Auburn has finally reached their off week after playing 11 weeks in a row. It has been a long road for the Tigers to tread. They have come away with 11 victories and are expected to again top the BCS Poll.
Cam Newton is still breaking both Auburn and SEC records every week. With three games left, there is no telling how many more will fall. It is a shame that the all of this has been overshadowed by a media lit-and-fueled scandal.
The truth is that no one knows any more about the recruitment of Cam Newton to Mississippi State today than a month ago. Much of the original “facts” that fed this frenzy as well as the original articles that launched it have proved less than accurate.
John Bond will meet with FBI officials on Tuesday, but from recent interviews, we do know that Bill Bell, a former teammate of Bond’s at Mississippi State, talked to Kenny Rogers about money, not Cecil Newton.
In his first interview, Rogers said he had never taken any money for helping place athletes with schools, that he did so strictly out of the kindness of his heart. His later interview told a little different story.
Kenny Rogers said he initiated the first contact with Cecil Newton when Cam first left Florida. This is how the initial contact was made. The relationship was continued when Cam was ready to leave Blinn College.
He then said that on November 27, 2009, he met with Cecil Newton and two Mississippi State coaches in the Hilton Garden Inn. He said that Mr. Newton asked for between $100,000 and $180,000 to get Cam to Mississippi State.
Kenny Rogers said this is when he called Bill Bell an alumnus of Mississippi State that knew several boosters. He did imply that the two Mississippi State coaches were aware of Mr. Newton’s request for money.
(The problem with this part of the story is that we know for a fact that Rogers, the two Mississippi State coaches and Bill Bell all knew that this was a pay-for-play request that was against NCAA recruiting rules. Both Rogers and Bell are former Mississippi State football players. We can assume Cecil Newton also knew this was wrong, as he has two sons that have played college football.)
Rogers said he called Bell since he did not have the money. We know Rogers was attempting to proceed at this point, knowing rules were being violated. All readers should listen to this interview above.
Rogers said he saw Cecil Newton and Cam at the game the next day, but there was no important contact. On November 29, 2009, he said he met Cecil Newton once again at a gas station. He said Cecil Newton asked him if he thought the deal was going to go through. He then called Bill Bell and left him a phone message asking him if the deal was going to go through.
(This is a hard pill to swallow. It seems that Rogers expects us to believe that he was completely clean here and yet he knew to call Bell to get this pay-for-play scheme done. Why had Rogers not called this off and contacted the coaching staff at this point?)
Cecil Newton says he did have discussions about under-the-table money with an ex-Mississippi State player. He also has said that Rogers was never authorized to solicit money from Mississippi State on the behalf of Cam Newton or the family. Mississippi State has not acknowledged that any coaches had direct contact with Mr. Newton about money.
(It appears that Cecil Newton remembers his conversations with Rogers a little differently than Rogers does. It can be assumed that Rogers was the ex-Mississippi State player that Newton was meaning in his statement.)
Cam Newton verbally committed to Auburn on December 18, 2009 and signed with them on December 31, 2009. There was only 19 days between this last meeting with Rogers and Cam Newton signing with Auburn. Rogers does not admit to any more conversations.
(It is odd that he would not follow up on the “deal” he was working with Bill Bell for Newton.)
There are no facts that would reveal how this deal ended or if Cecil Newton ever contacted anyone else to see if the pay-for-play deal was approved.
There are obviously huge holes in the statement Rogers gave, but for now his claims are the only evidence to back up allegations of wrong-doing.
Newton has met with the NCAA and has cooperated. Kenny Rogers has yet to meet with the NCAA. John Bond has met with the NCAA and Bill Bell has made a statement to the NCAA. The Mississippi State coaching staff has offered what evidence they had to the NCAA.
On Saturday during the CBS broadcast of the Auburn vs. Georgia game, it was announced that the NCAA had met with Auburn officials. Newton started on Saturday and was eligible with the NCAA at that point.
There has been a ton of speculation of what the NCAA will do. In fact, it has been the major topic of speculation in college sports articles by the thousands, but no one knows what evidence the NCAA has or what they will do with it. Parties that are involved with an NCAA investigation are prohibited from leaking any information involved with that investigation.
That brings up the topic of all of the leaks and unnamed sources. If an article does not provide proof or name the source, the author is simply speculating. It is just that simple. One well known writer said he did not care who his sources were as long as his story was right. He should have been so lucky.
Football fans can assume as long as Cam Newton takes the field and plays he remains eligible. If he remains eligible, that likely means the NCAA has found no major problem concerning him. That is all football fans can assume from this long week of misguided speculation.