Even If Cam Didn’t Know, AU & MSU Not In Clear

Friday night WSB-TV reported that Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton confirmed, “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, though he’s steadfastly maintained that no money ever changed hands and said no official at Mississippi State ever made such an offer.

Cam Newton

The WSB report was also careful to point out that, “Cecil Newton said his son’s hands are clean, and has made it clear that Cam Newton himself and his mother knew nothing about the money discussions, nor did Auburn University, with whom the Westlake High School grad from College Park eventually signed with out of junior college.

If the WSB report is accurate, by no means does that mean that the NCAA cannot conclude that an NCAA violation took place in that instance. That will ultimately depend not on if Cam knew anything, but who Cecil Newton talked to about extra benefits for signing at MSU.

If Newton talked to former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers, who has already claimed that Newton told him his son would need money to sign with MSU, a NCAA violation in that particular case would depend on if the NCAA determined Rogers was a representative of MSU’s athletic interests.

What isn’t disputable though is what Rogers said on the record last week on Dallas radio about a meeting between two MSU coaches and Cecil Newton on Nov. 27, 2009.

Rogers on KESN-FM radio last week:

“On Nov. 27, me, Mr. Newton and two (Mississippi State) coaches were sitting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville and I really can’t remember how Mr. Newton stated this but however he said it (soliciting extra benefits), one of the coaches was like, ‘no, no I don’t want to hear that. … don’t don’t don’t hear that,’ as if money was brought up (by Newton). That it was going to take money to get him.

If Rogers is correct, both Cecil Newton and the MSU coaches may have committed NCAA violations.

If Cecil Newton solicited extra benefits from MSU coaches, that can’t be construed as anything but an NCAA violation. It does not matter if Cam didn’t know. If it did, and family members of a student athlete were allowed by the NCAA to solicit money in exchange for a signature on a letter-of-intent, that’d be a gargantuan loophole in NCAA rules.

As for MSU, Rogers alleged that Mississippi State coaches heard Newton ask them for extra benefits on Nov. 27, 2009. Cam didn’t commit to Auburn until Dec. 31, 2009.

Mississippi State was reportedly still on Newton’s recruitment when the quarterback signed with Auburn on New Year’s Eve, so that gives the appearance that perhaps MSU, despite knowing Cecil Newton was asking for cash, didn’t report Cam’s dad’s activities to the NCAA until after it learned it hadn’t landed Cam.

If at all.

If MSU reported to the SEC that Cam’s dad told them he wanted money for his son’s services, do you think he’d be playing right now?

If Rogers is telling the truth, it’s safe to assume that Cam Newton’s eligibility for the 2010 season is in serious jeopardy. When you combine Rogers’ claims of Cecil Newton’s solicitation of MSU coaches and himself with the WSB report indicating that Cecil Newton has likely admitted to soliciting benefits to Rogers, it’s hard to imagine that the NCAA would deem such activities by father Newton as anything but a major NCAA violation.

Also remember that the centerpiece of the NCAA’s program-crushing case against USC and the Bush family was convicted felon Lloyd Lake. If the NCAA is willing to take Lake’s word at face value, why would the governing body not believe Rogers?