Infamous M-State Tapes Do Not Include Newtons

In the past week a Huntsville, Alabama-based radio talk show host named Scott Moore has been touting the upcoming release of audio tapes he claims may further incriminate Cam and Cecil Newton and Auburn and Tennessee with the NCAA.

WZZN 104.5 The Zone Huntsville Scott Moore

(Moore confusion from Barrett Sallee of CollegeFootballNews.com)

Here’s a sampling of Moore talking about the “tapes” today on the Chuck and Chernoff Show on 680 The Fan in Atlanta:

“Is Cecil Newton shopping his son around on these tapes? The answer to that is, yeah, he is. … Cecil said that there are offers from Tennessee on there (on the tapes) and offers from Auburn. That’s according to Cecil Newton.

“Cecil’s shopping him around, and the sentiment there is, I believe we’ll be able to show and prove that Cam knew what was going on.

“What I’ve said is true, the tapes exist of Cecil shopping him around.”

On his own show on WZZN-FM in Huntsville last week, Moore said of the tapes:

“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.

“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.”

Moore claims he acquired the tapes from former Mississippi State football players and current boosters John Bond and Bill Bell. It was Bond who first reported details of alleged impropriety involving Mississippi State’s recruitment of Cam Newton to the school’s athletic department.

Bell later reported to ESPN.com that former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers contacted him on behalf of Cecil Newton in order to solicit Cam Newton’s football services to MSU as part of a pay-for-play scheme.

Today I talked to a source who has spoken to both Bond and Bell on multiple occasions, most recently about Moore’s claims involving audio tapes allegedly in their possession. Read more…

Former Auburn Player To Detail Allegation On HBO

In a recent interview with HBO Real Sports, former Auburn football player Stanley McClover alleged that while he was a current player at the school, an Auburn assistant football coach provided him extra benefits that would be considered a violation of NCAA rules.

Stanley McClover accused Auburn of NCAA violations on HBO Real Sports

As part of a Real Sports episode on the “State of College Sports in America” to be aired March 30 on HBO, I’ve been told McClover names the assistant coach in the piece.

The accused assistant coach is no longer at the school.

The allegation against the Auburn football program by McClover, who left the school in January 2006, falls outside the NCAA’s standard statute of limitation guidline of four years, with one notable exception. Read more…

MSU Booster Bond to Tell All If Cam Gets a Pass?

Earlier today I broke the news that NCAA investigators were in Louisiana Monday taking a hard look at the football recruiting practices of Auburn University.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

(Bond: No NCAA Justice For Auburn To Spring More Media Leaks?)

At the center of that NCAA investigation is Sean Nelson, a so-called “street agent” who may have unduly assisted Auburn football coaches in the recruitment of Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson.

Another possible concern for Auburn on the NCAA investigatory front involves ex-Mississippi State football player and now-notorious college football recruiting go-between Kenny Rogers.

It was Rogers’ now-admitted solicitation of funds from a Mississippi State booster on Cecil Newton’s behalf that led the father of ex-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to admit to NCAA investigators that he had been a willing participant in a scheme to offer his son’s football services to Mississippi State in exchange for a cash payment.

Today I learned that for that past month representatives of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel have repeatedly asked Rogers for a sitdown interview to further discuss his involvement with Cam Newton’s recruitment. Recently, Rogers agreed, and will be interviewed on March 1 with the visit to air on a yet-to-be determined date.

That date of the Rogers interview on HBO may depend on the cooperation of former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond and ex-MSU player and booster Bill Bell. HBO has also been pressing them for sitdowns the past month, but so far neither has agreed to participate. Read more…

‘95: Suspended Star Didn’t Know Of Dad Benefits

Wednesday the NCAA announced in a statement, “Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton is immediately eligible to compete, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff.

Lute Olson: Stoudamire did nothing wrong in '96, but still missed a game

Despite rendering Cam Newton eligible, the NCAA noted:

According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football.

In the same statement Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, said that Cam Newton not knowing about his dad’s activities is essentially what caused him to be completely cleared:

In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete’s eligibility, we must consider the young person’s responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement.

The Newton situation is not without precedent.

In 1995, the father of Arizona Wildcats basketball star Damon Stoudemire was accused by the NCAA of accepting a plane ticket from an agent. Stoudamire denied knowing of the arrangement while his father, Willie Stoudamire, also denied accepting the ticket.

