Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond guested on the Buck & Kincade show on WCNN-AM in Atlanta today to address his December, 2009, allegation of the role of Kenny Rogers in the recruitment of Cam Newton - and going on the record about the allegation to the media Thursday.
(ESPN *scoop*: Referendum on Rogers, Newton cred, or based on evidence?)
Along with the pertinent exchanges, the full audio of the interview is below.
Bond on why he went public:
All I know is ESPN was going to put the story out there, with or without me. They wanted to know what I had told the NCAA and that’s exactly what I told them. I don’t know why they decided to bring it out now. Like I said, I talked to the NCAA a couple several months ago.
Bond on whether Rogers approached him about Mississippi State paying for Cam Newton’s services:
Actually, there two people in between it but, basically, yes, that’s what happened.
On his relationship with Rogers before he was contacted about Newton:
I hadn’t heard from him in 30 years. I hadn’t heard from him, I guess, in 28 years or whenever the last time we played.
On rumors Florida coach Urban Meyer pushed him to report the alleged activity of Rogers to MSU officials:
(Bond laughs) No, I did it myself. When I got a phone call from the guy (Rogers), 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: Mississippi State and making sure…
We’ve got things going on over here at Mississippi State. We’ve got it going in the right direction. Coach (Dan) Mullen is doing a fantastic job, Scott Stricklin is doing a great job as the athletic director. We don’t need any bumps in the road and that’s what I was afraid was going to happen, so I tried to cut it off at the pass.
When asked to confirm that a three-way conversation between Dan Mullen, Urban Meyer and himself about the subject of Newton’s recruitment never too place:
The more I ponder this story, the more I’m starting to conclude that the elephant in the room is why ESPN broke the story in the first place. The NCAA reportedly has been investigating Newton’s recruitment since September and Auburn has not received an official letter of inquiry from the governing body.
ESPN and the NEW YORK TIMES also only reported Bond’s allegation of impropriety, while failing to present any material evidence that an NCAA violation took place. (I detailed the circumstantial case about Rogers and the Newtons earlier today.)
While the honesty of Rogers and the Newtons (including father Cecil) will likely determine the outcome of the NCAA investigation, without Bond’s initial on-the-record to MSU, there’d be no story.
From what has been reported so far, the core of the story seems to be more about the dubious reputations of Rogers and the Newtons (deserved or not) than it is actual evidence that impropriety took place. In other words, ESPN appears to have been a little premature in going public about the allegation.
For something as serious as Cam Newton’s season-long eligibility, you would’ve thought there would’ve been more to this story.
That’s certainly not to say that something won’t soon break that turns out to be a smoking gun implicating someone. But if it is never found that Rogers and/or the Newtons broke NCAA rules, ESPN may have done both schools involved a disservice.