Mississippi State was contacted by former quarterback John Bond within the last year about an alleged cash solicitation made for the services of quarterback Cam Newton during the recruiting process, CBSSports.com has confirmed.
|Cam Newton has helped lead his Auburn Tigers to an undefeated record and No. 2 in the BCS. (US Presswire)|
Newton's father Cecil Newton told auburnundercover.com, "It's not true. The allegations are completely unfounded, and we've retained an attorney. That's all I can say at this time." He later told the Associated Press that the family is "cooperating with the investigation." Bond released this statement through the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger:
"During the 2009 football season, I was contacted by a former football teammate, who represented to me that he was speaking for the Newton camp. He told me that Cam Newton wanted to play at Mississippi State, but that a specified payment would have to be made. I reported the conversation to the Mississippi State Athletic Department. I was told by the Athletic Department that Mississippi State would not respond to the overture that was made to me, and that Mississippi State would continue to recruit Cam Newton as it does any other football recruit."
Auburn's next step now seems to be to decide whether Newton will be allowed to take the field Saturday against Chattanooga. If Newton plays, or has played, while ineligible he could cost Auburn to vacate or forfeit games. Auburn seemingly now has less than 48 hours to make that determination.
An Auburn spokesman said Thursday night: "Cam Newton is eligible to play football at Auburn. Unfortunately, we cannot comment any further at this time."
"They [NCAA] would need to figure out 1) whether the story itself is true and 2) whether he [Newton] had anything to do with it," said a person with intimate knowledge of the NCAA process.
Newton transferred from Florida after the 2008 season and became the national junior college player of the year at Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas. He signed with Auburn in December 2009. Mississippi State was thought to have a chance at landing Newton because former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen had moved on to become the Bulldogs' head coach. Newton still speaks fondly of his time at Florida.
The story has the potential to be the biggest of the college football season. Newton is the runaway frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy with five weeks left in the season. The junior has led the Tigers to a No. 2 ranking and an undefeated season.
The NCAA took four years to investigate and penalize USC after Reggie Bush took money and benefits from would-be agents during his time at the school. This would be different since Newton is still enrolled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report