SEC Championship - Auburn v South Carolina

Radio host claims Auburn, Vols offered $’s to Cecil Newton

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Over the past week or so, an Alabama radio host named Scott Moore has been making the radio rounds claiming he’s heard audio tapes of Cecil Newton discussing financial offers he’d received from schools for Cam Newton‘s signature on a Letter of Intent. Most damning — and potentially damaging to Cam’s now-former school — is Moore’s claim that the former Auburn quarterback was present for one of these purported conversations, which of course would severely undercut his claim that he had no idea what his father was doing behind the scenes during his recruitment while also calling into question the NCAA’s ruling that allowed him to regain his eligibility.

We’ve been very leery of Moore’s claims, mainly due to his lean toward a certain school in Tuscaloosa, and have thus shied away from going into any great detail in this space regarding his accusations. However, the sounds of those accusations have grown too loud, too thunderous and, most of all, too damning to continue to completely ignore.

Appearing on 104.5 the Zone in Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday afternoon, Moore reiterated his claims that both Tennessee and, yes, Auburn offered a significant amount of money to Cecil Newton in an attempt to lure Cam Newton to their respective schools. Specifically, Moore claims that the audio tapes he heard has Cecil Newton revealing that the Volunteers offered him $150,000 and the Tigers $180,000.

“I did say the offer was $150(K) and that is from Cecil Newton,” Moore explained during the 15-minute interview, which can be heard in its entirety by clicking HERE.  “Cecil Newton said that on the tape.  ‘$150,000 offer from Tennessee’, then he went up a week later to $200,000… and this is coming from Cecil Newton guys.  This didn’t come from Tennessee, it didn’t come from Auburn.

“This is [Cecil Newton] saying to Mississippi State, ‘Hey, I have an offer from Tennessee for $150(K)’ one week, coming back the next week and saying ‘I have an offer for $200,000.  I also have an offer for $180(K) from Auburn.  So hey guys, we’ll come to Mississippi State for $180,000.  So that is proved and that was said.”

Moore also repeated his claims that Cam Newton was around during at least one of his father’s discussions on schools bidding on his talents.

“I do believe that Cam Newton knew.  I do believe that on these tapes when we play them that you’ll be able to tell Cam Newton knew what was going on.  That’s all I’ll say about that at this time,” Moore said during the interview. “That’s been Auburn’s stance all along is that… and the SEC’s really and the NCAA’s… ‘Cam didn’t know what his dad was doing’.  Well, so what?  His dad was shopping him around.  He should’ve been ineligible.  That’s the whole thing here.  And that’s all we’re trying to do, we’re trying to get this out and get the story answered.  Let the NCAA answer this thing, let the SEC answer this thing.  I wanna know why he was ruled ineligible for a couple of hours prior to the SEC championship game and I wanna know what the NCAA heard and I wanna know why they made their ruling.”

Reportedly, the audio tapes Moore has allegedly heard were made by John Bond and Bill Bell. The former is an ex-Mississippi State quarterback who told ESPN.com in November that an alleged Newton middleman — former MSU teammate Kenny Rogers — said “it would take cash to get Cam“, while the latter is a Mississippi State booster who told the same website that he had “received a text message from a man claiming to represent Cam Newton’s father that outlined a payment plan designed to bring the quarterback to the Bulldogs”.

Moore’s accusations are extremely damning to both Auburn and Tennessee, but they also raise at least two questions.  Most significantly, if Bond and Bell are in possession of audio tapes that implicate the two schools, why haven’t they been turned over to the NCAA?  Or, if they have been turned over to the NCAA and they contain the information Moore claims they do, why has the NCAA apparently not acted on what would be a bombshell of a development?

Moore claims Bond shared some of the tapes with the NCAA, although he was uncertain how much of them the governing body of collegiate athletics have heard.

The most recent report regarding the Cam Newton “situation”, though, is that the investigation is ongoing but there’s no bomb set to drop on The Plains.  Certainly if there was any shred of truth or credibility to Moore’s claims, Cecil Newton being heard on tape accusing Auburn and Tennessee of offering money in exchange for his son’s services would qualify as the mother of all hydrogen bombs in this imbroglio, wouldn’t it?

In the parlance of that area of the country, Moore’s dog don’t hunt on a couple of levels.

Moore’s admittedly life-long affinity for the Crimson Tide raises one eyebrow, and the fact that he’s starting a new radio show– that he hopes to syndicate — in two weeks on which he will supposedly play the damning tapes raises the other.

Apparently, though, Moore is just itching to play them, irrespective of his new gig.

“They’re real, they’re legit.  And they have a lot of information on there that I think is gonna clarify a lot of things for a lot of people,” Moore told the station.  “That’s all we’re trying to do, is find out what the answers to these questions are and I think we’ll be able to do that once we are able to play these things.  I want everybody to hear them.  I’d like to get the information out there.”

We’re not saying that Moore is fabricating claims in order to boost both his profile and the launch of a new professional endeavor.  We’re just saying that there’s a significant stench surrounding these latest “developments” that simply can’t be ignored.

That same stench won’t allow us to get something out of our head: if Moore truly wanted these questions answered, he’d take these tapes public immediately and begin the process of getting them answered.  Instead, he’s sitting on the tapes until they can be played on his radio show.

