We are still in the allegation stage, but, this time, the allegations are better substantiated. ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting both Cecil and Cam Newton mentioned a “pay for play” scheme to Mississippi State recruiters. The implication is Newton ended up at Auburn because they paid him.
Schad had two sources. The first said father of the year candidate Cecil Newton told a Mississippi State recruiter it would require “more than a scholarship” to sign his son and “referred him to a third person.” The second said Cam Newton apologized to another recruiter, claiming he had to choose Auburn because “the money was too much.” Mississippi State officials reportedly alerted the SEC in January.
Kudos to Schad. He cultivated multiple sources, he provided context and details before initial publication and he sought potentially contradictory comments. He handled anonymous sourcing correctly.
This is not “the smoking gun,” demonstrable proof an infraction occurred, that Auburn, or someone affiliated with Auburn, paid Cam Newton to play there. One has to wonder why, if this was known since January, the investigation is still going on ten months later, with the Heisman trophy and potentially the national title hanging in the balance.
Mississippi State’s involvement should come under scrutiny. There’s the obvious jilted-lover bias. If the Bulldogs are blameless, why was no source willing to speak on the record? Newton said “the money was too much,” not “they offered money.” Mississippi State, apparently told of Cecil Newton’s demands, kept recruiting him to the end. Did Auburn have the only offer or a better offer?
Finally, the academic cheating revelations weren’t salient to the story. That was personal. Someone, with relatively first-hand knowledge of what happened to Newton at Florida, apparently wanted to smear him. If neither Mullen nor Meyer has pants on fire, who was Evans’ source?
Just out of curiosity, has anyone asked Tim Tebow about his Heisman vote?
[Photo via Getty]