How Stuff Works: A SEC Investigation In Progress

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Photo: An SEC Investigation In Progress (Nick Saban, Mike Slive, Cecil Newton, Mark Emmert)

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Did Auburn Coach Lie To Recruit About NFL Offer?

On April 20, 2011, the Auburn football program landed a verbal commitment from highly-touted Kentucky high school quarterback prospect Zeke Pike.


The 6-foot-5, 220-pound quarterback from Edgewood, Ky., picked the Tigers over Michigan, Arkansas, Clemson, North Carolina, Tennessee, Southern California, Purdue, Florida State, Miami and Penn State.

And Alabama.

At the time of Pike’s verbal commitment, which was an enormous recruiting coup for Auburn, Pike was asked if he had been concerned about Auburn assistant coaches abandoning the team thanks to the possibility that the school’s football program could be hit with NCAA sanctions.

Pike’s response:

“They (Auburn) just won a national championship and they have one guy on their staff who left for the NFL and that’s their defensive line coach (Tracey Rocker). If they thought they were going to be in any kind of NCAA (trouble) I think a lot of their coaches would have left.

“Coach (Gus) Malzahn their offensive coordinator turned down $15 million to stay there (head coaching offer from Vanderbilt).

“Coach Trooper (Taylor), their receivers coach, turned down his favorite team of all-time, the Dallas Cowboys, to stay there. 

“Whatever, let people say what they’re going to say. That’s a Mississippi State problem, that’s not an Auburn problem.”

Malzahn did receive a reported $15 million offer to take over the Vanderbilt football program, a long-noted coaching graveyard because of high academic standards and lacking facilities.

Pike’s statement about the so-called “Mississippi State problem” is a reference to the fact that Cam Newton’s father Cecil Newton has admitted to the NCAA that he solicited MSU coaches for a payment of up to $180,000 in exchange for his son signing to play football for the Bulldogs. (Cam Newton later committed to Auburn, obviously.)

Because of Cecil Newton’s admission, the NCAA rendered Cam Newton ineligible for one day, then reinstated him for the remainder of the 2010 season.

While Pike’s statement about Malzahn may or may not be accurate, at the very least it isn’t completely unreasonable. Likewise his supposition that Mississippi State may not yet be in clear with the NCAA as it pertains to the recruitment of Cam and Cecil Newton. After all, MSU didn’t report any NCAA irregularities involving Cecil Newton to the SEC or NCAA until after Cam had signed with Auburn.

In other words, even after MSU coaches knew of Cecil Newton’s NCAA violation - which directly involved Cecil’s solicitation of them - the Bulldogs tried to lure Cam Newton to Starkville to the very end.

But from what I was told by two sources inside the Dallas Cowboys organization today, Pike’s comment about Auburn wide receivers coach Trooper Taylor and the NFL team is dead, flat false. Read more…

Moore’s Confusion: “I’ve Never Heard Cecil Talk”

Yesterday I reported that WZZN-FM radio host Scott Moore has recently touted on several major radio outlets in the past week the existence of audio “tapes” that could possibly further incriminate the Auburn football program and implicate the Tennessee football program with the NCAA.

WZZN 104.5 The Zone Huntsville Scott Moore

Of those tapes, allegedly owned by former Mississippi State players and current boosters John Bond and Bill Bell, Moore told WNSP-FM in Mobile last Friday:

“They’ve (Bond and Bell) got tapes that exist that has Cam Newton in the room with his dad talking about these deals. You have got him (Cam) present in the room while his dad (Cecil) is on the phone trying to shop his son around. That’s a fact.”

Subsequent to Moore’s numerous, remarkably detailed claims, a source who has spoken to both Bond and Bell about the so-called “tapes” confirmed to me that no tapes in their possession contain Cecil Newton’s voice. Bell has electronic audio file recordings of voicemail messages from Kenny Rogers and Bond has a copy of those files. Those voicemails contain no additional information or evidence that would further incriminate Auburn with the NCAA.

This morning Moore appeared on Cole Cubelic’s WZZN-FM morning show in Huntsville to once again discuss the “tapes.”

Less than a week after claiming as “fact” that Bond and Bell had tapes, that has Cam Newton in the room with his dad (Cecil Newton) talking about these deals,” Moore said today he had not authenticated the tapes allegedly in the possession of Bond and Bell.

Further, Moore verified on WZZN this morning that he has never actually heard Cecil Newton’s voice - despite Moore’s previous, repeated claims Cecil Newton’s voice was contained on the “tapes.”


Cubelic:

“Did you hear Cecil Newton’s voice on the tapes?”

Read more…

Infamous M-State Tapes Do Not Include Newtons

In the past week a Huntsville, Alabama-based radio talk show host named Scott Moore has been touting the upcoming release of audio tapes he claims may further incriminate Cam and Cecil Newton and Auburn and Tennessee with the NCAA.