Of course, Moore has an answer to those questioning his motives in holding back on a release.

“The answer to that question is real simple,” Moore said when asked about the delay in releasing the tapes.  “A, I’m not going to put something on the air that I can’t back up 100 percent, that I’ve had substantiated and authenticated.  I’m going to make sure when we go in there and play this, from a liability standpoint, that we’re good to go.  And I think that’s a smart business decision, one.

“I’m not going to rush out just because we have this story and we have these tapes — and I’ve got some of them in my possession as we speak — but I’m not gonna go play this stuff on the air for money, to get recognized.  I’m gonna make sure that this stuff is done right and this story is done right and the due diligence is done on it.”

OK, so let me get this straight.  Moore is tossing around words like “liability”, “substantiated”, ” authenticated” and “due diligence” as his reasoning for not releasing the tapes at the same time he’s going on various radio shows discussing the content of the alleged tapes?

Again, the stench is overwhelming.

Then again, if his claims are verified?  Auburn and Tennessee might find themselves in a whole pile of what most people believe Moore is shoveling right now.

Despite Auburn interest, Texas A&M OC Noel Mazzone staying put in College Station

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 14:  The Texas A&M Aggies offense huddles against the Missouri Tigers at Kyle Field on October 14, 2006 in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 25-19. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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Gus Malzahn’s quest to find a new offensive coordinator has zigged and zagged in the past few days since the surprising departure of Rhett Lashlee to UConn. One place it will not be going however, is to a fellow SEC West school.

Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle reports that despite some interest in Texas A&M offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, the Aggies’ coach is staying put in College Station.

Mazzone arrived at A&M prior to this past season from UCLA and found early success with the Aggies and transfer quarterback Trevor Knight before a late slide in 2016. Travis Haney of 247Sports reported earlier Thursday that he could be considered the leader in the search to replace Lashlee, but it appears that will not be the case.

The longtime coaching veteran’s name being linked to Auburn isn’t too surprising considering he was the OC there from 1999-2001 but Mazzone’s hefty salary and likely high buyout figure provided some big obstacles if he wanted to reunite with the school.

Instead, it’s on to the next one for Malzahn and company.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan coaches ride go-karts with five-star recruit in Georgia

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 17:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts during the college football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Spartans defeated the Wolverines 27-23.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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National Signing Day is just around the corner and that means a flurry of in-home visits by coaches across the country trying to lock up the next class of impact players for their program.

We’ve seen plenty of unique attempts by coaches to impress prospects over the years as a result, from often used cookie cakes to sleepovers and limo rides. When it comes to this subject though, few have been as creative as Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh. This week, he certainly cemented that reputation.

According to the Detroit News, Harbaugh and several Wolverines coaches took an in-home visit with five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon out of Leesburg, Georgia and went bowling with the recruit’s family before finally racing go-karts together.

And even better, there’s video via ESPN:

Solomon is also strongly considering Alabama and Georgia in addition to Michigan, but something says neither Nick Saban or Kirby Smart will be heading to the race track with the big defensive tackle on their visit. You have to love recruiting either way.

Florida QB Luke del Rio to miss spring practices following surgery

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 5:  Luke Del Rio #14 of the Florida Gators throws a pass during a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Razorback Stadium on November 5, 2016 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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Florida quarterback Luke Del Rio will be out of action this spring in Gainesville, the school announced on Thursday. Del Rio will instead be taking time to recover from shoulder surgery.

Del Rio underwent surgery on his non-throwing surgery on Wednesday. The surgery was on his non-throwing shoulder, but it will still take some time to rehab following the procedure.

While Del Rio is expected to be available for the fall, his absence in the spring could open the door for Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask to make a potential run for the starting job. Both were expected to be ready to compete for the starting job for the Gators this season anyway, and now each will be able to get a few more reps in the spring to work on their case to win the starting job for the 2017 season.

Del Rio was 5-1 as Florida’s starting quarterback last season before going down with a knee injury. Austin Appleby took over as Florida’s starting quarterback and led the team to a blowout victory over Iowa in the Outback Bowl at the end of the season. Del Rio passed for 1,358 yards and eight touchdowns with eight interceptions.

San Diego State extends Rocky Long’s contract through 2021

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Rocky Long of the San Diego State Aztecs hoists the champion's trophy after winning the Mountain West Championship game against the Air Force Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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Coming off a second straight 11-3 season, San Diego State has rewarded head football coach Rocky Long with a contract extension. The school announced a new contract that tacks on five additional seasons to the existing contract. Long is now under contract through the end of the 2021 season.

Long was under contract through the end of the upcoming 2017 season, so the contract extension provides a little more job security for Long and enables to him to show some stability for the future of the program.

Long replaced former San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke as the head coach of the Aztecs at the end of the 2010 season after Hoke was hired by Michigan. Under Long, San Diego State has gone 54-26 with six straight winning seasons. During that run, San Diego State has won back-to-back Mountain West Conference championships the past two seasons and gone 3-3 in bowl games. Long also coached San Diego State to a conference crown in his first season on the job, in 2011. San Diego State has ended each of the past two seasons with bowl victories against a team from the American Athletic Conference (Cincinnati in the 2015 Hawaii Bowl and Houston in the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl).