Following up on a story, 'Cam Newton - Jeremiah Masoli: Then and Now', published on November 3 and how it applies to this latest development.
According to a story that was first reported by ESPN.com, former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond has said that one of his former teammates, who unnamed sources revealed to be Kenny Rogers, contacted him following Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's official visit to Mississippi State last year as Newton was being recruited.
Newton left Florida following the 2008 season after it became clear that John Brantley would succeed Tim Tebow as the Gators quarterback. He enrolled at Blinn College, whom he led to the NJCAA National Championship.
Rogers reportedly told Bond that he represented Newton and "it would take some cash to get Cam," according to ESPN.com. The amount has been identified as $200,000, although Rogers reportedly told Bond that the amount would be reduced to $180,000 for Mississippi State because of Newton's familiarity with current Mississippi State head coach and former Florida offensive coordinator, Dan Mullen. Bond said he contacted Mississippi State athletic director Greg Byrne, and sources told ESPN.com that the school then contacted SEC officials regarding the incident.
This story comes just days after I wrote an article about Newton's and Ole Miss quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's second chances after run-ins with the law at their previous schools, in which I took a look at our swift vilification of college athletes.
Obviously, details of the incident at this point are scant and the party that seems most at fault at this point is Rogers, who runs Elite Football Preparation, a Chicago-based company that holds camps in Chicago, Alabama and Mississippi, although if true and Newton was aware of Rogers' actions, he'd be in a bit of trouble himself to say the least.
Newton's father, Cecil Newton, has stated, according to ESPN.com, "If Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge." The ESPN.com story focuses on a church in Newnan, Georgia, Holy Zion Center of Deliverance, at which the elder Newton is its pastor. Cecil said that, per the NCAA's request for financial statements, he sent bank statements and records for the church.
One can assume that the implication in the ESPN.com story is that, as the church was at risk of demolition after failing to meet building codes, there is suspicion surrounding where funds to restore the church came from. The story mentions the elder Newton's comments to the Newnan City Council last September, stating that the code violations would be rectified "within six months." The church is now in compliance with the building codes after various delays.
Cam's mother, Jackie, however, points out "If you've ever seen our church, you'd know we don't have money," she is quoted as saying by ESPN.com. "We have nothing." The Newtons are reportedly cooperating with the NCAA.
I can't say much about what implications, if any, the authors of the story intended, but after reading the story, the implication is rather evident.
Bond told ESPN.com that an NCAA investigator met him in September, as well as Mississippi State officials. The website also reported that the NCAA would neither confirm nor deny whether an investigation was underway, as is its policy.
Rogers' connections with agent Ian Greengross are in question as well, as NFL Players Association spokesman Carl Francis told ESPN.com that the NFLPA is "in the process of investigating [Greengross and Rogers] as we speak for violations of our rules and regulations."
Where does Auburn fit into all of this? Well, as Rogers is alleged to have solicited money from Mississippi State for Newton's services, the question becomes if he attempted to do the same at Auburn, where Newton eventually signed. Auburn assistant athletic director, media relations Kirk Sampson said, according to the ESPN.com story, "We have been made aware of the allegation. Unfortunately, we cannot comment at this time." He went on to say that, "Cam Newton is eligible to play football at Auburn."
As details continue to arise regarding the allegations surrounding Rogers' actions and whether Newton played any role or had any knowledge of his actions, there will be plenty of opportunity for finger pointing. At this point, though, with the NCAA investigation into the matter likely underway, even if they will not confirm or deny it, there isn't much to go by but the he-said, she-said.
As I stated in my article a couple of days ago, "to judge a young man's character based on one incident, of which most of us do not know the full details, is irresponsible, unfair and a bit dangerous." If it turns out that Newton was aware of Rogers' actions, which are this point remain an allegation, consequences will be in store. If it turns out that Rogers acted without Newton's knowledge, which his father claims, subjecting him to unjust criticism would not be fair to the young man.
Check out the ESPN.com story HERE.- Danny Hobrock
Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.
If you would like to ask Dr. Roto a question, call (646) 915-9367 on Friday nights at 10:00pm EST and ask your question live on the that weeks Fantasy Football 411 Podcast.
Check out these other stories.....