Mississippi State booster Bill Bell told ESPN.com that he received a payment plan designed to get Cam Newton to sign with the Bulldogs from a man who said he represented the quarterback’s father.
Bell, a former Mississippi State player, said Kenny Rogers sent him a text message outlining a payment schedule that included $80,000 on the day Newton signed, $50,000 30 days later and $50,000 30 days after that. Rogers, who has worked for an agent, is also a former Mississippi State player.
“When he asked for it, it was like ‘Bam!’” Bell said in the report. “He told me this kid’s dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message. He didn’t say anything other than ‘This is what I want and I want it in three installments.’”
Cam Newton, a leading Heisman Trophy candidate, eventually signed with Auburn. The second-ranked Tigers (11-0) have clinched a berth in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Calls from The Associated Press to Bell, Cecil Newton and Rogers’ attorney were not immediately returned.
Bell said in the report that the phone that contains Rogers’ text message was damaged by water, but he’s attempting to retrieve the text through his cell phone provider.
Bell, who lives in Florida, said he was on three-way calls with Rogers and Cam’s father, Cecil, when discussions about the payment plan took place. He said Cecil Newton never directly asked for money and he has shared some voice messages with the NCAA.
“(Cecil Newton) didn’t come out and say, ‘I want $180,000,’” Bell said in the report. “He inferred it and talked about it, but not directly. Kenny would talk about it in front of him, and (Cecil Newton) never corrected him or said, ‘No, that’s not what we’re doing.’”
Bell said the initial contact to him was made by Rogers. But Bell said he also had several conversations with Cecil Newton during his son’s recruitment.
“He said it was going to take more than just a relationship with (Mississippi State coach) Dan Mullen and that Cam’s relationship with Mullen wasn’t what Mullen thought it was,” Bell said. “That’s when he said, ‘Dan Mullen is going to have to put a smile on my face if he thinks he’s going to get my son.’”
Bell told ESPN.com he is publicly talking about the payment plan to make clear Mississippi State did not break NCAA rules.
Rogers’ attorney, Doug Zeit, told ESPN.com Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has requested an interview with Rogers, but that hasn’t occurred. He also confirmed that Rogers has met with the NCAA.
The Associated Press