The day before the 2009 Egg Bowl between Mississippi State and Ole Miss, Cecil Newton told MSU’s coaches in person exactly how they could sign his son, Cam, to a national letter of intent.
By paying between $100,000 and $180,000.
That’s according to Kenny Rogers, the former MSU player originally fingered as the man shopping Newton. He said on a Dallas radio station Thursday that Cecil Newton told two Bulldog coaches on Nov. 27 that his son could be bought, but the coaches said they wanted no part of it.
Rogers said Newton told him that “it’s not going to be free this time.” Cam Newton began his career at Florida before transferring to Blinn College in Texas.
Newton was heavily recruited by MSU, but he committed to Auburn on Dec. 31. His Tigers are now 10-0, and he’s the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
Newton was on his official visit to MSU when his father made the money pitch at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville. Rogers said he told the elder Newton he could talk to another former MSU player, Bill Bell, a businessman who lives in Florida.
“If somebody’s asking for that kind of money, I don’t have that kind of money,” Rogers said. “I called somebody I was close to to see if he knew anybody.”
Rogers said it was Bell who then called John Bond, their ex-teammate at MSU who said last week that Rogers had approached him directly offering Newton’s services.
Bell confirmed to ESPN.com that Cecil Newton was seeking cash for his son’s commitment.
Bond told ESPN.com that he did in fact deal directly with Rogers and will be turning over phone records that prove it to the FBI on Tuesday.
In a statement to the Journal, Bond said, “I am standing behind my statement, and I did what was right for my university.”
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that both Newtons admitted to MSU recruiters over the phone that money would be required to get Cam on campus. MSU released a statement Wednesday saying it had told the SEC about an “issue” with its recruitment of Newton, but the SEC said the issue reported wasn’t those alleged phone conversations.
Rogers said his role in Newton’s recruitment didn’t last long.
“I guess after nothing went down (with MSU), that was it,” he said. “Next thing you know, Cam went to Auburn.”
If what Rogers said about Cecil Newton is true, it could constitute a major NCAA violation. The NCAA has been investigating the case since July but is not commenting specifically on it.
“Generally speaking, the solicitation of cash or benefits by a prospective student-athlete or another individual on his or her behalf is not allowed under NCAA rules,” NCAA spokesman Stacey Osburn said.
She added that whether such a solicitation would be considered a major violation “would depend on the specific situation.”
Rogers said he doesn’t know if Auburn paid Cam Newton money or if the school was even solicited by Cecil Newton.
“No idea,” he said. “I’m trying to clear the record with me.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal