 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

Hang Down Your Head Vince Doodley = Bitter, miserable, angry-at-life Yech fan

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:15 pm

@Tech75

There is a very good reason why polygraph test results are no longer allowed in a courtroom as evidence. Polygraphs are a scam. The last thing this story needs is more fog.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:17 pm

NEW AND DAMAGING INFO ON THE CAM NEWTON STORY:

LANE KIFFIN CAN RELATE TO WHAT CAM IS GOING THROUGH!! Wait what?

Kiffin, when asked if the Newtons, or someone claiming to represent the family, ever said money would be required for Tennessee to sign Newton, Kiffin said, “No.”

Kiffin said his experience in the football-crazy SEC — “You hear so many things down there” — gave him a unique perspective.

“I remember so many things said about me that weren’t accurate,” Kiffin said. “It was a good lesson learned. If something comes on the radio or in print, I don’t think there are any facts to it at all until someone shows some proof. This is a perfect example.”

Cam, now you’re in trouble. When Lane Kiffin comes to your defense, things are pretty bad.
But seriously folks, I think the Camster knew that Mullen–his former coach–really wanted him to come there, and so he tried to get them in a bidding war. It didn’t work. To everyone else including Auburn, he wasn’t worth $200k. Good point Lame Kitten.

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
12:18 pm

Thank you kindly BAMA dude and Elrond!!!!

Terry Bowden

November 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

Hey, Auburn — I can fix this. Call me @ UNA

North Ave Killer Beez

November 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

WHO CARES? Until they have some hard evidence (proof) why don’t they just shut up about it. All the what if’ this, what if that is just tired bologne already.

Buckhead Dawg

November 12th, 2010
12:20 pm

All this football talk is boring. Has anyone on here ever cooked a salt cured ham? Also my boyfriend thinks we should host a leather & lace themed “tailgay” party, I think the old standby Hamster and toilet paper tube is the way to go. Any thoughts?

BAMA dude

November 12th, 2010
12:20 pm

Well, merculf, an announcer once said the team looked like a herd of elephants rampaging out onto the football field. Only in Lee County would folks pulling for a team called the Tigers holler “War Eagle.” If it were a deflowered farm animal of some sort it might make sense.

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

Well… If Lane Kiffin said it…

Oh, never mind.

75-76-DAWG

November 12th, 2010
12:22 pm

If any Mississippi State coaches heard the father say they wanted money, just hearing that made Cam ineligible. At that point it has to be reported to the NCAA. and Cam is ineligible until the NCAA makes him eligible again. It seems to me that Mississippi State wanted him reported for revenge but realized they were in to deep to get involved but the story got legs and now Mississippi State will end up screwing themselves. If the coaches at Mississippi State admits to the NCAA Cecil Newton solicited money , everybody will go down.

Terry Bowden

November 12th, 2010
12:23 pm

BAMA dude — Don’t you pick on my peeps! I’m waitin’ by the phone, and my brothers are ready to come with me.

KR

November 12th, 2010
12:23 pm

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
12:03 pm
Here’s the thing a lot of folks aren’t getting. Once The Rev. from The Church of What’s Happening Now pimped out his son, he became ineligible. That’s according to the NCAA-holes.

Almost Correct.

What you really meant to say was: IF The Rev. from The Church of What’s Happening Now pimped out his son, he became ineligible.

Right?

Because right now, all we have on the record (and not under oath) is the word of an MSU booster who is admitting he took part in NCAA forbidden activity, even though last week he said he didn’t.

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

@BAMA dude

Now I’m trying to picture 90,000 Auburn fans screaming Stump-broke Cow!!!

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

I stand corrected KR.

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
12:27 pm

Come on North Ave Killer Beez being on here screwing around sure beats working on a very slow Friday!

The Feds Play for Real

November 12th, 2010
12:28 pm

KR – This is a sorted mess briming with liars, but knowing the FBI is now into it some how and for some reason (and that is a confirmed fact) tells me the liars are changing their stories to become innocent. And what they’ve changed it to is really smelly for Mr. Newton, if you know what I mean. I’m guessing Cam ride the bench in Tuscaloosa later this month.

