Mark Schlabach, Chris Low and Pat Forde of ESPN.com report today that former Mississippi State football player and current MSU booster Bill Bell, “shared a series of voice mail messages from Rogers with the NCAA last week. Bell said Cecil Newton never specifically asked him for money, but that Newton was present during three-way calls in which Rogers discussed a pay-for-play scheme.”
Bell said he told the NCAA that Rogers sent him a text message outlining a payment schedule. Bell said the text included a request for $80,000 the day after Cam Newton signed his letter-of-intent with Mississippi State, $50,000 after 30 days after that and another $50,000 30 days later.
Extraordinary detail from Bell on the record, but it will likely not change Cam Newton’s status for the Iron Bowl.
As Bell revealed the above details to the NCAA last week, before the Auburn-Georgia game, we know that Auburn knew about the alleged “payment plan” for Cam before deciding not to suspend him from Saturday’s game.
So we now know that Auburn is betting that the NCAA thinks prominent Florida businessman Bell and Kenny Rogers is lying and WSB-TV, which last Friday reported that Cecil Newton “admitted having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State University player about the possibility of under-the-table money if Cam Newton signed to play football at Mississippi State“, is wrong.
The irony in this situation is that the NCAA’s opinion is the only thing that will ultimately matter when it comes to evaluating the evidence involving Cam Newton and his father, but it is up to Auburn to first suspend Newton if we are to find out if the quarterback is truly eligible under NCAA rules.
From ESPN.com’s report:
Osburn said that if a university is not deemed culpable in such an instance, “then it is only a student-athlete eligibility issue.” If a violation did occur and the athlete is ruled ineligible, he could appeal for reinstatement.
Osburn said the NCAA handles a high volume of eligibility cases — “about 2,000 requests a year” — but they are prioritized based on the next competition for the athlete in question. Since Newton is in the middle of his season, any potential reinstatement case involving him would be expedited.
In other words, the NCAA is saying to Auburn: “If you suspend Cam now, we will do everything in our power to determine his eligibility before the next game.”
That means one of three things:
1) Auburn thinks the NCAA will rule Cam eligible regardless
2) Auburn doesn’t trust that the NCAA would “expedite” Cam’s case fast enough to reach a decision before the quarterback’s next game.
3) Auburn knows that Cam is probably in eligible but will roll the dice anyway
If I’m reading the rhetoric correctly, the NCAA is all but pleading with Auburn to suspend Cam in order to give the governing body a chance to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
But barring any new evidence coming to light before the Iron Bowl, Auburn has absolutely no intention of doing such a thing.