Unlike the previous two stories, the latest on Cam Newton points a finger in a certain uncomfortable direction.
Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, admitted in separate phone conversations to a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.
Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the alleged conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to two other sources close to the football program.
Prior to Newton’s commitment to Auburn, one of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him it would take “more than a scholarship” to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request the source said the school would not meet. Cecil Newton also referred the recruiter to a third person that would provide more specifics, the source said.
After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn’t be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because “the money was too much.”
Unpacking this, it seems pretty clear that Dan Mullen’s denials of involvement need to be taken skeptically. I’d say the same thing about Auburn’s strenuous denials, except I find it interesting that the SEC was told about these conversations at the beginning of the year and let things roll merrily along. That indicates to me that no one has come up with any hard evidence to support this – yet.
On the other hand, there is somebody who isn’t denying anything.
… Reached late Tuesday night by phone, Cecil Newton Sr., told FOXSports.com that he had no comment.
“I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place,” Cecil Newton said.
Asked if he had seen the report, the elder Newton said that he knew “nothing about this whole thing.”
“I’ve answered what I need to answer,” Cecil Newton said. “If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say.”
It’s worth watching what Auburn’s official response to this is. This is no longer a situation where easy condemnation of another program’s disclosure of confidential information is all that needs to be said. Now the school’s credibility is directly at stake. You can bet there’s some mad scrambling going on behind the scenes tracking back every booster’s move at the time this was alleged to have taken place.
A fast resolution would be nice, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about. They don’t do fast resolutions.