The Cam Newton scandal just got a whole lot uglier as Kenny Rogers, the Chicago “agent” that supposedly shopped the Heisman Trophy hopeful to at least one SouthEast Conference university (Mississippi State), spoke out Thursday, telling ESPN 103.3 in Dallas that it was Cam Newton’s own father, Cecil, who named the price for which the all-star athlete would play.
Kenny Rogers said that Cecil Newton had told him shortly after Cam left the University of Florida in 2008 that “it’s not gonna be free this time.” When asked if the elder Newton had ever specified an amount, Rogers said he did, and that amount should be “anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000.”
Rogers also talked about an alleged conversation he had with Cecil Newton after the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game on Sunday, November 28, 2009. Cecil Newton had then asked him if he thought the deal would go through. He was then given a the name of a MSU booster, Bill Bell. He then left a message with Bell telling him he was with Cecil Newton and asked if the deal was actually going to happen.
ESPN noted that Bill Bell has made no comment concerning the allegations.
Kenny Rogers said he didn’t know if Auburn paid Cam Newton to play football for them and had no knowledge of Auburn’s recruitment of the standout. He also said, through his attorney, that he never had a deal to receive any money as payment from Cecil Newton for orchestrating the deal with Mississippi State.
Both Mississippi State University and Auburn University declined comment regarding the allegations.
But Kenny Rogers’ statements made Thursday to the Dallas station contradicted his denial of soliciting Cam Newton to Mississippi State in an interview conducted last Friday. He had also denied that he had anything to do with the solicitation the day before to ESPN.com.
Rogers admissions and allegations concerning Cecil Newton come just a day after ESPN reported that two recruiters from Mississippi State, had talked with Cam and Cecil Newton separately and at different times before the 2010 football season. One recruiter said that Cecil Newton told him before Cam Newton had committed to Auburn that it would “take more than a scholarship” to get a letter of intent or a commitment from his son. The second recruiter noted that a distraught Cam Newton had phoned him after signing with Auburn, apologizing for his not signing with MSU due to his father choosing Auburn because “the money was too much.”
The allegations made by the two recruiters jibed somewhat with the allegations made public by John Bond last week after it became known that the NCAA was investigating the recruiting allegations. Bond, a former Mississippi State quarterback, said that a former teammate had approached him, telling him that Cam Newton would play for MSU but it would cost $180,000. Bond said the man who approached him was Kenny Rogers. Bond also said he immediately turned the matter over to the Mississippi State athletic department. The SouthEast Conference was made aware of the allegation in January.
Cam Newton has denied the allegations, as has his father. Cecil Newton told Fox Sports in an interview that his son was the victim of a “witch hunt.”
The NCAA has been reticent on the matter, as is their custom during an investigation.
At present, Cam Newton’s eligibility remains intact and Auburn has announced that he would play in the upcoming game against Georgia. Although rumors swept Twitter and the Internet Wednesday that Newton had been suspended, those rumors were later proven to be unfounded.
“Rogers: Cecil Newton put price tag on son,” ESPN.go.com