ATLANTA, Ga--I’m not sure if I have ever seen a college sports story take on such a life as the Cam Newton story. I believe there is a whole lot of speculation going on and too much connecting of the dots.
The reason this story is so big is because little pieces keep trickling out. I don’t think there is a conspiracy against Auburn nor do I believe this story is orchestrated from a rival school. We are all fascinated by stories of superstars having a secret life. Same thing happened with the Tiger Woods story.
Let’s take a reasonable look at what we do know:
First off, if there was any kind of payoff from Auburn, Gene Chizik wasn’t orchestrating it. I was involved with the recruitment of highly touted Marcus Lattimore and at no point was there any promise of financial gain for the Lattimore family by the Auburn staff. Chizik wanted Lattimore a lot more than Newton. And Chizik really wanted Lattimore to complete his recruiting class. If he didn’t offer money to Lattimore, it is highly unlikely he would have for Cam Newton. I believe Chizik’s clean and so are his coaches.
This may get me banned from the press box but who cares. If I’m not speaking the truth, I’m no good to anybody.
I believe the “cheating scandal story” originated in Gainesville from the Athletic department. Cam Newton was allegedly putting his name on papers he didn’t write. I don’t know who leaked the story to Fox Sports but anybody can do that. As long as a school authority confirms Cam’s private information, which is against the law, a crime has been committed.
The reason this story points to Florida is that major newspapers were confirming the story at a rapid rate which could only be done by making a phone call to an authority. Most likely, they would call the football office or the athletic department.
Urban Meyer released a press statement stating he or his staff would not do such a thing. He did not mention the athletic department. I’m always more suspicious of press releases because it allows the author to carefully craft words as opposed to fielding questions from curious reporters. I would bet money that the Florida Athletic department was involved on a high level of feeding the cheating scandal.
The Mississippi State involvement is a little less clear but I’ve met Coach Mullen and I can’t see him pushing a scandal like this.
This is what I believe could have easily happened:
What I can see is John Bond calling ESPN with some big scoop on Heisman candidate Cam Newton. ESPN jumped on it like white on rice.
Then I can see an anonymous email made to Thayer Evans with Fox Sports claiming Cam Newton cheated at Florida. Bring out the sharks.
When John Bond is questioned he points to Kenny Rogers who runs training camps. It is very conceivable that Kenny Rogers told the Newton's he could get money from Mississippi State for a commitment.
But $200,000 is a lot of money. But more important it’s an unrealistic request which the Newton’s soon found out.
Of all the people involved in this ordeal, I would believe the “agent” the least amount. The agent is just trying to make money so he can promise anything but he doesn’t have the same accountability as coaches, pastors or journalist.
Rogers apparently told Miss State recruiters there would be a substantial financial transaction required for Cam’s commitment, and the Miss State recruiters said no way. Cam and his father could have even repeated the financial request to Miss State recruiters. It doesn’t mean they made the same request of Auburn.
Once Miss State said no way, I believe the Newton’s moved on and went to the college where Cam had the best shot of succeeding.
Here’s my prediction. No money changed hands, Newton will be cleared by the NCAA and the votes for Heisman will be real close with Newton winning.