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Sheridan Defends Self; Still Big On Polygraph Tests

In the past few weeks, Danny Sheridan has become a punchline for sports columnists and many college football fans.  The USA Today oddsmaker tried to defend himself yesterday with a statement released via Twitter.  Sheridan was reacting to the fact that he was blasted by the NCAA on Friday.

“The NCAA statement about me is total propaganda and an absolute misrepresentation of the facts,” the statement reads.  “For the record, I do have sources at the NCAA and that’s why the organization has chosen to shoot the messenger.

“I spoke with two NCAA investigators last Wednesday for almost an hour.  I was consistent with them as I have been with the media and the public in refusing to divulge my sources.

“I also politely declined to share the name of the individual I have been told gave money to Cecil Newton.  For the NCAA to claim I did anything else is specious, deceitful, disingenuous and completely false.  I will be happy to take a polygraph test on these specific issues and challenge them to do so as well.”

First, the NCAA was pretty damning and pretty detailed in its statement regarding Sheridan.  It also put the statement front and center on its website.  There didn’t seem to be much worry on the NCAA’s part that it was defaming Sheridan’s character.  That is why we — and most thinking adults outside the state of Alabama — tend to believe what the NCAA said about its dealings with Sheridan last week.

Second, what’s up with all polygraph offers from Sheridan.  He’s offered during the Paul Finebaum radio show to take one.  Now he’s offering to take one in a statement released on Twitter.  Doesn’t he realize that we all know lie detector tests can be beaten:

Naturally, there are still a few Tide fans out there who want to believe Sheridan simply because they despise Auburn.  Their conspiracy theory goes like this: “If Sheridan didn’t have real dirt, why did the NCAA attack him so roughly?  They haven’t done that with anyone else!”

As if the NCAA’s slapdown of the oddsmaker’s claims somehow proves those very statements in a roundabout way.

That fact is — of course — that no one else has made claims nearly as outlandish as Sheridan’s.  Even Scott Moore spoke of having heard someone else’s tapes.  He didn’t claim to know the name of a bagman and he certainly didn’t suggest that an NCAA mole gave him audio tapes or information regarding Cam Newton.

Also, it’s a mighty long way from Sheridan’s “I have a name” claims to the photo-based scandals that pop up on websites like and  Those sites are basically showing pictures and suggesting something’s fishy.  They’re not claiming that the photos were given to them by NCAA officials.

In the end, Sheridan may well turn out to have been telling the truth all along.  But unless he’s willing to put up, it’s definitely time for him to shut up.

And offering to take a lie detector test isn’t “putting up.”  Especially when laws in the state of Alabama protect him against any suits that might be filed against him by someone he chose to name as Auburn’s bagman.  There’s absolutely no reason for him to not give up the name.  The fact that he’s decided to remain silent anyway… speaks volumes.

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NCAA Looking To Close The Newton Loophole

Tired of talking about Alabama’s current football scandal?  Then let’s dig back into Auburn’s old football scandal.

An NCAA panel has come up with a new plan to close the Cam Newton loophole that allowed the player to keep playing last year… even though his father had asked Mississippi State boosters for $180,000 in cash.  The idea is to broaden the NCAA’s definition of an agent.

If the proposal is passed, any people who represent or attempt to represent athletes or prospects for financial gain would be considered agents.  Also included?  Anyone who seeks money or other benefits for steering a prospect to a school.

Under this rule, Cecil Newton would have been viewed as an agent and his son would not have been eligible to play last year.

However, an NCAA spokesperson says the issue is bigger than the Newton case.

“Cam Newton is one of the reasons for it but it’s broader than that because there are other situations in which third parties are interceding with regard to prospects or student-athletes.”

Before our email boxes blow up, yes, this creates the possibility of a new type of problem.  It’s possible that someone not close to the player — a third cousin, an estranged father — could ask for money and get a player into trouble.  But that’s not likely to happen very often.  And to rule on such a case, the NCAA would need only prove that the player did or did not have a relationship with the person trying to act as an “agent.”

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Writer: SEC Athletic Directors Must’ve Been Voting Against Cecil Newton

Since the SEC started handing out a “Male Athlete of the Year” Award back in 1976, every SEC Heisman Trophy winner has walked away with the conference’s top prize, too.  Except for the last guy to win the award — Cam Newton.

