The Investigation Is Over: Cam Newton Is Finally Cleared By The NCAA

Cam Newton has been cleared by the NCAA as their investigation is complete. Go here for the latest on Newton. Join Track Em Tigers for more Auburn.

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Cam Newton Investigation: NCAA Finds No Major Violations Against Former Auburn QB

In a statement released by the NCAA, the NCAA's associate director of enforcement Jackie Thurnes told Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs that the Tigers had no major violations and have ended their investigation in signing of Cam Newton.

Over 50 interviews were conducted in regards to Cam Newton over an alleged pay-for-play scenario, along with documents obtained by the NCAA including bank statements, IRS tax documents, phone records and e-mail messages.

It is noted in the letter that Auburn self-reported their dealings with Cecil Newton, Cam Newton's father, and "an owner of a scouting service (presumably Will Lyles) that they worked together to actively market Cam Newton for compensation. The report listed that Cam and the University of Auburn were not aware of the activity, this making Cam's time as a Tiger violation-free.

Also in the letter, Thurnes addressed the allegations of Raven Gray, Stanley McClover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick, who were all featured HBO's Real Sports "Dirty Money" episode. It was alleged that they all had received impermissible benefits while at Auburn. Due to a "lack of cooperation" by certain individuals involved, all allegations have not been substantiated.

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Cam Newton Investigation: Bill Bell Says He Received Newton Pay Arrangement Via Texts

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Chris Low, and Pat Forde report Mississippi St. Bulldogs booster Bill Bell has told the NCAA he received text messages from Kenny Rogers defining a series of payments that would bring Cam Newton to MSU. He said Rogers’ plan involved $80,000 the day after Newton’s signing, plus two $50,000 payments.

Bell also said he played voice recordings for the NCAA of Rogers, and that Rogers was the one discussing money while Cecil Newton sat nearby condoningly, which is not a word. He also said he talked with Cecil Newton directly, and that Newton claimed it would take more than his son’s relationship with MSU coach Dan Mullen for the Dawgs to get him.

Each known participant from Mississippi St.‘s end now has told his story, and they all line up straight, giving us this narrative: Cecil Newton contacted coaches and a booster via and with Kenny Rogers, offering his son’s letter of intent in return for $180,000. Unless the NCAA somehow concludes everyone is lying or that Cecil Newton was not an official representative of his son (who left the choice between MSU and Auburn to his dad, according to Sports Illustrated), the Auburn Tigers are playing Newton on borrowed time, whether they did anything wrong during his recruitment or not, which is also in question as of today.

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Cam Newton NCAA Investigation: Cecil Newton Reportedly Admits Talking Pay-For-Play

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.

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Cam Newton Investigation: NCAA Has Contacted Auburn About Eligibility Issue, According To Report

Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson tweets that the NCAA has contacted the Auburn Tigers about QB Cam Newton’s eligibility issues, warning the school that playing Newton is a potential risk. Of course this happened less than an hour after multiple sources reported Newton would be playing tomorrow.

The ball is on Auburn’s side of the 50, to paraphrase the hoops or possibly foursquare metaphor. They can decide they’ve already cast their lot with Newton, hope the NCAA doesn’t find the all-but-certainty that Cecil Newton requested money from the Mississippi St. Bulldogs to be an event that renders Newton ineligible, and keep playing for the SEC Championship Game and beyond. To do so would potentially risk multiple seasons worth of penalties. Shudder when you hear the NCAA using those words, whether you’re a Plainseagles fan or not.

Or Auburn can elect to hold Newton out tomorrow against the Georgia Bulldogs and play it day-by-day until their game two weeks later against the Alabama Crimson Tide. They’d still have a shot at beating the Dawgs, depending on their emotional state minus Newton, so losing him for one game wouldn’t necessarily crush their title run. Losing him for the rest of the year certainly would. But considering Mark Richt claims Georgia has spent no time preparing for anyone but Newton (don’t entirely believe that, but it’s probably not far off), the No. 2 Auburn Tigers could still pull off a home upset over the 5-5 Georgia Bulldogs. What a clause, and what a sport.

If Auburn wasn’t aware of Mississippi State’s report to the SEC and didn’t offer or give the Newton family any money during or after Newton’s recruitment, and there have been zero credible claims so far that they did, they are getting absolutely screwed by a long chain of parties that ends with either the NCAA or Cecil Newton, depending on how you look at it.

