According to Atlanta’s WSB-TV, Cecil Newton, father of Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton, has admitted talking about money with a former Mississippi St. Bulldogs player. Specifically, money in exchange for Newton’s letter-of-intent. He doesn’t appear to have named the player, but we pretty much already know that.
The report also says Newton claims Mississippi St. never offered or gave money, which would be backed up by their willingness in Jan. to report to the SEC on the matter. He also reportedly said neither Cam Newton nor Auburn was aware of his dealings with Mississippi St. Kenny Rogers has said he never even met the younger Newton until after the elder had already solicited the offer, so this is feasible. And nobody’s accused Auburn of breaking any rules during Newton’s recruitment.
The critical element that’s missing: Cecil Newton, in this report, doesn’t mention extending the offer to Mississippi St. coaches, but only to a person we’ll infer is Rogers, who has no official role within the university and thus doesn’t really count, if he’s the only person Newton talked to. Rogers claims Newton did specifically solicit money from Bulldogs coaches and was bluntly denied. But with every other detail of the stories provided by Rogers, John Bond, and Bill Bell now lining up, it’s hard to think that’s the part that didn’t happen.
If Cecil Newton is actually fessing up now, and has done so or will do so to the NCAA in greater detail, then Cam Newton is all but officially a walking NCAA violation. As Yahoo! Sports and the New York Times both clarified yesterday, a player who solicits money or has money solicited on behalf of himself is ineligible. Knowingly playing an ineligible athlete is a violation. The NCAA hasn’t declared him ineligible yet, but it has warned Auburn about the risks of playing him. If this report is accurate, then Cecil Newton is trying to fall on his own grenade here, but it’s too late.
Playing him tomorrow against the Georgia Bulldogs would be a bolder move than anything even Les Miles could dream up.