Instead of Newton, Tennessee tennis player John-Patrick Smith won the top male award.  And that’s left Mark McCarter of The Huntsville Times looking for answers in an excellent column on the subject:

“No offense to John-Patrick Smith, but voting for him over Newton for this award is like voting a guy playing the kazoo over Springsteen on ‘American Idol.’

Smith is obviously an accomplished athlete.  He’s won academic honors as well as his athletic awards.  He opted to stick around UT and finish his degree rather than leave early for pro tennis.  He’s probably a terrific guy who is kind to old people and knows which is the salad fork and which is the dinner fork.

But he didn’t even reach the NCAA quarterfinals.  He finished ranked #10 in the nation in singles tennis.

That isn’t being ranked #1 among players in college football.

Makes me believe the SEC ADs voted against Rev. Cecil Newton — not for John-Patrick Smith.

Makes me believe the SEC ADs, at least enough of them to swing the vote, were impacted by the controversy involving Cecil Newton’s alleged pay-for-play deal for involving Cam and decided to shun him.

There could be no other reason.”

Well, not exactly.  Rather than trying to “shun” Newton, the league’s ADs could’ve been trying to protect the SEC’s reputation against the possibility of the proverbial “other shoe” dropping in the future.  Better to give the award to someone else than to give it to the man most deserving… only to have to take it away later.

That said, if that was the logic used by athletic directors in this vote, it leaves a lot up to assumption.  They’re assuming the NCAA will eventually dig up something concrete on Newton, his daddy, Auburn (or Mississippi State) and — as of yet — that simply hasn’t happened.  Not even with NCAA investigators, internet sleuths and rapid Bama fans working the Newton case 24/7.

In our view, the SEC and NCAA ruled Newton eligible to play prior to the SEC Championship Game.  If the league says he’s clean — and he’s clean at the time of the voting for his honor — he should win the honor.  Well, as of voting day, he was clean.  We would’ve given him the award.

But not giving him the trophy doesn’t mean ADs were trying to punish him.  It could be that they were just trying to save themselves from potential embarrassment down the road, a la Reggie Bush.

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Chizik: AU Had No Concerns About Newton’s Eligibility

In his upcoming book, “All In: What it Takes to Be the Best,” Gene Chizik writes that Auburn officials had no worries whatsoever about Cam Newton’s eligibility last season:

“We knew we had done nothing wrong during the recruiting process.  If we’d had any level of concern regarding Cameron’s eligibility, we would not have put him on the field and risked forfeiting games for playing an ineligible player.”

While he didn’t have problems with Newton’s playing status, he did take issue with the media.

“My complaint comes when some individuals in the media engage in irresponsible journalism that destroys someone’s reputation,” Chizik writes.  “It take a long time to repair a reputation, and sometimes that damage is impossible to recover from.  In this case there were a lot of assumptions being made and criticisms being spun out of those assumptions; it was harming Cameron’s reputation.”

First and foremost, Cecil Newton harmed Cam’s reputation by asking for money from Mississippi State boosters.  So not everything should be dumped at the feet of the press.

Second, if Chizik is hinting at two reports in particular, then we’ll agree with him:

1.  Joe Schad of wrote a piece claiming that Newton had admitted to someone at MSU that the money provided by Auburn was too much to pass up.  There was no follow-up and no proof of that payment ever emerged.  Also — while it’s assumed that Dan Mullen’s wife did the talking to Schad — ESPN has never followed up on this story and it seems they’d be happy if it were just forgotten.  Yet it remains the only mainstream non-opinion piece claiming that Newton admitted to being paid.

2.  Thayer Evans of wrote that Newton was in trouble for cheating academically while at Florida.  No proof was ever provided and sadly, it seems, no one has investigated on the UF campus to find who leaked Newton’s alleged academic situation to the press… which could be viewed as being a violation of federal privacy laws.

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Newton The Younger Talks Up Newton The Elder

Blood is thicker than water.  It’s also apparently thicker than gallons and gallons and gallons of printers’ ink.

Speaking to ESPN, Cam Newton claimed recently that he and his father Cecil still have an excellent relationship… despite the headaches the father caused for his son by, ya know, trying to sell his talents.

“I wish I could show that Cecil Newton is not what you see when you Google Cecil Newton,” Cam said in a program that will air on the four-letter network tonight.  “If I’m blessed to have a son, I’m going to be the same father figure that my father was to me.”