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Cam Newton NCAA Investigation: MSU Booster Bill Bell Acknowledges Cecil Newton Wanted Money

According to ESPN.com, Bill Bell, the Mississippi St. Bulldogs booster named by Kenny Rogers, agrees that Cecil Newton, Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton’s father, asked for money in exchange for Newton’s letter of intent. Bell also acknowledged speaking with an NCAA investigator earlier this week.

Every piece of the story so far has lined up, with one glaring exception: nobody has made a serious allegation that the Auburn Tigers offered or gave money to or for Newton. However, that doesn’t really matter. As the NCAA told the New York Times yesterday, “The solicitation of cash or benefits by either a potential student-athlete or another person on their behalf is not allowed under NCAA rules” and that “knowingly playing an ineligible student-athlete could make a university ‘subject to harsher penalties down the road.’”

Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson writes that the NCAA may officially recommend Auburn avoid playing Newton in case he’s ruled ineligible. Once Auburn knew about Newton’s Mississippi St. dealings, they could not continue to play him. When MSU reported Cecil Newton to the SEC in January, did the conference or NCAA notify other schools? I don’t know, so please share if you do.

But the fact is that now Auburn knows about his recruitment. Unless Auburn believes Kenny Rogers, John Bond, Bell, and MSU’s compliance department are all incorrect, playing Newton has become a significant risk -- especially with the NCAA laying out the possibility of "harsher penalties down the road." Now we're talking about multiple seasons worth of damage. Two undefeated Auburn seasons, 1957 and 1993, have ended without bowls due to sanctions. This isn't a program that needs to go through that again.

They’re not beating the Alabama Crimson Tide or SEC East champion without him, and probably not the Georgia Bulldogs either. Auburn may choose to let it ride, and if the NCAA forces Newton off the field the Tigers will have something to feel aggrieved about for decades. If they didn’t do anything wrong during Newton’s recruitment, can’t say I’d blame them for taking that stance.

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Cam Newton Investigation AUDIO: Kenny Rogers Says Cecil Newton Wanted $100,000 To $180,000

Kenny Rogers has officially aired out Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton, claiming the elder Newton said it would take “anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000” for the quarterback’s letter of intent. The comments came out when Dallas' KESN-FM host Ian Fitzsimmons today interviewed Rogers, previously identified by ESPN as the man who presented pretty much that offer to the Mississippi St. Bulldogs last year — listen to audio here, via Sports By Brooks:

According to ESPN.com, Cecil Newton and Rogers attended the 2009 Egg Bowl together, with Newton wondering whether a big booster named Bill Bell would come through with the money. Rogers says he didn’t know if Cam Newton knew anything about the dealings, and that he didn’t meet the player until Nov. 27, just a few weeks before Mississippi St. reported on the matter to the SEC. Rogers also says that when Cam Newton was leaving the Florida Gators, Cecil Newton declared “It’s not gonna be free this time.” It being Newton’s letter of intent, of course.

It’s interesting that in Rogers’ supposed offer to Mississippi St., he claimed that other schools were waving around 200 stacks, but that Newton could be had for $180,000. If Rogers isn’t inventing this, at least we can say this: he was not interested in settling for anything less than what his client asked for. He also clearly knows when to fold 'em. The FBI getting involved would be the common man's when-to-fold-'em point, so close enough.

This still doesn’t mean the Auburn Tigers paid for Newton’s signature. But putting all the pieces together, can you come up with any other explanation as to how Auburn landed Newton?

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Cam Newton Investigation: Mississippi St. Contacted The SEC In January About Newton's Recruitment

Via Brandon Marcello of the Clarion-Ledger, a statement from the Mississippi St. Bulldogs athletic department about the ongoing Cam Newton investigation:

Mississippi State University acknowledges that it contacted the Southeastern Conference office in January of 2010 regarding an issue relating to its recruitment of Cam Newton.

Shortly after the initial call, the SEC office requested specific information to include interviews with involved staff from MSU.

Due to MSU dealing with ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving non-football matters in the winter and spring of 2010, the specific SEC request went unfulfilled. Some additional information was provided to the SEC during July of 2010. Once the NCAA enforcement staff became involved, Mississippi State University cooperated fully with its investigation. MSU is confident the SEC office has managed this process consistent with its established procedures and the university is committed to the conference’s ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with SEC and NCAA rules.

