After a few days of relative calm, the saga that is the Cam Newton situation is once again back in the headlines. With a vengeance.
Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond met with officials from the FBI on Tuesday to discuss “whether young men are being shopped to colleges“, as one FBI agent put it last week. Bond’s attorney confirmed to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that the meeting with the feds took place today, as well as confirming to the Associated Press that his client met with state investigators.
Bond was reportedly approached by a former MSU teammate late last year claiming to represent the Newton family and attempted to solicit a six-figure payment to secure Cam Newton’s signature on a MSU Letter of Intent. Following the alleged solicitation, Bond took the information to MSU officials, who then passed it on to the SEC and ultimately to the NCAA. The NCAA is currently in the midst of an investigation into the situation.
Bond’s former teammate, Kenny Rogers, was also reportedly busy with meetings today as well. Rogers, Ian Fitzsimmons of ESPN radio in Dallas reported, met/was scheduled to meet with officials from the NCAA regarding his role in the soap opera.
Late last week, in a radio interview with Fitzsimmons, Rogers accused Cecil Newton of asking for money — somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000-$180,000 — in exchange for his son signing with the Bulldogs during his recruitment late last year. Bill Bell, another former MSU player, was reportedly contacted by Rogers, who relayed Cecil Newton’s alleged request for money. Bell spoke to NCAA investigators last week, as did the Newton family.
In a statement released last week, MSU confirmed that “[d]uring the recruitment of a football prospective student-athlete, Mississippi State was approached with an offer to provide an extra benefit. This offer was refused.”
Cecil Newton has previously denied that there was any type of pay-to-play plan in place, although he has remained silent since the allegations fit really hit the shan. Particularly damaging to Cecil Newton’s credibility, in addition to Rogers’ radio interview, was a source with sympathies to the Newton family telling an Atlanta television station last week that the father admitted he had conversations with an ex-MSU player about an under-the-table financial arrangement.
Thus far, there’s been nothing connecting the pay-to-play scandal to Auburn — well, except for Cam Newton allegedly telling a MSU “recruiter” that his father chose Auburn because “the money was too much” — but it could be Auburn that takes a hit for this imbroglio. If their starting quarterback is ultimately stripped of his eligibility, the Tigers could get slapped by the NCAA for playing an ineligible player. Especially if, as has reportedly been suggested to them by the NCAA, they’ve been made aware that there could be “issues” surrounding Newton’s eligibility.