Atlanta Gator

November 12th, 2010
12:29 pm

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:29 pm

@75-76-DAWG

That only works if you assume that MSU has not been cooperating with the NCAA all along. What is the “hard evidence” that suggests that this is the case?

The demand for hard evidence seems to be very one-sided.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

Bama Dude:
Schmeckdawg get it. Really? Gets what? That the MSU coaches stalled when the SEC asked for details because the details incremenated them instead of Auburn? Do you think the SEC office is throwing away the info that MSU gave them and watching espn as a means of gathering facts?

MSU almost fell for Cams scam. They didn’t say “no, we won’t give you money” The coaches said “we don’t want to hear that” in reference to the demand for money. I can see them covering their ears and going bla bla bla. Then they put them in touch with the money guys and continued to recruit him.

Auburns investigation is using the info that MSU provided to the SEC, which they should. That info is directly contradicted by the same MSU people who are crying wolf in the media. Info that is published by ESPN is for entertainment only. Not sworn statements. MSU has shot itself in the foot. Not Auburn.

Now man-up and play the game.

Terrence Moore

November 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

Just another poor, innocent black man being bullied and attacked by the evil, racist white Big Brotha

huh?

November 12th, 2010
12:33 pm

@ The Feds Play For Real — Are you not keeping score? Two people YESTERDAY put their names out there as sources. If anyone is afraid of the Feds being involved then why would guys start coming out of the woodwork that support the allegations?

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:33 pm

@Terrence Moore

That is more plausible that the crap that Ms. Dooley’s driver is spouting.

;-)

WE ARE FAMILY

November 12th, 2010
12:35 pm

Leave Ms Dooley alone! She’s family.

JD

November 12th, 2010
12:36 pm

Ok, if his Dad solicited money and Cam wasn’t involved or received any money, what then? It seems like his Dad was the one who decided where he would go to school.

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:39 pm

I hear that Auburn plans to bench Cecil Newton for the rest of the season — just to be on the safe side.

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
12:40 pm

Easy does it there Driving Ms Dooley. I didn’t say squat about Auburn being in the wrong. I just said and let me re-phrase as was pointed out by KR is that IF Newton’s loving, doting father negotiated with ANYBODY on his sons behalf, it could have been Columbus A&M Community Technical College State University then according to the NCAA-holes he is ineligible. That’s it!

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:40 pm

@ 75-76-DAWG

If any Mississippi State coaches heard the father say they wanted money, just hearing that made Cam ineligible.

As you point out later in your post, it doesn’t matter who said what, until the NCAA agrees to it. Or at least agrees there’s enough evidence to investigate it. THEN, they send a letter.

So far, all we have is a bunch dummies from MSU saying “well he did it and we know he did it. But we didn’t tell the NCAA that because then they would actually investigate it and they would see that we were trying to pay him but couldn’t raise the money. But in the meantime, we can be “anonymous sources” for espn and tell the whole truth.

How’s that workin out for ya so far MSU?? The SEC looks bad. Yes, Cam Newton looks bad. You look really distrustful and also very very bad. And Auburn? Well, right now they look like they’re two games from a BCS CG. Nice work.

Ethan Rhone

November 12th, 2010
12:41 pm

$180K can buy a lot of laptops…and online essays.

OkefenokeeDawg

November 12th, 2010
12:41 pm

JD, your family can’t receive money either. Reggie Bush’s mom and dad lived in a big house in LA during Reggies days at USC, with the rent paid for by a sports agent. That’s what that mess started.

Obvious

November 12th, 2010
12:43 pm

@Driving Ms Dooley

How did you get access to all of the NCAA documentation? You seem to know more about this whole affair than anyone in the news media.

Plainsman Paul

November 12th, 2010
12:43 pm

Al Sharpton has called for everyone to meet him at Toomer’s Corner right after the game for a March to Montgomery. Are you with us?

WE ARE FAMILY

November 12th, 2010
12:45 pm

We shall overcome!

WAR CAM EAGLE!!!

