MSU Booster In Question: Cam’s Dad Sought Cash

In an interview today on Dallas radio station KESN-FM, former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers accused the father of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton of seeking upwards of $180,000 in exchange for Newton signing a letter of intent to play football at Mississippi State.

Bill Bell

(MSU AD Scott Stricklin recognized Bell at an alumni event last June)

During his comments, Rogers, who is accused of soliciting payment on behalf of Cecil Newton, added that he had sought such financial compensation for Newton from former Mississippi State football player and current booster Bill Bell.

Bell, president of Bel-Mac Roofing company in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., has since confirmed that Cecil Newton indeed placed a price on his son’s services as a college football quarterback.

From Pat Forde, Mark Schlabach and Chris Low ESPN.com late Thursday:

Rogers said that on Nov. 28, 2009, he and Cecil Newton followed each other out of Starkville, Miss., after the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game. He said Newton asked him: “What do you think is going to happen? You think it’s going to go through?”

Rogers said he was referred to a Mississippi State booster named Bill Bell. Rogers said he left Bell a message telling him he was with Cecil Newton, who wanted to know if the deal was going to happen.

Bell, when contacted Thursday night by ESPN.com, confirmed Cecil Newton did ask for money in exchange for Cam Newton signing with Mississippi State. Bell said he was contacted by the NCAA about the matter and spoke to an investigator earlier this week.

“That’s all I want to say about it at this point,” Bell said.

Bell, a Florida resident, was an offensive lineman at Mississippi State in the early 1980s and played with Rogers.

An SEC school administrative source who wished to remain anonymous has since confirmed to me that the message Bell received from Rogers, allegedly on behalf of Cecil Newton, was forwarded by Bell to NCAA investigators.

On the subject of Cam Newton’s eligibility for the remainder of the season, NCAA rules stipulate that it is up to the school - in this case Auburn - to determine if a student-athlete is currently eligible for intercollegiate competition.

Late Thursday Stacey Osburn, an NCAA spokeswoman, told the NEW YORK TIMES that if Auburn allowed Newton to play despite knowing that he committed NCAA violatons, the school could be “subject to harsher penalties down the road.”