So what’s the SEC so super busy with from January until July? March Madness? That’s in March. This statement corroborates with John Bond’s story, and further squashes the idea that Urban Meyer had anything to do with it, unless if his momentary January hiatus actually was just a secret overnight trip to Starkville after he threw the SEC Championship Game so he’d have a chance to screw Auburn! Maybe so! Follow the money!

One thing we can presume here: Mississippi St. almost certainly never offered Newton money. This is also one of the first, if not the first, and I’m not sure which, official mention I’ve seen of the NCAA having been involved.

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Cam Newton Investigation: Joe Schad Reports Cecil Newton And Son Sought Money From Mississippi St.

According to a report by ESPN’s Joe Schad, two Mississippi St. Bulldogs recruiters were told by Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton that it would take “more than a scholarship” to get the quarterback to Starkville. Schad also reports the school relayed that information along to the SEC, and that Cam Newton called Mississippi St. to express regret about his father choosing Auburn because “the money was too much.”

This would put us back at square one, since Cecil Newton was rumored to be pulling off this exact stunt well before any news broke via major media. If this is true, let’s walk through this. Again, if this is true. How dumb would you have to be to sell your son’s football career to the Auburn Tigers and then let Sports Illustrated publish a cover story in which you’re quoted as deciding on Auburn over Mississippi St.?

Even the most tinfoil-free sports fan’s BS detector whirred to life when reading that part of the story, and this was days before any allegations went public. That quote from Schad’s article about the money being too much is the very first information that’s been released that specifically fingers Auburn.

Or these Mississippi St. sources could be making everything up. Let's leave that door open just for fun.

Either way, this is it. If Newton's eligibility winds up revoked in time for the BCS Championship Game, not to mention SEC title game or Iron Bowl or HEY how about by this Friday afternoon, we won't have any reason to be surprised.

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Cam Newton NCAA Investigation: Actually, Make That Cam Newton FBI Investigation?

TMZ Sports (wow!) reports the FBI has requested a meeting with John Bond, the former Mississippi St. Bulldogs quarterback whose whistle-blowing kicked off the whole Cam Newton recruitment investigation world tour. According to TMZ, the FBI says, “We are interested in whether young men are being shopped to colleges,” which, if that’s what the FBI actually says, our great nation is in a little bit of trouble.

The southeastern sports fan should’ve long assumed that the federal government doesn’t really care about college sports. Because if they did, they would’ve cleaned it up a long time ago. But apparently they do care and just hadn’t caught wind of this kind of thing before. Did the executive branch really need to be headed by an anti-BCS blockbuster before they got around to noticing what really goes on in college football?

Just wait til they watch tonight's 30 for 30 on Marcus Dupree.

What’s this mean for Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers? Nothing at the moment, but it can’t possibly be a good long-term development. He’ll play against the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday. No word on whether Auburn message boards have decided if this is just irresponsible journalism on the part of the United States government.

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Cam Newton Investigation: Urban Meyer Denies Involvement, 'I Don't Know Anything About Anything'

After two separate plotlines in the great Cam Newton investigation pointed somewhere in the direction of Urban Meyer, Corch has denied having any role in any of this. First, he was rumored to have encouraged the original outing of Kenny Rogers, which John Bond refuted. Some have also wondered what kind of role the Florida Gators athletic program played in today’s sudden and odd release of news that Newton cheated in classes at the University of Florida. Meyer told the Gainesville Sun:

I don’t know anything about anything. I heard they’ve got me meeting with the agent and all that. I never met with anybody. It’s ridiculous … Our entire focus right now is on preparing for our biggest game of the year against South Carolina. For anyone to think that I or anyone on our staff may have leaked information about private student records to the media doesn’t know us very well. It’s a ridiculous claim and simply not true.

As Team Speed Kills, our SEC community, points out, smearing a former player would be a drastic recruiting blunder. Which would be incredibly contrary to his record. Even when Meyer screws up — such as when he just about spoke paternally of a player while lashing out at a reporter — it’s good for recruiting.