(Note to college recruiters in 2030: Beware of recruiting Cam Newton’s son.)

Cam also said: “It was extremely hard for me to see a person that was extremely influential in my life to be tarnished in the media.  Through it all, me and my father had an excellent relationship.  What brought me comfort at night through that time was talking to him and seeing the confidence that he had in his voice.”

There should be no shock from a son defending his father.  In fact, it’s good to see that the two men are still close.

At the same time, it’s hard to blame the media for the headlines Cecil Newton received.  If you admit to the NCAA that you had your hand out and tried to sell your son’s services to the highest bidder, you’re going to catch a helluva lot of flak.

If I had robbed a bank yesterday, it would be silly for me to whine about the press coverage of said robbery today.  After all, I’d be the one who chose to rob a bank.

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Mr. “I’ve Got Newton Tapes” Moore And Radio Station Decide To “Part Ways”

Dang.  So I guess we won’t be hearing those tapes of Cecil Newton now.

According to Cole Cubelic of Huntsville, Alabama’s “The Zone,” “Scott Moore and WZZN 97.7 have decided to part ways.”  That from Cubelic’s Twitter account.  Cubelic is the host of his own show on WZZN-FM and he is a “former Auburn Tiger” according to his Twitter bio.

Everyone will now speculate as to what went down between Moore and his station — the station found out he didn’t have tapes and was embarrassed? — but the bottom line is this: All the folks who’d bought into this guy’s claims now have quite a bit of egg on their faces.

Let’s see when and where he pops up next… and what kind of claims he makes when he does.

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Is This One Of The Newton Tapes Moore Says He’s Heard?

On a couple of messageboards yesterday, a 30-second snippet of a voicemail was posted.  The voicemail is supposedly from Cecil Newton to either John Bond or Bill Bell.  Is this clip one of the audio tapes radio host Scott Moore claims to have heard?

Let’s assume for a second that this extremely noisy recording is real.  First, it will be hard to prove that that’s Cecil Newton’s voice on the tape.  Hell, it’s hard to figure out just what the person is saying, much less who’s doing the saying.

Second, if this is Cecil Newton, it’s still a man with little credibility making claims that another school — Auburn from what we can make out — offered to pay for his son.  And if you think the NCAA hasn’t already checked into the rumors that Auburn and Lane Kiffin were tossing cash at the Newtons, you’re crazy. 

While all the non-Auburn fans out there are hearing what they want to hear on this tape — It’s proof!  I can hear Cam!  You can hear another gunshot from the Knoll! — we want to know how this tape popped up on a messageboard and who leaked it?  Was it Moore himself?  And why is the recording so terrible?  I could take my cell phone, hold it up to my answering machine, record a playback and then Bluetooth the clip to my laptop… and it would still sound a lot clearer than this tape.  Was there a jet engine in the room when the recording was made?  You wouldn’t hear more hissing in a cat fight.

The recording is so bad that it will be tough to authenticate who is actually on the tape.  After all, just because someone says, “It’s Cee,” it doesn’t mean the tape isn’t faked.  I wouldn’t expect Moore to record, “Hey, it’s Scott creating a radio stunt.”

As always, if the full, unedited tapes come to light and we get some new information, super.  We at will be all over it.  But we’re not going to buy into an unverified, poorly recorded tape that popped up on an Alabama messageboard.  That gives us reason for doubt.  So this tape’s no more valid than Moore’s ever-changing claims at this point.  It wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. 

And Bama fans, you’d be saying the same thing if someone released a tape this poor as proof that your Tide had broken rules.  You’re giving this clip credibility only because you want to believe in it. 

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It’s Time For Bond And Moore To Put Up Or Shut Up On The Newton Saga

As Huntsville radio host Scott Moore continues his media tour, dropping allegations and “here’s what I heards” in an effort to drum up cash for his pal John Bond, it might be time for someone to share an old saying with these two:

Put up or shut up.

But before everyone starts accusing this site of being pro- or anti-some school (it’s inevitable), let’s make a couple of things clear before we go any further.

1.  This site has no ties to Auburn.  Personally, I think Cecil Newton is dirty.  I think it’s highly unlikely that his son didn’t know anything about his father’s business dealings.  And I think there’s a helluva lot of smoke around AU’s program for there not to be some sort of fire somewhere.

