The legitimacy of Auburn’s 2010 football season and Cam Newton’s eligibility comes down to one question: Is Newton’s dad telling the truth?
(Careful what you wish fer?)
If Cam’s father Cecil Newton never empowered Kenny Rogers to seek money for the quarterback’s services from a representative of Mississippi State, then Auburn is in the clear. But if Cecil Newton in his denials of such activity is lying, Auburn can kiss its season goodbye - as can son Cam’s Heisman Trophy.
Auburn is betting everything on the word of Cam and father Cecil Newton’s word against Rogers. Everything.
How so? Because whether Newton is eligible for the 2010 season may not depend on anything Auburn did or didn’t do. For all we know, Auburn did absolutely nothing wrong in its recruitment of Newton. But that won’t matter if the NCAA, with the assistance of the media, links any manner of financial transaction between the Newton and Rogers.
So if we are to believe Cecil Newton over Kenny Rogers (and John Bond), we must also believe that Bond either completely made up his story about Rogers demanding money on behalf of Newton or that Rogers lied to Bond, asking for cash unbeknownst to Newton, and planned to pocket it all himself.
The latter isn’t a completely impossible notion, as Rogers has previously been suspected of misrepresenting himself to college football players in the past.
Likewise, we must also believe that ‘Bishop’ Cecil Newton recently rescued his dilapidated church - after nearly three years of threats of demolition from the city of Newnan, Georgia - by providing hail mary cash to a building renovation that had nothing to do with son Cam’s recruitment.
The same Cecil Newton who has admitted to a relationship with Rogers and who Cam confirmed to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED as having made the call for his son to attend Auburn over Mississippi State.
Some people may wonder why Cecil Newton would jeopardize his son’s college career by taking money for his services. If Cecil really needs the money, why not wait until Cam turns pro and starts earning an NFL salary?
First, there’s no guarantee Cam Newton will enjoy a lucrative NFL career. Second, it has been long-chronicled by the NEWNAN (GA) TIMES-HERALD that if Cecil Newton was to save his church from being torn down, he’d need a cash infusion fast.
After staving off city officials for three years, the Times-Herald reported in May that Cecil was finally facing demolition of his church. Then, suddenly, after three years, that cash infusion happened and the church was saved.
Some people may also wonder why John Bond suddenly came out and leaked the NCAA investigation into Cam Newton’s recruitment to the media.
Bond first reported Rogers demanding money for Newton in December, 2009, to Mississippi State officials. MSU then reported Bond’s allegation to the SEC.
11 months later, nothing had happened. Except that is, Newton appeared well on his way to winning the Heisman Trophy in leading Auburn to a stellar season.
We now know that Cecil Newton had a relationship with Rogers and that Bond is claiming Rogers contacted him to demand money on behalf of the Newtons. We also know this is Cam Newton’s final season as a college football player. After this season, eligibility issues for him are irrelevant. (See Reggie Bush.)
If Rogers and/or the Newtons are to be held to legitimate account for their misdeeds, the NCAA clearly needed to speed up its inquiry into the matter.
Without the media interceding, what’s the odds the NCAA would get to the bottom of the situation before the end of the season? (If you followed the NCAA’s investigation of the Bush affair at USC, you know that it took four years for the NCAA to make its case against the school and Bush.)
Also keep in mind that the NCAA likely regards Bond as someone who represents Mississippi State’s athletic interests, so if he was known to be associating with Rogers, who has already been in trouble before for tampering with current college football players, that could possibly have a detrimental effect on the MSU program.
So did Bond come forward in an attempt to hold Rogers and possibly the Newtons accountable before the season was over - while defending his own conduct as a representative of Mississippi State’s athletic interests against NCAA investigators?
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think so.
If Cecil Newton is lying, his son Cam is ineligible and Auburn’s season is over.
If Rogers is lying, he’s guilty of theft.
If Bond is lying, the Mississippi State football program will take an enormous public relations hit - almost incalculable in how that could effect football coach Dan Mullen’s recruiting in the future. And possibly face NCAA sanctions.
Piece of advice for Auburn fans: If your season ends up down the drain, don’t blame Mississippi State or Bond. Blame the plodding NCAA and your own school for betting on the honesty of Cecil Newton.