Thursday, November 04, 2010

ESPN rolls out IneligibleCam for Auburn games?

Good evening, I'm Tank McNamara with tonight's norts spews.

ESPN reports the NCAA is investigating Auburn's Heisman contender, Cam Newton, amid reports that a representative of the hotshot quarterback was shopping his services to Southeastern Conference football programs for a six-figure fee out of junior college.

According to the cable network's incendiary report:

Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond told a teammate of Bond's at Mississippi State in the early 1980s contacted him soon after Newton's official visit to Mississippi State during the Ole Miss game in December, and said he was representing Newton.

"He said it would take some cash to get Cam," Bond said. "I called our athletic director, Greg Byrne, and he took it from there. That was pretty much it."

Multiple sources told that Mississippi State called the SEC office with Bond's information shortly after he brought it to the attention of the school.

Sources told the former teammate is Kenny Rogers, who played at Mississippi State from 1982 to '85. Rogers operates a Chicago-based company called Elite Football Preparation, which holds camps in Chicago, Alabama and Mississippi. A Lexis search for that business lists Kenneth Rogers as the contact and his title as "agent." A Birmingham News story from 2008 said Elite Football Preparation "matches high school athletes with college programs."

Bond said the former teammate told him other schools had already offered $200,000, but since Newton really liked Mississippi State and had a relationship with head coach Dan Mullen dating to when both were at Florida, Mississippi State could get him for $180,000.

"I have no agenda other than protecting Mississippi State," Bond said. "We've done what we were supposed to do from the very beginning. Mississippi State has done nothing wrong, and I've done nothing wrong. It's been handed off to the NCAA, and it's in their hands now. I don't know what happened at Auburn. I don't know why he went to Auburn. That's not my concern. My concern is Mississippi State and making sure this doesn't cause us any trouble."

Bond said an NCAA investigator came to Mississippi to meet with him in early September, as well as with Mississippi State officials.

When interviewed by Thursday at the family's home in Atlanta, Cecil Newton, Cam's father, denied any wrongdoing.

"If Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge," Cecil Newton said.

Cecil Newton said he first met Rogers two years ago, when Cam Newton left Florida. He said he talked to Rogers on several occasions to find out more about Mississippi State, but never met Rogers until Cam Newton's official visit to Starkville, Miss.

Cecil Newton said the family received a letter from the NCAA "about a month ago" asking for financial statements. He said he submitted bank statements and records for the church where he is pastor, Holy Zion Center of Deliverance in Newnan, Ga., along with other records.
REACTION IS coming fast and furious from SEC fans about the NCAA's "pay for play" investigation of Newton.

Now, sports fans, here's a brief sampling of the conference buzz:

*Mississippi State issued a press release today saying "We didn't do it. We just ratted 'em out."

*From Alabama came just this Twitter update: "ROFLMAO."

*Elsewhere across the state of Alabama, hundreds of thousands of single gunshots rang out today, followed by an equal number of soft thuds. Utter silence followed the last of the reports, lasting a few seconds. Then . . . hysterical laughter and cries of "ROLL, TIDE!"

Sketchy eyewitness reports from before the shooting began mentioned whimpering Auburn fans and threats to "end it all." Crews are on the scene across the land of red clay and black teeth, and we expect breaking-news updates momentarily on what exactly has happened there.

At Auburn University itself, meantime, just one brief Facebook status update on the official Tigers/Plainsmen/War Eagle fan page: "God is dead. Life is pointless. Goodbye."

Calls to the university's sports-information department have not been returned. Also, there has been no answer at any Auburn phone extension since the ESPN report hit the Internet this afternoon.

* At LSU, fans were apoplectic at the possibility the Tigers might yet play for the SEC championship. Tiger fan boards in cyberspace were swamped with the same message, posted thousands of times by thousands of LSU fans: "G**DAMN THAT LUCKY SOB LES MILES!"

This just in . . . Baton Rouge police are responding to reports of rioting outside Tiger Stadium by rope-toting mobs clad in purple and gold.

Film at 11.

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