If money went to the father - how could he be eligible? If 33000 is too much $$ for Enes Kanter h (KY), would not 180,000 make a permanent ineligibilty for Newton?
According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, “a source close” to the Cam Newton situation has told the station’s investigative reporter that Cecil Newton “has admitted having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State University player about the possibility of under-the-table money if Cam Newton signed to play football at Mississippi State.”
The source also said that the elder Newton, “steadfastly maintained that no money ever changed hands and said no official at Mississippi State ever made such an offer.”
WSB’s source says that Newton “said his son’s hands are clean, and has made it clear that Cam Newton himself and his mother knew nothing about the money discussions, nor did Auburn University.”
According to the source, “the player and both parents have demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the NCAA, beyond even the financial records turned over by the family, and from churches Cecil Newton oversees.”
(A tip of the hat to Nick Cellini of CSS and 790 “The Zone” in Atlanta for the heads-up. Usually a Friday night 10:30 call isn’t appreciated… but muchos gracias on this one.)
Once again we’re left to deal with an unnamed source. For the sake of argument, let’s assume WSB’s source is correct.
* Newton claims that he only had conversations with “an ex-Mississippi State football player,” and would be Kenny Rogers, obviously. But Rogers told a radio station yesterday that Newton gave the price of $100,000-$180,000 to two MSU coaches during his son’s official visit to Starkville last November. If Cecil Newton merely discussed the idea with Rogers, then there’s likely no violation. But if Newton delivered — or had Rogers deliver — a price to State coaches then that would constitute a violation of NCAA rules. How big of a violation? That’s up to the NCAA… but one would expect Auburn to have to vacate a few if not all of its 2010 victories so far. The question is: Did Newton talk only with Rogers or did he actually name his price to MSU coaches?
* The father claims that no one else in his family knew of his money talks. He also claims that no money ever changed hands. And he claims — all according to the source — that Auburn knew nothing of his talks with State. However, ESPN’s Joe Schad reported earlier this week that both Cecil and Cam “admitted in separate phone conversations to a pay-for-play plan” according to his sources. Schad wrote that a source told him that “an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn’t be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because ‘the money was too much.’” So which unnamed source do you believe?
* According to WSB’s source, the Newtons “have demonstrated a willingness to cooperate with the NCAA.” Could this be the reason the NCAA reportedly alerted Auburn to a possible eligibility issue with Newton today?
* I find it interesting that Newton and Rogers both denied any money talks last week when ESPN’s initial story broke. Then — shortly after the FBI started snooping around — both men apparently reversed field. MSU booster Bill Bell also went on the record with his knowledge of the story after the FBI got involved. Think this issue suddenly got more serious for a few people?
* The FBI’s involvement in the case likely stems from Newton’s relationship with his churches. This is purely speculative, but laundering money through a tax-exempt organization like a church (or churches) might be just the kind of thing that would interest the FBI. After all, it’s unlikely that the FBI would take an interest in a simple recruiting violation.