2.  There is also zero evidence — hard, tangible, could-stand-up-in-a-court-of-law evidence — that Auburn representatives did anything wrong in their pursuit of Cam Newton.  Nothing.  Bupkes.  If the NCAA’s got proof, they’re not acting on it.  If Bond or Kenny Rogers or Bill Bell’s got proof, they’re too busy asking for cash to share it.

3.  College football is a cesspool.  The vast majority of people go about their jobs and careers the right way, I’ll grant you.  But there are enough hangers-on and ne’er-do-wells to ruin the sport for everyone else.  When people ask me why I don’t pull for a college team, I usually give the same response: “If you went through an Oscar Meyer plant, you wouldn’t want to eat a hot dog for a while.”  So I don’t find it at all outrageous that a number of schools might have really offered up cash for Newton.

All that said, Bond is getting dangerously close to Cecil Newton in terms of overall scumminess. 

If the man wants to take a stand for right versus wrong, he should release his tapes to the NCAA and/or to the world.  But by leaking hearsay from his tapes through a second party in order to start a bidding war for them, well, he’s just showing that dollars are his motivation, not right versus wrong.

Cecil Newton tried to make some money for himself.  Bond is trying to make some money for himself.  Cecil Newton tried to sell his son’s football services.  Bond made secret tape recordings of private conversations.  All those acts tend to run together in my view.  In terms of a ballpark, Newton’s sitting squarely at the 50, while Bond’s got tickets down in the end zone.  But they’re both season-ticket holders at I Don’t Trust Ya Field.

And not just because they’re money-grubbers who’ll bend some rules to get the cash they desire, either.

Isn’t it interesting that Moore is making the rounds pushing this story right at the same time HBO is trying to pry Bond’s tapes from him?  It’s as if Moore’s trying to drive up the value while a buyer’s on the lot.  What?  You don’t think Bond or his reps have told HBO the info will cost ‘em?

And is it really a surprise that the tapes — according to Moore — show no evidence of wrongdoing by Mississippi State?  Would anyone really expect a former MSU quarterback and Bulldog booster to share any conversations that might sully State’s good name?  In other words, don’t be surprised if there’s an 18-and-a-half minute gap in Bond’s tapes.  After all, Moore says that MSU officials have told Bond not to get involved in this mess.  If State is 100% in the clear, why wouldn’t the school want Bond’s (or Bell’s or Rogers’) tapes released?  I’m just asking.

And isn’t it an interesting coincidence that Moore’s radio co-host in Huntsville is William Barger, a man who played football at Alabama?  Now Moore’s talking about information that implicates Auburn and Tennessee — Bama’s two biggest rivals — in a pay-for-play scandal.  That’s not a coinydink?

Look, would I be shocked to learn that Auburn or Tennessee offered cash for Newton?  Uh, yeah.  About as shocked as Captain Renauld when he “learned” that there was gambling going on at Rick’s Place.  (See #3 above for my reason.)

But the fact that these folks won’t simply hand over their tapes makes me very, very suspicious of their claims.  Turn over the unedited tapes — and unedited is a key if you want me to believe MSU wasn’t involved — and then I’ll start giving a bit more credence to the claims of Bond and Moore.

Until then, Bond is no different than someone selling a story to The National Enquirer.  And while The Enquirer might buy it, I’m not.  Not until he turns over the goods at least.

Put up or shut up, boys.  Put up or shut up.

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Radio Host Says Newton Tapes Are The Real Deal And They Implicate Auburn & Tennessee

Radio host Scott Moore of WZZN-FM 97.7 in Huntsville, Alabama will be making the rounds today.  That’s because yesterday he revealed that he has heard Kenny Rogers’ audio tapes regarding Cam Newton’s recruitment.

“There are tapes.  There is some very incriminating, damning things on those tapes.”

Moore also said there are text messages that Rogers has kept that also shine a bad light on two programs in particular — Auburn and Tennessee.

“The bottom line is these numbers that we keep hearing about — this $150,000 offer from Tennessee, this $180,000 from Auburn — those came from Cecil Newton (to Rogers on the tapes).  They didn’t come from Auburn or Tennessee, they came from Cecil Newton.  He’s the one that said these offers were made to him.”

Moore said that he never heard anything on the tapes “that would implicate Mississippi State.”

