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.

Texas interim AD Mike Perrin working without a contract

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 05:  The Texas Longhorns mascot "Bevo" is walked onto the field before the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on January 5, 2009 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
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As more and more money pours into college sports, athletics directors are making more money than ever. All except the leader of one of the most profitable brands in college sports.

According to a report from Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas interim AD Mike Perrin is working without a contract at a reduced rate of quote-unquote only $750,000 a year. Perrin’s predecessor, Steve Patterson, signed a five-year contract starting at $1.4 million a year back in 2013.

Perrin, of course, stepped in for Patterson after his September firing.

Finger notes Perrin’s at-will employment status is common for high-ranking officials under new UT president Greg Fenves.

“Since Mike Perrin is a key member of university leadership, he and president Fenves agreed that his appointment should be consistent with other university leaders and that no formal contract was needed,” spokesman Gary Susswein told the paper.

Perrin’s $750,000 salary basically amounts to volunteering for him after a lengthy and lucrative legal career. Running a business with a $180 million budget on a $750,000 salary is the statistical equivalent to running a $1 million business while bringing home $4,167 a year.

“The situation with Mike at Texas is not normal,” Chuck Neinas said. “He’s made his money (as a lawyer). He’s basically doing the university a favor. He’s an outlier.”

Perrin’s original agreement is set to end on Aug. 31, but his handshake deal with Fenves asks the former Texas football player to run the department through the 2017-18 athletic year.

Hugh Freeze denies Ole Miss staffers knowingly broke NCAA recruiting rules

OXFORD, MS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Hugh Freeze of the Mississippi Rebels takes the field with his team prior to a game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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In a tweet that he surely regrets on a daily basis, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze famously challenged anyone with information regarding any possible NCAA violations to come forward with them.

“If you have facts about a violation, send it to compliance@olemiss.edu. If not, please do not slander these young men or insult their family,” he posted in a since-deleted tweet on Feb. 1, 2013, the day Freeze inked his highly-touted, highly-controversial class headlined by Laremy TunsilRobert Nkemdiche and Laquon Treadwell.

Which, of course, the NCAA did.

The Rebels were hit with 28 total violations — nine of which the school confirmed originate from Freeze’s staff. And that’s not including the allegations regarding Tunsil that popped up on NFL Draft night.

Ole Miss has suspended unnamed assistants from recruiting in the wake of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, but Freeze has denied anyone under his employ knowingly broke rules.

“The first thing I would say is that I own it. That’s part of it when you’re the head coach. You take the good with the bad,” Freeze told ESPN’s Chris Low from the SEC spring meetings in Sandestin, Fla. “But there’s a big difference between making mistakes in recruiting and going out there with the intent to cheat. I don’t have any information that anybody on my staff has been involved in any illegal payments to players or offering any inducements to players, and if I did have that information, I would fire them.”

As for the text messages showing Tunsil asking off-the-field staff member John Miller for mone, which were not included in last week’s release?

“That’s something I can’t talk about right now because both sides are still looking into it, but I feel confident with the report we do have from the NCAA that our staff is not involved in any purposeful breaking of the rules,” Freeze said. “Have we made mistakes in recruiting? Yes, and we’ve taken steps to make sure we don’t make those same mistakes again. But to say me or anybody on my staff is out there cheating to gain advantage just isn’t true.”

To be fair, most of the allegations against the Rebels’ current regime are relatively minor in nature. A comped hotel room here, a loaner car there. Because of that, Freeze said he won’t fire anyone on his staff.

“We’re not going to terminate a guy who makes a mistake and didn’t have any intent to go out and cheat,” Freeze said. “There is no charge in these allegations of a staff member being involved in a payment or offering extra benefits. There’s none of that in there.”

However, there are major allegations against coaches wearing Ole Miss red and blue, as former defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn and operations assistant David Saunders are accused of running an ACT fraud scheme. Unfortunately for Freeze, the NCAA may take out the sins of Houston Nutt‘s staff on his own.

Baylor QB Jarrett Stidham confirms commitment to program

Jarrett Stidham
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Continuing a trend we have witnessed at Baylor over the past week, incoming and future players are looking elsewhere while players already in the program are preparing to stay put. In the past 24 hours, a lot has happened with the program with the resignation of athletics director Ian McCaw following the hiring of head coach Jim Grobe. While the school still works to gain control of the situation, Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham announced he intends to stand by the program.

“Can’t wait to get back on that grind [Tuesday] with my brothers,” Stidham said in an update posted on his Instagram account on Monday. “This year is going to be different than the rest in many ways, but either way we will make a statement to everyone. Excited for the opportunity God has presented this team with to overcome adversity and become even closer as a family. Stick with us Baylor nation, we got this.”

Stidham was a major addition to Baylor’s recruiting class in 2015. After initially pledging his commitment to Texas Tech, Stidham later flipped his commitment to Baylor. Although Baylor appears set to have a healthy Seth Russell (who also has been making statements on Instagram) leading the offense this fall, all signs point to Stidham being the starting quarterback in 2017 (if not sooner).

Baylor has managed to keep all current players on the roster in Waco, which is not too surprising. Unless the NCAA chimes in later and drops a hammer of the weight it slammed on Penn State four summers ago (which is perhaps not all that likely to happen for a number of reasons, and they have no comment at this time), there is likely no reason to expect a mass exodus from the current roster. The recruiting game, however, is a different story.

Some key pieces of Baylor’s Class of 2016 — including running back Kameron Martin, offensive lineman Patrick Hudson and offensive tackle J.P. Urquidez  — made the late decision not to enroll in summer courses this week, which means they may still land elsewhere before the start of the fall football season. The Class of 2017 has quickly been dismantled and reduced to just a small handful of players for now as well.

How much Grobe can keep the recruiting ship afloat will be fascinating to watch, especially if he is simply on a one-year deal with no real chance to be the long-term head coach.

Baylor AD Ian McCaw resigns

WACO, TX - AUGUST 31:  A general view of play between the Southern Methodist Mustangs and the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium on August 31, 2014 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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On the same day Baylor made the coaching hire of Jim Grobe official, athletics director Ian McCaw has announced his resignation.

“After much reflection and prayer, I have decided that a change in athletics department leadership is in Baylor University’s best interest in order to promote the unity, healing and restoration that must occur in order to move forward,” McCaw said in a released statement Monday evening.

The resignation of McCaw is not to be unexpected given the serious nature of the revelations surrounding the Baylor program in the last week. Art Briles already lost his job and president Ken Starr was reappointed to a different position within the university as it looks to regroup from some egregious violations of Title IX and a complete system meltdown in responding to sexual violence involving Baylor student-athletes. That he lasted this long is puzzling to some, and his resignation is very likely a forced one. McCaw was placed on probation by the university last week.

“We understand and accept this difficult decision by Ian McCaw to resign as Athletic Director and we are grateful for his service to Baylor University,” a statement from Baylor’s Board of Regents read. “We also appreciate Ian’s commitment and involvement in bringing a person of integrity such as Jim Grobe to the University before making this decision.”

It should be expected McCaw let Grobe know of the situation when making the quick coaching hire, although Grobe likely knows this is a short-term deal anyway.

McCaw joined the Baylor program in 2003.