The bizarre case of Cam Newton‘s post-Florida recruitment has taken yet another odd turn as it’s being reported that a federal agency has taken an interest in the situation.
According to TMZ.com, the FBI has requested a meeting with John Bond, the former Mississippi State quarterback who was allegedly solicited by a middleman claiming to represent the Newton family and seeking upwards of $200,000 for Newton’s signature on a letter of intent. Bond took the solicitation to the higher-ups at MSU, who then turned the information over to the NCAA, which subsequently launched an investigation a little less than a year ago.
Bond’s attorney confirmed to TMZ that the FBI has requested a sit-down meeting with his client. According to the attorney, the FBI agent said “we are interested in whether young men are being shopped to colleges.”
If the FBI is interested in speaking to Bond, it would then stand to reason they would also want to speak to his former MSU teammate Kenny Rogers. Rogers is reportedly the middleman who allegedly made it known to Bond — maybe not directly, however — that Newton’s talents were available for a low six-figure sum of money.
The accusations of Newton’s football skills being for sale was the first of two “scandals” to hit the Auburn quarterback and Heisman frontrunner in less than a week. Earlier today, FOX Sports.com, citing a single unnamed source, reported three instances of academic cheating were committed by Newton while he was at Florida in 2008, and that he was facing expulsion before deciding to transfer from the Gainesville school to a Texas junior college in early 2009.
The five days of reports have taken their toll on a reputation Newton has steadily rebuilt since being charged with buying a stolen laptop in 2008. It’s also taken its toll on Newton’s head coach, who was at a Mike Gundy-level of pissed off at his press conference this afternoon.
“I’m trying to defend something that is quite frankly garbage,” Chizik said, before really starting to roll.
“Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don’t know. Is there one, is there two, are there 10? I don’t know and I don’t care. But what I do care about is coming to the defense of not only a great football player but a great human being who comes from a great family.
“Now if you really want to do your homework, go and start with his Little League coach, then go to his junior high coach, then go to his high school coach, then go to his junior college coach and then come talk to any coach at Auburn. And you’re all going to hear the same thing. So this is a waste of my time, but I’m going to address it because I’m defending a young man who deserves it.”
Newton was a little — OK, a lot — less emotional in his response to the latest round of allegations. In fact, he seemed to simply shrug them off with a wave and a smile that seemed to say “when God be blessin’, the devil be messin’“.
“Am I hurt? No. Am I curious? A little bit,” Newton said. “But it really doesn’t bother me that much. I’m a blessed individual. …
“I’m not here to bash anyone. I’m here to go to school and win football games at Auburn. My sole focus right now is to win this football game coming up on Saturday.”
Who knows if there is any truth and to what degree these myriad reports hold — and Lord knows Newton is far from sainthood — but it’s a sad indictment of the whole ugly mess that it’s the accused who’s taken the high road, while adults all around him have chosen to step straight into the gutter.
UPDATED 7:22 p.m. ET: Courtesy of our friends at NBC Sports.com, here’s video of Chizik’s emotional defense of Newton.