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Father sought cash?

Agent’s aide points to Cecil Newton

Controversy over his recruitment continues to dog Auburn QB Cam Newton. Controversy over his recruitment continues to dog Auburn QB Cam Newton. (Mark Zarrilli/Getty Images)
By David Brandt
Associated Press / November 12, 2010

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A former Mississippi State player who worked with agents said Cecil Newton told him it would take anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000 for his son, Cam, to sign a scholarship with Mississippi State.

Kenny Rogers told ESPN radio in Dallas yesterday that when he and Cecil Newton met with two MSU coaches at a hotel in Starkville, Miss., last Nov. 27, one of the coaches said, “No, no I don’t want to hear that,’’ when Cecil Newton asked about the payment for Cam Newton to attend Mississippi State.

Cam Newton eventually signed with Auburn, where the school says the quarterback is eligible to play. Newton is a leading Heisman Trophy contender and has the unbeaten Tigers in the hunt for the national championship. He’s expected to play tomorrow against rival Georgia.

Rogers said last week on the same show when asked about the recruiting scandal that “a school has never paid me for a kid. An alumni has never paid me for a kid. Period. Point blank.’’

Cecil Newton has denied any wrongdoing. He has admitted that he knows Rogers, but has said if Rogers solicited money, he did it on his own.

Rogers said yesterday his reputation was being attacked and people were “acting like the Newtons didn’t know anything about anything.’’

Rogers’s lawyer, who was also on the radio show, said his client has been contacted by the NCAA, but not by the FBI.

Rogers said he didn’t know anything about Cam Newton’s recruitment at Auburn and didn’t know if Cecil Newton, a preacher in Atlanta, planned to funnel any money into his church.

Documents obtained last week by The Associated Press through an open records request show the city of Newton, Ga., had been pressuring the minister to make some $50,000 in repairs to the structure since June 2008. An inspector found multiple problems, including a lack of smoke detectors, sprinklers and rear exits; moldy insulation; faulty wiring; rotting wooden doors, and broken windows.

Cecil Newton would not say where his church got the money to perform the improvements required by the city.

In an e-mail to the AP, NCAA spokesman Stacy Osborn wrote that “solicitation of cash or benefits by a prospective student-athlete or another individual’’ could either be a secondary or major violation depending on the specific situation. She also wrote that “the school must make the determination whether a student-athlete is ineligible. Once they do so, they could request reinstatement from the NCAA on behalf of the student-athlete.’’

Rogers declined to name the two MSU assistants at the hotel.

Mississippi State released a statement Wednesday saying that it has sent information to the Southeastern Conference regarding Cam Newton’s recruitment. Former MSU quarterback John Bond, who initially reported that Rogers talked to him about a cash payment for Cam Newton, told ESPN he will be interviewed by the FBI Tuesday.

Rogers again denied talking to Bond during yesterday’s interview, but he identified Bill Bell, another former Mississippi State player, as a contact between he and Bond. However, Bond told ESPN that he has phone records that will prove he spoke directly to Rogers.