By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Whatever ties Mississippi State had with Kenny Rogers were severed Tuesday.
The former Bulldog football player has been at the center of the Cam Newton scandal, with the NCAA saying Wednesday that Rogers and Cecil Newton worked together to market the quarterback to colleges.
Via ex-teammate Bill Bell, Rogers offered Newton to MSU for $180,000. School officials have said they swiftly rejected the offer, and on Tuesday MSU disassociated itself from Rogers in a letter sent to his office in Chicago, where he runs a scouting service.
The Daily Journal received a copy of the letter Wednesday through an open records request.
In the letter, first-year athletics director Scott Stricklin wrote that “the University’s athletics program will not associate with individuals who do not share the University’s commitment to rules compliance.”
Stricklin then outlined how MSU would “ensure that you do not become its athletics representative at any time in the future. Specifically, at no time in the future will you be allowed to:
1) participate in any organization recognized by the University as a supporter of the University’s athletics programs;
2) assist the University in the recruitment of prospective student-athletes;
3) provide benefits (including employment) to any enrolled student-athlete;
4) make a financial or gift in kind contribution for the support of the University’s athletic programs, or
5) receive any privilege associated with Mississippi State athletics that is not available to the general public.
Stricklin declined to comment when reached by the Journal on Wednesday.
Rogers approached Bell in December about the pay-for-play scheme. Bell said Rogers sent him a payment plan via text message. Also involved was another ex-teammate, John Bond, who reported the offer to MSU officials, who passed the information on to the SEC in January.
The NCAA began investigating the allegations in July and, after finding wrongdoing on Cecil Newton’s part, Auburn declared Cam Newton ineligible on Tuesday.
The NCAA reinstatement committee restored Newton’s eligibility Wednesday, and the Heisman Trophy candidate will play in Saturday’s SEC championship game against South Carolina.
Rogers is reportedly scheduled to be interviewed by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office a week from today regarding his role in the Newton case.
Rogers’ attorney, Doug Zeit, told The Associated Press that he had received a letter from Mississippi State on Wednesday morning stating that Rogers has been dissociated from the school.
“We’re not that surprised,” Zeit told the AP. “From what I understand, anything that’s related to athletics at Mississippi State, (Rogers) can’t participate.”
Zeit took issue with the wording of Mississippi State’s letter. The attorney said the school’s reasoning in the letter for dissociating itself with his client was because Rogers told the NCAA he made a solicitation for a player.
“Kenny Rogers never made a solicitation,” Zeit said. “We never told the NCAA that. I want to make that perfectly clear. Cecil Newton asked for the money and then Kenny Rogers passed along Newton’s message. That’s what happened. Cecil Newton asked for the money. Kenny Rogers was the messenger.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.