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:45 pm

But smechster,
somebody has to report it to the NCAA–NOT espn. When the ncaa asked for more details, MSU was busy with more important stuff. Then they didn’t produce a fraction of what espn is reporting.

ESPN is not the NCAA. That’s all I’m saying. And there is no way they will get the MSU flip floppers to squeeze out the whole truth before the BCS mythical NCG.

It’s not Auburns responsibility to investigate espn reports.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:47 pm

ESPN is not the NCAA, but By God I am!!!

Sam

November 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

Thanks for an objective evaluation and not joining the Cam must sit out lynching. At this point it is clear to me that money was solicited regarding Cam. There is no objective evidence that it was at Cam or his dad’s direction. If the story is as reported and 2 assistant coaches knew about it, why did they continue to recruit Cam and wend did someone connected to the Mississippi State was attempting to round up the money to pay the dad?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 12th, 2010
12:48 pm

Stop using my name dummy!

NOT REALLY MR ANYTHING

November 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

TONY, There you go again..I like the part of ‘SEC coaches looking SEC officials in the eye, and if they are lying, they will never get another coaching job in the NCAA’??? Really??? Really? I didn’t know the SEC could dictate who other conferences hired..

Bo in North Carolina

November 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

Jouralist ?!? If you remember also 87 Duke professors got into the act by taking out a full page ad in the newspaper condemning the team and coaches and after the smoke cleared not a word nor apology came from the group of professors who took out the ad.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:49 pm

Ooops… I mean, stop using my name dummy!

Jack

November 12th, 2010
12:50 pm

Hey, everyone lay off Newton!! He’s a sweet kid!!! He even took to the time to stop and give me his autograph!!! Only cost me 10 bucks!!

Greg

November 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

@ Bo in NC,

That’s because the professors are liberal Nazis and aren’t really sorry.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

@ Obvious
How did you get access to all of the NCAA documentation? You seem to know more about this whole affair than anyone in the news media

A: I have a source at the AJC. Code name: Barnhart.

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

NCAA Investigators

November 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

@Jack

Did you get a receipt?

DawgDad

November 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

If money changed hands and the FBI is involved people are ultimately going to land in jail. Income tax evasion, Rico, money laundering. These are felonies.

So many adults involved in this apparently using the kid for their own advantage, shirking their responsibilities, potentially breaking the law or just flat out acting shady and corrupt. Again, if this plays out true, some institutional football death penalties need to be handed out.

schmeckdawg

November 12th, 2010
12:51 pm

@ Driving Ms. Dooley

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.

This is from Mr. College Football’s article above. Now one more time, IF this is true, then the kid according to the NCAA-holes is ineligible.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:52 pm

I’m out. Tony, write about some football next week.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
12:58 pm

And make it Falcons football. I don’t want to talk about Auburn anymore.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
1:00 pm

Ok smech, I’m back for just one more because you make a good point. At this time, we don’t know what Bell told the NCAA. If he said the obvious, then it could be one mans word against another. Not enough to convict. But the bigger question is: Did the coaches refer Mr Rogers to Mr Bell.

Depending on the timeline, it sure seems like Cecil told the coaches he wanted money. Coaches response: we don’t want to hear that.

Cecil is referred to Bell. MSU continues its recruitment of Newton. This is where it all gets hairy and the stories start to conflict on the MSU side. When that happens, it discredits the MSU testimony.

Still no proof.

I could say that I met with AJ Green after he demanded money. What now? Sit him?

Driving Ms Dooley

November 12th, 2010
1:02 pm

There was definitely another gunman on the grassy knoll.

picasokat

November 12th, 2010
1:03 pm

Auburn has history of payoffs according to an ESPN article in 2003

ESPN AUBURN, Ala. — Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden said on tape two years ago that boosters were funneling thousands of dollars to football players when he became coach in 1993, a time when the Tigers already were on NCAA probation.

“They were paying players cash, $12,000, $15,000 to sign,” Bowden said on the recording. “All I was told to do was shake hands and say, ‘Thank you. I appreciate how much you love Auburn.”‘

http://es.pn/cm3byA