Ruining Newton’s name would be shortsighted. Even if Meyer could somehow spur the NCAA into moving quickly enough to bar Newton from the SEC Championship Game, it wouldn’t be worth it, as sooner or later somebody would find out what he’d done or had someone in the athletic department do. Unless if he’s planning to retire at the end of the year anyway. Hey now…

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Cam Newton Investigation: John Bond Denies Claims Of Urban Meyer's Involvement

John Bond, the former Mississippi St. player who set off the whole Cam Newton NCAA investigation college football media wildfire by talking to ESPN and the New York Times, has straight up denied the claim that Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer encouraged him to go public with Kenny Rogers’ wrongdoing.

Meyer’s involvement had been rumored since the story broke, and pay site Auburn Undercover published a story purporting to connect all the dots between Bond, Meyer, and Mississippi St. coach Dan Mullen, a former Meyer assistant:

Bond was on a three-way telephone call with Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and Meyer to discuss the situation. Both Mullen and Bond said that they believed the matter was closed. They had done what they were supposed to do, passed it on to the league office, and nothing else needed to be said.

But Meyer strongly disagreed, saying it needed to be public and that he was going to call The New York Times. Meyer and Pete Thamel, the reporter who wrote the story for The New York Times, are close friends.
[…]
Meyer, Bond has said privately, “is behind the whole thing.”

Earlier tonight Bond went on Atlanta’s Buck and Kincade Show, where he was asked about the Meyer connection:

No, I did it myself. When I got a phone call from the guy, I went straight to our athletic director. Now, what happened to it and how it grew legs after that? I don’t know. I know we handled it right on our end and that was my first concern.

Thus the most intriguing tale of SEC espionage since whatever Houston Nutt cooked up yesterday morning comes to a wimp of a close. There’s still plenty about Newton, Newton’s father, and Rogers that needs to be concluded upon, but unless Bond’s being paid to protect Meyer (A NEW RIDICULOUS CONSPIRACY APPEARS!) this particular branch of the storyline has given forth all the fruit it has, and disappointing fruit at that, from a drama standpoint at least, which is how all fruit is graded.

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Cam Newton Investigation: AP Reports Auburn And Kenny Rogers Had 'No Contact Whatsoever'

According to a source cited by the Associated Press, Auburn and former-Mississippi-State-player-turned-shady-individual Kenny Rogers had zero contact during the Tigers’ recruitment of QB Cam Newton. Sure, it’s an anonymous source. But if true, this changes everything. Back to the way it was about 24 hours ago.

If Rogers and Auburn haven’t interacted in any way, then Rogers is just a huckster trying to scam Mississippi St., rather than a middleman or pimp, as he’s been described. Auburn would be free to confidently proceed as scheduled — the fact that Auburn has repeatedly insisted Newton remains eligible shows they really weren’t all that worried anyway, and now we may know why.

Then agaaaain, Rogers and Mississippi St. itself never had direct contact either. This whole situation came to light when former Missy State quarterback John Bond reported Rogers to the New York Times and ESPN. So this does still leave a potential network of Auburn middlemen pimps at play, which is a string of words that would likely cause someone to say, “That would be a great name for a band!” if this were the mid-’90s and people still made that joke all the time.

Newton will play tomorrow against Chattanooga. That’s about all we really know, but this report is a clear step towards Newton being more likely to play against the Georgia Bulldogs and beyond.

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Report: Mississippi St. Player Kenny Rogers Sought Money For Cam Newton's Letter Of Intent

ESPN's Chris Low and others report the Mississippi St. Bulldogs individual in question in the NCAA's investigation of Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton is former player Kenny Rogers, according to ESPN's sources. Former Missy State QB John Bond had previously identified the individual as being a teammate, which Rogers was.

Rogers played for the Bulldogs in the early '80s and currently identifies himself online as an agent. His company also claims to match "high school athletes with college programs," which, you know, sort of sounds like exactly what we're talking about here. 

Newton is being investigated for money that may have been requested in his name in exchange for his letter-of-intent when he was seeking to transfer from a junior college to either Auburn or Mississippi St. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation, and Newton is the far-and-away Heisman favorite.

Newton's father, Cecil Newton, has already denied any involvement and claimed ignorance of anything done by Rogers. Cecil Newton also says the NCAA has been investigating the family's finances for a month now. If the Rogers report is accurate, the NCAA's next move would be to find if the same deal was offered to and accepted by Auburn. If so, Newton

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Totally obvious:

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