After the NCAA informed Arizona of its allegation against Stoudamire’s father, the school immediately suspended the star guard while simultaneously filing an emergency appeal with the governing body seeking Stoudamire’s immediate reinstatement.

In announcing the suspension of Stoudamire, the WASHINGTON POST reported that Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood said at the time:

“I need to make this very clear and very distinct. Damon has done nothing wrong. Damon knows nothing of what has transpired, and Damon has had no part in that.”

The BOSTON GLOBE subsequently reported that instead of immediately reinstating Stoudamire, as it did in the Cam Newton case, the NCAA “suspended Stoudamire for the last regular-season game, reinstating him for the postseason tournament.

In his 2007 book Lute! The Seasons Of My Life, Lute Olson wrote of the suspension:

Damon had done nothing wrong, he wasn’t even aware where his father had gotten the ticket.

Frank Burlison of the LONG BEACH PRESS-TELEGRAM reported at the time that the NCAA’s final ruling on the matter, which did not come until after Stoudamire had sat out a game and before the final NCAA basketball tournament brackets were set, may have hurt Arizona’s seeding for postseason play:

Arizona (23-7), expected to earn a No. 3 seed (perhaps in the West), was given a No. 5 seed and shipped to the Midwest, where the Wildcats will face at-large selection Miami of Ohio in Dayton on Thursday.

The lower-than-anticipated slot led many to speculate that the committee may have been told by the NCAA’s Enforcement branch that Arizona All-American guard Damon Stoudamire may not regain his eligibility for the tournament.

Sources said Stoudamire, a preseason all-American, was under investigation because of the possibility his father might have accepted an airline ticket from a sports agent.

Danny Robbins of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE reported the details of the NCAA’s decision to force Stoudamire to miss a game while possibly injure his team’s March Madness seeding:

Carrie Doyle, NCAA director of eligibility, said the one-game suspension was considered a sufficient penalty. She also said Stoudamire’s father, Willie, had repaid the value of the ticket. 

More from NCAA director of eligibility Doyle in 1995:

(Agent Steve) Feldman has admitted that he wants to represent (Damon) Stoudamire and had provided the (plane) tickets to his father in hopes of representing the son on a professional level. Damon Stoudamire states that he had no knowledge of the relationship between his father and Feldman.

The similarity between the Cam Newton and Damon Stoudamire cases is indisputable. Read more…

Auburn Knew Of “Payment Plan” Before UGA!?!

Mark Schlabach, Chris Low and Pat Forde of ESPN.com report today that former Mississippi State football player and current MSU booster Bill Bell, “shared a series of voice mail messages from Rogers with the NCAA last week. Bell said Cecil Newton never specifically asked him for money, but that Newton was present during three-way calls in which Rogers discussed a pay-for-play scheme.

Cam Newton

More:

Bell said he told the NCAA that Rogers sent him a text message outlining a payment schedule. Bell said the text included a request for $80,000 the day after Cam Newton signed his letter-of-intent with Mississippi State, $50,000 after 30 days after that and another $50,000 30 days later.

Extraordinary detail from Bell on the record, but it will likely not change Cam Newton’s status for the Iron Bowl. Read more…

Even If Cam Didn’t Know, AU & MSU Not In Clear

Friday night WSB-TV reported that Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton confirmed, “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, though he’s steadfastly maintained that no money ever changed hands and said no official at Mississippi State ever made such an offer.

Cam Newton

The WSB report was also careful to point out that, “Cecil 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, with whom the Westlake High School grad from College Park eventually signed with out of junior college.

If the WSB report is accurate, by no means does that mean that the NCAA cannot conclude that an NCAA violation took place in that instance. That will ultimately depend not on if Cam knew anything, but who Cecil Newton talked to about extra benefits for signing at MSU.

If Newton talked to former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers, who has already claimed that Newton told him his son would need money to sign with MSU, a NCAA violation in that particular case would depend on if the NCAA determined Rogers was a representative of MSU’s athletic interests.

What isn’t disputable though is what Rogers said on the record last week on Dallas radio about a meeting between two MSU coaches and Cecil Newton on Nov. 27, 2009.
Read more…

Tuberville Pulls Scholarship Offer To Rogers’ Son

Four months ago Justin Rogers gave a verbal commitment to Tommy Tuberville to play football at Texas Tech. Rogers is originally from Birmingham and as a high school senior in 2007 was reportedly recruited by Alabama and Auburn - while Tuberville was still head coach of the Tigers.

