MSU Booster Bond to Tell All If Cam Gets a Pass?

Earlier today I broke the news that NCAA investigators were in Louisiana Monday taking a hard look at the football recruiting practices of Auburn University.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

(Bond: No NCAA Justice For Auburn To Spring More Media Leaks?)

At the center of that NCAA investigation is Sean Nelson, a so-called “street agent” who may have unduly assisted Auburn football coaches in the recruitment of Trovon Reed and Greg Robinson.

Another possible concern for Auburn on the NCAA investigatory front involves ex-Mississippi State football player and now-notorious college football recruiting go-between Kenny Rogers.

It was Rogers’ now-admitted solicitation of funds from a Mississippi State booster on Cecil Newton’s behalf that led the father of ex-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to admit to NCAA investigators that he had been a willing participant in a scheme to offer his son’s football services to Mississippi State in exchange for a cash payment.

Today I learned that for that past month representatives of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel have repeatedly asked Rogers for a sitdown interview to further discuss his involvement with Cam Newton’s recruitment. Recently, Rogers agreed, and will be interviewed on March 1 with the visit to air on a yet-to-be determined date.

That date of the Rogers interview on HBO may depend on the cooperation of former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond and ex-MSU player and booster Bill Bell. HBO has also been pressing them for sitdowns the past month, but so far neither has agreed to participate. Read more…

Bond: Turning His Rogers Phone Call Over To FBI

Last week former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond released a statement in which he alleged he’d been contacted in 2009 by a former teammate at MSU who claimed he represented the interests of Cam Newton.

John Bond former Mississippi State QB turned in Cam Newton to ESPN

(John Bond: Phone records show Rogers repeatedly lied)

That former teammate, Bond said in the statement, was seeking money in order for Newton to sign with Mississippi State. While Bond didn’t initially identify Rogers in his statement, ESPN did report that Rogers was the former MSU player Bond was referring to. (Bond later confirmed on WCNN-AM in Atlanta that Rogers was indeed the person who contacted him while claiming to represent Cam Newton.)

Last Friday though, Rogers vehemently denied having spoken to Bond for the past “20 years or more” during an interview with Ian Fitzsimmons on KESN-FM in Dallas:

I have not talked to John (Bond) or seen John in over probably 20 years or more. Probably 20 years or more I have not talked to John or seen John.

Today, Rogers was back on KESN-FM in Dallas with Fitzsimmons, once again denying he’d spoken to Bond in the past two decades:

“Last Thursday, my name came out as being the person that talked to John Bond. And then Friday came, and John’s attorney wouldn’t even go back and tell them it wasn’t me.”

During his second denial of a phone conversation with Bond today, Rogers cited the alleged misinformation about that exchange as what primarily motivated him to go back on KESN-FM in Dallas today:

“So I just said, you know what, let me call Doug (Rogers attorney) and I’m going to get this off my chest. So that’s when I called you (Fitzsimmons).”

So Rogers is claiming the entire premise for going on the radio today to claim that Cecil Newton told him it would take $180,000 to sign son Cam to a letter of intent - perhaps ending Cam’s collegiate career - was an earlier, alleged inaccurate claim that he had called Bond.

That’s a great story so long as Bond doesn’t have phone records of the conversation … that he’s about to turn over to the FBI. Read more…

ESPN: MSU Coaches Leaked Damning Cam Calls

If there was any doubt who leaked the most recent, and damaging story about Cam Newton and his father Cecil to ESPN earlier this week, there isn’t now.

Mullen verifies no recruiters besides MSU coaches

Wednesday ESPN’s Joe Schad reported:

Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.

Thanks to information provided by Mississippi State Head Coach Dan Mullen on the record to the media yesterday - and if Schad’s report is true - those sources have been indisputably verified as Mississippi State football coaches.

NEMS360.com Mississippi State beat reporter Brad Locke Tweeted this yesterday during Mullen’s media teleconference:

Mullen, when asked if anyone besides coaches are registered recruiters for MSU: “No.”

Brandon Marcello, who also covers the daily Mississippi State football beat for the CLARION (MS) LEDGER, was the one who asked Mullen the above question. He also noted:

An ESPN.com report cited “recruiters” as sources late Tuesday night. Those recruiters say, according to ESPN.com, that Newton and his father, Cecil Newton, admitted to a “pay-for-play plan” in separate phone conversations with MSU recruiters.

The term “recruiters” raised questions and I asked Mullen today if anyone besides his assistant coaches were registered as recruiters with the NCAA. His answer was a short and pointed “no.”

