Even with the start of the 11th Saturday of the Southeastern Conference football season just 12 hours away, events continued to move at breakneck speed in the controversy surrounding Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his family.
None of Friday night’s developments will impact Newton’s status for No. 2 Auburn’s game against Georgia on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. He is expected to start.
WSB in Atlanta investigative reporter Mark Winne quoted a source close to Cecil Newton, Cam Newton’s father, saying he has admitted having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State player about the possibility of a payoff if Cam Newton signed with Mississippi State last December.
The source, WSB reported, said Cecil Newton said neither his son nor his wife knew about the conversations.
Meanwhile, athletics director Scott Stricklin said Friday night in a prepared statement that Mississippi State had no information incriminating any other school.
The statement was a clear reference to the saga of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his father’s alleged request for money do deliver him to Mississippi State last December.
Stricklin said Mississippi State is cooperating with the NCAA in its investigation. The school reported its concerns to the Southeastern Conference office last January but failed to answer the league’s request for additional information for six months.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive was highly critical Friday of Mississippi State’s handling of the situation.
Here is Stricklin’s statement:
"During the recruitment of a football prospective student-athlete, Mississippi State was approached with an offer to provide an extra benefit. This offer was refused.
"MSU alerted the Southeastern Conference about the offer. MSU did not have any specific incriminating information about any other school, and thus could not provide any.
"As Commissioner Slive mentioned today, the SEC is not an investigative body. MSU has cooperated fully and completely with the NCAA from the time it began asking for our assistance, and looks forward to providing any and all help in this ongoing investigation."
Kenny Rogers, a former Mississippi State player, said Thursday that he helped Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, seek “between $100,000 and $180,000” to deliver his son to Mississippi State. Rogers said he had no contact with Auburn at any time. He also said no money changed hands.
After numerous erroneous reports said Newton would not play in Saturday’s game against Georgia, AuburnUndercover.com learned he is expected to start.