Justin Rogers son of Kenny Rogers

(See update below on the current status of Rogers at Texas Tech)

In an early 2008 recruiting coup for then-rookie Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, Rogers decided to eschew Tuberville’s Auburn, along with Alabama and sign with the Huskers.

Doug Segrest of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reported the news of Rogers’ signing in Feb. 2008:

Vestavia Hills running back Justin Rogers is Nebraska bound.

“Justin’s going to Nebraska,” said Ken Rogers, the prospect’s father, Tuesday night. “We just told Coach (Bo) Pelini he’s coming.”
Rogers, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound running back, rushed for 5,322 yards and scored 59 touchdowns as a standout for Buddy Anderson with the Rebels.

Rogers visited Nebraska two weeks, taking along prep teammate Mason Wald, a Vestavia teammate. The 6-foot, 190-pound Wald originally committed to Samford but was offered by Nebraska after the official visit.

“Ken Rogers” is the “Kenny Rogers” who was recently accused of soliciting money from Mississippi State on behalf of Cam Newton’s father Cecil. Rogers has subsequently admitted that father Newton asked for up to $180,000 for his son to sign a letter of intent with the school.

Kenny Rogers was also reportedly in charge of his son’s college football recruiting process. A process that saw his son, a highly-touted running back at Vestavia Hills High School in Birmingham, ignore Alabama and Auburn in order to join a Nebraska program that was in ashes in 2008 thanks to the disastrous tenure of Bill Callahan.

That year Kenny Rogers also reportedly orchestrated Nebraska’s signing of his son’s Vestavia High School teammate Mason Wald. Despite having only an offer from Samford in hand, suddenly Wald was on his way to Lincoln with Justin Rogers.

From Segrest’s report of Wald’s signing:

Vestavia Hills safety Mason Wald’s storybook offseason is officially gold. Wald, who once seemed headed across town to Division I-AA Samford, will instead join high school teammate Justin Rogers as a Nebraska Cornhusker.

“Mason Wald just accepted a full ride with Nebraska,” said Ken Rogers, Justin’s father. “He and Justin are going to sign (letter of intent) together at 2:30 p.m.

Ah, but because of a snafu, Wald won’t actually sign until Thursday.

“I talked to Coach Pelini and he was thrilled. He told me, `We can’t wait to get those Alabama boys to Nebraska,’ ” the elder Rogers said.

Justin Rogers, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound running back, rushed for 5,322 yards and scored 59 touchdowns as a standout for Buddy Anderson with the Rebels. He was recruited as an athlete by Nebraska, and could wind up playing in the defensive secondary.

Wald is 6-foot, 190 pounds and could play safety or outside linebacker for the Cornhuskers.

Curt McKeever of the LINCOLN JOURNAL-STAR reported that Wald joining Rogers at Nebraska was somewhat of a surprise:

For a while  Wednesday, it was thought Rogers might be the final addition to NUs class.

But Pelini said Nebraska is not completely finished with recruiting for this class, noting that coaches were still involved with two other players, one of those apparently being Wald.

So why did Kenny Rogers’ son want to attend Nebraska so badly? If you believe Justin Rogers, it wasn’t about the school, it was about the coach. Read more…

Bond: Turning His Rogers Phone Call Over To FBI

Last week former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond released a statement in which he alleged he’d been contacted in 2009 by a former teammate at MSU who claimed he represented the interests of Cam Newton.

John Bond former Mississippi State QB turned in Cam Newton to ESPN

(John Bond: Phone records show Rogers repeatedly lied)

That former teammate, Bond said in the statement, was seeking money in order for Newton to sign with Mississippi State. While Bond didn’t initially identify Rogers in his statement, ESPN did report that Rogers was the former MSU player Bond was referring to. (Bond later confirmed on WCNN-AM in Atlanta that Rogers was indeed the person who contacted him while claiming to represent Cam Newton.)

Last Friday though, Rogers vehemently denied having spoken to Bond for the past “20 years or more” during an interview with Ian Fitzsimmons on KESN-FM in Dallas:

I have not talked to John (Bond) or seen John in over probably 20 years or more. Probably 20 years or more I have not talked to John or seen John.

Today, Rogers was back on KESN-FM in Dallas with Fitzsimmons, once again denying he’d spoken to Bond in the past two decades:

“Last Thursday, my name came out as being the person that talked to John Bond. And then Friday came, and John’s attorney wouldn’t even go back and tell them it wasn’t me.”