I’m still attempting to contact MSU to see who is registered as a recruiter with the NCAA. My phone calls have, so far, gone unanswered.

That information could easily be had via a Freedom Of Information act, as Mississippi State is a publicly-funded state institution, but there’s no need. Mullen already confirmed it himself.

So now that we’ve established that MSU football coaches leaked the information about the Newton phone calls to Schad - if his ESPN report is correct - then why did John Bond, who is not a member of the MSU coaching staff, officially report the information about other alleged recruiting impropriety involving Newton to Mississippi State - and then front the story on MSU’s behalf for ESPN?

As a refresher, here’s the original headline from ESPN.com from ESPN’s first report about possible Newton recruiting impropriety: “Cam Newton offered for cash in exchange for signing letter of intent, ex-Mississippi State quarterback said - ESPN

John Bond fronted initial ESPN report on Newton, Rogers

That headline makes it sound like Bond was the source of the complaint to MSU against Newton, but from what we know now - including Bond confirming there “were two people” between him and alleged middeman Kenny Rogers - was he really?

In Bond’s original, on the record statement to ESPN last week about alleged impropriety involving the recruitment of Newton, he himself did not name Rogers as the middleman allegedly soliciting money on Newton’s behalf.

Instead it was ESPN, in that same initial report, that identified Rogers as the alleged go-between. (Without Rogers being named, ESPN really had no story.)

So how did ESPN get the information that Rogers was initially involved?

Now that we indisputably have verified - if ESPN’s report is accurate - that the MSU coaches leaked the Newton phone call info to ESPN, and that Bond said there were two people between him and alleged middleman Rogers, and Joe Schad’s source for the ESPN Newton phone call story was “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State, is it unreasonable to think that the same coaches leaked the info about Rogers to ESPN for its first report?

And that those same MSU coaches then proceeded to hide behind Bond as the public front for the initial, ESPN breaking story about Newton and Rogers?

And what of ESPN in all of this? Why did Pat Forde, Chris Low and Mark Schlabach author the first story about Newton and then have Joe Schad report the second? Read more…

Bond’s Con: MSU Manipulated Media, Fans, NCAA

Friday I reported former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond, who is not a “registered recruiter” for Mississippi State, claiming that the only reason he released a statement about possible impropriety involving the recruitment of Cam Newton was that ESPN was going to report the story “with or without me.

John Bond former Mississippi State QB turned in Cam Newton to ESPN

(MSU used media as attack dog on NCAA, Bond to deflect blame for leak)

From Bond on WCNN-AM in Atlanta on Friday:

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.

Former star MSU quarterback Bond was the credible, on the record source that ESPN needed to buttress its otherwise anon-sourced claims about former Bond teammate Kenny Rogers soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for the acquisition of Newton’s services.

Bond was also not an official MSU football staff member and/or registered recruiter, initially removing the connection of any Newton allegation to an officially MSU-affiliated person. (That changed with ESPN’s followup story- keep reading, bruh.)

Bond put a game-changing face on the allegations about Newton, but it was something the former quarterback said after his initial, prepared statement that called into question his motivation in coming forward. Read more…

Rogers: No Contact With John Bond For ‘20 Years’

Last December, former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond reported to the school that his former teammate at MSU, Kenny Rogers, had contacted him and identified himself as a representative of quarterback prospect Cameron Newton.

Cam Newton

Bond also alleged to Mississippi State officials that Rogers told him Newton would need to be paid $180,000 in order to sign to play football for the school. The NCAA has since reportedly began an investigation into Bond’s claims.

Both Bond and Rogers appeared on radio shows Friday to discuss the alleged impropriety involving the recruitment of Newton.  During their separate, on-air appearances, the former Mississippi State football teammates had distinctly different accounts of the exchange Bond claims took place between the two in December. Read more…

Audio: Bond On Urban’s Role In Newton Inquiry

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's Newton NCAA story: Jumping the gun?

(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: Read more…

Reports: NCAA Investigating Auburn, Cam Newton

Pete Thamel of the NEW YORK TIMES reports Thursday on Twitter that he has, “on-record confirmation the NCAA is investigating the recruitment of Cameron Newton.

More from Thamel on Twitter.com today:

John Bond, a former Mississippi State quarterback said today that “a payment had to be made” for Newton to play there. Miss State declined.

Bond spoke to the NCAA and said “he acted entirely appropriately throughout this matter.”

A former teammate of Bond’s at Mississippi State reportedlycontacted him soon after Newton’s official visit to Mississippi State during the Ole Miss game in December, and said he was representing Newton.Read more…