WZZN 104.5 The Zone Huntsville Scott Moore

(Moore confusion from Barrett Sallee of CollegeFootballNews.com)

Here’s a sampling of Moore talking about the “tapes” today on the Chuck and Chernoff Show on 680 The Fan in Atlanta:

“Is Cecil Newton shopping his son around on these tapes? The answer to that is, yeah, he is. … Cecil said that there are offers from Tennessee on there (on the tapes) and offers from Auburn. That’s according to Cecil Newton.

“Cecil’s shopping him around, and the sentiment there is, I believe we’ll be able to show and prove that Cam knew what was going on.

“What I’ve said is true, the tapes exist of Cecil shopping him around.”

On his own show on WZZN-FM in Huntsville last week, Moore said of the tapes:

“The bottom line is these numbers that we keep hearing about — this $150,000 offer from Tennessee, this $180,000 from Auburn — those came from Cecil Newton (to Rogers on the tapes). They didn’t come from Auburn or Tennessee, they came from Cecil Newton. He’s the one that said these offers were made to him.

“What I’ve heard is offers… (Newton) saying on these tapes that these offers were from Tennessee for $150,000 and a $180,000 offer from Auburn. I heard him say that, I’ve seen the text messages. And they exist, that’s the bottom line.”

Moore claims he acquired the tapes from former Mississippi State football players and current boosters John Bond and Bill Bell. It was Bond who first reported details of alleged impropriety involving Mississippi State’s recruitment of Cam Newton to the school’s athletic department.

Bell later reported to ESPN.com that former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers contacted him on behalf of Cecil Newton in order to solicit Cam Newton’s football services to MSU as part of a pay-for-play scheme.

Today I talked to a source who has spoken to both Bond and Bell on multiple occasions, most recently about Moore’s claims involving audio tapes allegedly in their possession. Read more…

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…

Confirmed: Auburn Has Spent $170,000 On Newton

Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS reports today that Auburn University has - so far - spent $170,000 on behalf of Cam Newton.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

Those would be attorney fees in the quest to maintain Newton’s eligibilty for the completed 2010-11 season.

Sam Franklin Auburn Lead Attorney In Newton Case Repping Robert Geddie In FBI Case

(Same lawyer for Cam is Pat Dye, Bobby Lowder personal attorney)

Solomon: Read more…

‘I want my son’s image pristine coming out of Auburn’

Over the weekend Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS published a quote he gleaned from Cecil Newton about son Cam last August.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

Solomon reports Cecil Newton said five months ago:

I want my son’s image to be pristine coming out of Auburn.”

The issues plaguing Cecil’s son’s reputation came from dad asking for money from Mississippi State coaches on November 27, 2009, and Cam’s illegal acquisition of a laptop at Florida.

So looking back, perhaps now we know why Cecil said “Auburn” and not “college”.

Cecil Newton and Cam Newton inside stadium after BCS Championship Game

And had ESPN not exposed the SEC & NCAA’s collusion in not only failing to enforce rules both governing body’s had on the books, but even acknowledge them before ESPN’s November 5 report, Cecil’s dream of  his son finishing school with his credibility in a virtually “pristine” state would’ve been realized.

But then Solomon adds something somewhat incongruent to the SEC & NCAA’s Auburn alibi: Read more…

Video: Cecil, Cam Newton Meet Inside Stadium

After USA TODAY columnist Christine Brennan’s report today that Cecil Newton is now claiming - through his attorney - that he did not attend the BCS Championship Game, video of Cecil and son Cam Newton’s postgame meeting inside University of Phoenix Stadium was brought to my attention.

Cecil Newton and Cam Newton inside stadium after BCS Championship Game

The video, originally aired by ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, was included in a piece about a heartwarming father-son experience at the BCS Game. (The sequence involving the Newtons is around the 2:14 mark of the ABC 33/40 video report.) Read more…

Newton Lawyer: Cecil Just In Stadium For Postgame

Before the BCS Championship Game between Auburn and Oregon on Monday night in Glendale, Ariz., Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs told the media it had been “mutually agreed upon” that Cecil Newton would not be in attendance at University of Phoenix Stadium for the game.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

(Photos: Cecil Newton Before The BCS Championship Game Outside Stadium)

But then a photo surfaced, taken by Vasha Hunt of the OPELIKA-AUBURN NEWS, of Newton hugging son Cam from inside the stadium after the game.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

And now, three days after the game, a representative of the Newton camp is claiming that Cecil indeed was not in the stadium - until after the game.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

Christine Brennan on USA TODAY talked to Cecil Newton’s personal attorney George Lawson and reported late Wednesday: Read more…

Photo: Cecil Newton Attended The BCS Title Game

Before Monday night’s BCS Championship Game in Arizona, Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs assured the media that Cecil Newton, father of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, would not be in attendance at the game.

Cecil Newton was at the BCS Championship Game

But contrary to Jacobs’ claim, Newton was at the game and was photographed embracing his son after the Tigers defeated Oregon 22-19. Read more…