This should be kind of a big deal. The NCAA is investigating the recruitment of Auburn quarterback and presumptive Heisman winner Cam Newton for improper benefits. Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond made a statement that “a payment had to be made” for Newton to sign for the Bulldogs. Mississippi State refused. Did Auburn? The New York Times tweeted the story first. ESPN had the article up. Update the scoreboards you’re undoubtedly keeping at home as you wish.
From ESPN’s article, Kenny Rogers, working as “an agent” for Elite Football Preparation, tried to solicit a six figure payment for Newton’s signature.
Sources told ESPN.com the former teammate is Kenny Rogers, who played at Mississippi State from 1982-85. Rogers operates a Chicago-based company called Elite Football Preparation, which holds camps in Chicago, Alabama and Mississippi. A Lexis search for that business lists Kenneth Rogers as the contact and his title as “agent.” A Birmingham News story from 2008 said Elite Football Preparation “matches high school athletes with college programs.”
Bond said the former teammate told him other schools had already offered $200,000, but since Newton really liked Mississippi State and already had a relationship with head coach Dan Mullen dating to when both were at Florida, Mississippi State could get him for $180,000.
Cam Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, denied any knowledge of attempts to solicit money for Newton’s signature. However, the NCAA has requested bank statements and financial records from his church, which recently began extensive renovations to meet building codes.
The church has been in the news in Coweta County, Ga., often in the past year. According to stories in The Times-Herald newspaper Cecil Newton’s church was in danger of being demolished by order of the Newnan City Council in 2009 for failing to meet the city’s building code. One story said Cecil Newton told the council last September that the building would be brought to code “inside of six months.” After numerous delays, extensions and compromises from the council, renovation work began last spring and The Times-Herald reported last week that the church now is in compliance with Newnan’s building requirements.