During his second denial of a phone conversation with Bond today, Rogers cited the alleged misinformation about that exchange as what primarily motivated him to go back on KESN-FM in Dallas today:

“So I just said, you know what, let me call Doug (Rogers attorney) and I’m going to get this off my chest. So that’s when I called you (Fitzsimmons).”

So Rogers is claiming the entire premise for going on the radio today to claim that Cecil Newton told him it would take $180,000 to sign son Cam to a letter of intent - perhaps ending Cam’s collegiate career - was an earlier, alleged inaccurate claim that he had called Bond.

That’s a great story so long as Bond doesn’t have phone records of the conversation … that he’s about to turn over to the FBI. Read more…

Audio: Rogers Claims Cam’s Dad Asked For Cash

Former Mississippi State football player Kenny Rogers, who last week reportedly was alleged to have been involved in soliciting money on behalf of Cam Newton and father Cecil Newton to play college football for Misssissippi State, appeared on KESN-FM in Dallas today.

Cam Newton

During an interview with KESN host Ian Fitzsimmons, Rogers said that Cecil Newton told him on Nov. 27, 2009, how much money it would require to get his son to sign a letter of intent with a school.
Read more…

ESPN: MSU Coaches Leaked Damning Cam Calls

If there was any doubt who leaked the most recent, and damaging story about Cam Newton and his father Cecil to ESPN earlier this week, there isn’t now.

Mullen verifies no recruiters besides MSU coaches

Wednesday ESPN’s Joe Schad reported:

Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.

Thanks to information provided by Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen on the record to the media yesterday - and if Schad’s report is true - those sources have been indisputably verified as Mississippi State football coaches.

NEMS360.com Mississippi State beat reporter Brad Locke Tweeted this yesterday during Mullen’s media teleconference:

Mullen, when asked if anyone besides coaches are registered recruiters for MSU: “No.”

Brandon Marcello, who also covers the daily Mississippi State football beat for the CLARION (MS) LEDGER, was the one who asked Mullen the above question. He also noted:

An ESPN.com report cited “recruiters” as sources late Tuesday night. Those recruiters say, according to ESPN.com, that Newton and his father, Cecil Newton, admitted to a “pay-for-play plan” in separate phone conversations with MSU recruiters.

The term “recruiters” raised questions and I asked Mullen today if anyone besides his assistant coaches were registered as recruiters with the NCAA. His answer was a short and pointed “no.”

I’m still attempting to contact MSU to see who is registered as a recruiter with the NCAA. My phone calls have, so far, gone unanswered.

That information could easily be had via a Freedom Of Information act, as Mississippi State is a publicly-funded state institution, but there’s no need. Mullen already confirmed it himself.

So now that we’ve established that MSU football coaches leaked the information about the Newton phone calls to Schad - if his ESPN report is correct - then why did John Bond, who is not a member of the MSU coaching staff, officially report the information about other alleged recruiting impropriety involving Newton to Mississippi State - and then front the story on MSU’s behalf for ESPN?

As a refresher, here’s the original headline from ESPN.com from ESPN’s first report about possible Newton recruiting impropriety: “Cam Newton offered for cash in exchange for signing letter of intent, ex-Mississippi State quarterback said - ESPN

John Bond fronted initial ESPN report on Newton, Rogers

That headline makes it sound like Bond was the source of the complaint to MSU against Newton, but from what we know now - including Bond confirming there “were two people” between him and alleged middeman Kenny Rogers - was he really?

In Bond’s original, on the record statement to ESPN last week about alleged impropriety involving the recruitment of Newton, he himself did not name Rogers as the middleman allegedly soliciting money on Newton’s behalf.

Instead it was ESPN, in that same initial report, that identified Rogers as the alleged go-between. (Without Rogers being named, ESPN really had no story.)

So how did ESPN get the information that Rogers was initially involved?

Now that we indisputably have verified - if ESPN’s report is accurate - that the MSU coaches leaked the Newton phone call info to ESPN, and that Bond said there were two people between him and alleged middleman Rogers, and Joe Schad’s source for the ESPN Newton phone call story was “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State, is it unreasonable to think that the same coaches leaked the info about Rogers to ESPN for its first report?

And that those same MSU coaches then proceeded to hide behind Bond as the public front for the initial, ESPN breaking story about Newton and Rogers?

And what of ESPN in all of this? Why did Pat Forde, Chris Low and Mark Schlabach author the first story about Newton and then have Joe Schad report the second? Read more…