“What I’ve heard is offers… (Newton) saying on these tapes that these offers were from Tennessee for $150,000 and a $180,000 offer from Auburn.  I heard him say that, I’ve seen the text messages.  And they exist, that’s the bottom line.”

Interestingly, Moore said there are “several tapes” from “several different people.”

First things first, once again, we’re hearing someone talk about the tapes and not the tapes themselves.  Is Moore going to make this up?  You certainly wouldn’t think so.

Second, we have to wonder if the tapes are real.  It’s hard to imagine why Kenny Rogers would manufacture false tapes unless he plans to sell them off at some point in the future.  It’s unlikely he would go to such lengths, but I saw a recent, poorly done documentary claiming the whole 1960′s “Paul is dead” ruse was real… just the other night.  There are nuts out there who will go pretty far to make a buck.  But the odds that Rogers (and others) faked phone calls and text messages?  Tinier than tiny.

Third, until we hear the tapes and see the messages, we have to wonder if Newton is simply talking big.  Just because he said it, it doesn’t mean it’s true.

As Moore says: “You get back to Cecil Newton coming to these guys in Mississippi and saying, “Hey, I got an offer from Tennessee for $150,000… I have an offer from Auburn for $180,000… Hey, Mississippi State, what are you gonna do?’”

It’s certainly possible Newton was trying to drive up a price from Mississippi State, the school his son wanted to attend in the first place.

But that’s enough of the “possible explanation” stuff.  If Moore is correct, this sounds awfully damning for Auburn and Tennessee.

Which is why one has to wonder just how much the NCAA has talked to — or attempted to talk to — Rogers.  The NCAA has been looking into Auburn but has yet to send a formal letter of inquiry announcing an investigation.  (There’s usually preliminary digging before the investigation is made official, but still, the NCAA hasn’t found/heard enough yet to dive in with both feet.)  The NCAA also just wrapped an investigation into Tennessee and Lane Kiffin.  Judging by the accusations they’ve shipped off to LA, it’s clear that the NCAA would love to get their hands around Kiffin’s neck.  If they had access to or knowledge of credible information showing that Kiffin made a $150,000 offer to the Newtons, it’s quite likely UT’s letter of allegations would have been considerably more brutal.

UPDATE – One more quote from Moore in summary:

“(Newton) went to Mississippi State and said, ‘Hey, what can you guys do for us?’  I mean that’s a fact.  That’s what he did.  And you know Mississippi State came back and said, ‘Listen, we’re not gonna do anything for you, but if you go to Auburn, we’re gonna turn you in.’  And that’s what happened.”


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No “Bidding War” For Newton This Time Around

Last week we told you that Cecil Newton has scheduled a media-only workout for his son on February 10.  We also told you that some NFL front office folks are worried about Cecil’s ongoing involvement in the Cam Newton show.

Now some front office NFL types are questioning the idea of holding a media workout altogether… and their choice of words won’t place Mark Emmert, Mike Slive or anyone on The Plains.

One NFL executive told Rob Rang of the following:

“The Newtons would be best to realize they aren’t in college anymore.  Regardless of how good he looks for (the media), there isn’t going to be a bidding war for him.  We’re not recruiting him.  They could wind up turning more people against them than for them with this (workout).”

I doubt the last part.  Some NFL GM will fall in love with Newton and make him a top 10 pick in all likelihood.  But it’s the first part of the exec’s comment that is the concern.  Yeah, the part about a “bidding war.”

Now maybe this executive was just playing around or speaking hyperbolically.  Or maybe he’s covered college football long enough to know that bidding wars really do go on and that Newton was more than likely at the center of one.

Either way, this comment shows just how much damage Cecil Newton did to college football with his attempted cash-grab.  By holding his hand out, Newton took what everyone assumed to be going on and proved that it really was going on. 

By not penalizing Newton’s son for the actions of the father the SEC and the NCAA allowed Cecil to besmirch their image.  And nobody likes having their image besmirched.

As we’ve noted on several occasions, there’s still no proof that anyone at Auburn gave Cam or Cecil Newton a dime.  But the fact that Newton did ask for cash from Mississippi State — and Mike Slive and Mark Emmert chose to do nothing about it — left college football, the SEC and Auburn to take hits on their reputation.  As evidenced by this NFL exec’s use of the term “bidding war” in discussing college recruiting.

(And yeah, we know.  Cue the smart alecks: “How could their reputations be any worse?”  Buh-dum-dum.)

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