Mississippi State Football: The Clouds Gather Over a Once-Bright Season

Kevin McGradySenior Writer INovember 18, 2010

STARKVILLE, MS - OCTOBER 24:  Head coach Dan Mullen of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, during pre game warm up against the Florida Gators, at Davis Wade Stadium on  October 24, 2009 in Starkville, Mississippi  (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
Rick Dole/Getty Images

It was revealed on the Paul Finebaum radio show that Megan Mullen, wife of head coach Dan Mullen, is the source of some of the infamous leaks in the current NCAA investigation into recruiting at Mississippi State. Between recent statements by Mississippi State boosters John Bond and Bill Bell and Megan Mullen's leaks it has tightened the noose around the neck of the Mississippi State football program.

It would appear that it is too late to put the worms back in the can, but if Megan Mullen and other leaks were to cease giving the NCAA more information that is damaging to the program, it could be that the final results of this investigation might go easier on her husband's program.

While the Cam Newton side of this investigation has been publicized, speculated, exaggerated and even lied about to the nth degree, the victim that is becoming more and more apparent is going to be the football program at Mississippi State. The obvious violations have been exposed by one leak after another.

The only recruiters that are authorized by Mississippi State are coaches. This information was made obvious in statements from Coach Mullenearly on in this process. The Mississippi State football program was made aware of the problems in recruiting Cam Newton in November 2009, yet the program admittedly continued recruiting this player until he signed with Auburn on December 31, 2009.

Mississippi State did not report these recruiting problems to the conference when they occurred so that the NCAA and SEC could take appropriate action and protect other institutions involved. They waited until sometime in January and only partially reported the incident.

Bell and Bond have admitted to taking part in the recruiting process. In his last statement Bell admits to both being a booster and to multiple contacts with who he thought was a representative of a perspective recruit. This is certainly not allowed in the current NCAA recruiting rules.

Fans can assume both Bell and Bond were aware and very familiar with NCAA rules as both were former Mississippi State football players. Why did they consider it OK to discuss cash payments with or about a recruit? It would seem when the subject was first brought up the proper answer was to simply say we can't discuss such things as it is against NCAA Rules.

Kenny Rogers' lawyer came out with a statement that basically said his client was dumb to get involved in this. This is nothing new to Mississippi State fans as even the least educated in NCAA rules would have know better than to do what he said he did. He is a former Mississippi State player as well and will be considered an agent or booster of the Mississippi State program in the eyes of the NCAA.

Rogers would have the fans, of the program he has so damaged, believe that he became the go between for Cecil Newton to directly solicit money from Mississippi State boosters to get a recruit to the football program. He says this was all done free of charge, out of the kindness of his heart, without the expectation of pay.

In his statement he admitted to working on this for at least three days and making several phone calls and text messages. Why would Rogers travel hundreds of miles, make several contacts and spend valuable time on this without the expectation of pay? His lawyer could be right, he might just be that dumb.

In another troubling development, Bell came out and modified his original statement to say that Cecil Newton did not directly ask him for money but that Kenny Miles did that for Mr. Newton. He also admitted to multiple contacts and even a conference call in the nefarious deal.

At no time did any of these boosters and agents of the Mississippi State football program state that they explained to Cecil Newton that they could not pay him for his sons agreement to come play ball for Mississippi State. In fact it appears just the opposite might be true.

The other elephant in the china shop is the unnamed source leaks that have described several actions in this recruitment gone wrong. The one thing these sources have not leaked is if the Mississippi State coaching staff called the Newtons and explained to them that asking for money to attend Mississippi State would render Cam Newton ineligible. This would have seemed to have been the first thing they would have done.

As the days go by, it becomes more and more clear that Mississippi State, their football program and the athletes in tat program will wind up being the biggest losers in this investigation. It certainly appears at this point that the eventual ruling will go hard for all things Mississippi State.