It seemed too good to be true. Perhaps it was.
According to former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond who spoke with ESPN.com, a teammate of Bond’s made contact with him shortly after Cam Newton’s official recruiting visit to Mississippi State.
"He said it would take some cash to get Cam," Bond said to ESPN.com. "I called our athletic director, Greg Byrne, and he took it from there. That was pretty much it."
Sources reported to ESPN.com that the ex-teammate was Kenny Rogers, who played for the Bulldogs from 1982-85. During the recruitment period, Bond was allegedly told that other schools had offered as much as $200,000 for Newton.
Due to Newton’s relationship with head coach Dan Mullen when Mullen was at Florida, Bond was allegedly told that Mississippi State could receive Newton’s commitment for a scant $180,000.
Just what does this mean for the Auburn Tigers as they continue their unblemished season currently ranked No. 2 in the BCS and human polls? Newton himself is also in consideration to be awarded this year’s Heisman Trophy.
The NCAA has been combing programs with a fine-toothed comb as of late.
Take the recent the investigation and prompt freeze on players' on-the-field time at North Carolina for instance. Should these allegations prove true, one would have to think that any Auburn BCS National Championship or Heisman Trophy presented to Newton would be under the risk of being vacated aside from any other punishment handed down if Auburn did, in fact, pay for Newton's services.
This, of course, would depend on the NCAA’s evaluation of the severity of infraction a la Southern California’s recent punishment due to benefits received by former player Reggie Bush.
If this incident proves true and taints Auburn’s otherwise Cinderella story, are other SEC programs at risk for severe scrutiny and investigation? It wouldn’t be surprising.
For now, all Auburn fans can do is wait and hope that smoke doesn’t equate to fire.
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