November 5th, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Sports: Did a Cam Newton rep ask school to pay?

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton (2) is a leading contender for the Heisman Trophy, college football's biggest award.

Just when you'd forgotten about the various scandals rocking college football comes another one bigger and badder than the last.

ESPN.com reported Thursday that a man representing Auburn star and Heisman favorite Cam Newton had allegedly sought a six-figure payment to secure the quarterback's national level of intent last year.

Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond told ESPN.com that a former teammate of his, Kenny Rogers, requested $180,000 from the school in exchange for Newton's selecting Mississippi as the school he would transfer to from junior college. Mississippi State declined the offer and reported Rogers to the SEC almost immediately.

Newton's family and Auburn have denied any involvement, but SI.com's Stewart Mandel writes the damage might already have been done.

"Whether guilty or innocent, the presumptive Heisman front-runner now carries an inescapable stigma," writes Mandel. "The kid with the big smile and postgame exuberance, the highlight-reel runs and pass-efficiency prowess, is now linked to the ugly words 'extra benefits' and the eye-popping number $200,000" (the amount Rogers claimed "other schools" had offered).

The report of Newton's crooked recruitment reminds college football fans little is sacred anymore. Today's feel-good story often turns into tomorrow's gut-wrenching reality. But unlike other scandals that have plagued college football this season, this one puts in question whether the best player in the nation can play out the rest of the season.

"The fact it's even become a question is yet another unfortunate, unsurprising window into the underbelly of college football," adds Mandel. "And another agent-related scandal is always lurking around the corner."

Auburn is scheduled to host Chattanooga on Saturday. Here's some of the action going on around the sporting world today (all times Eastern):

Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics (8 p.m., ESPN) The Bulls look to rebound from a home loss to the Knicks last night. They face the Celtics, who defeated them 4-1 last season in the first round of the playoffs.

Central Florida at Houston (8 p.m., ESPN2) Conference USA's top two teams meet on the gridiron tonight when these division leaders face off in Houston.

BY THE NUMBERS

28 – Points and 11 rebounds each for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the Thunder's 107-106 overtime victory over the Trail Blazers on Thursday.

$100,000 – Total amount Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been fined this season for three separate hits. Harrison was docked $20,000 this week for a late hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees last Sunday.

8 – Of the 10 NFL teams currently holding at least a share of their division lead did not win their division last season. SI.com's Don Banks writes about that trend and more in his NFL Midseason Report.

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Filed under: Basketball • College football • Sports
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Grafton Bragg

    John Boyd? It's John Bond. Why don't you just call us Mississippi instead of Mississippi State like most ESPN announcers do?

    November 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. James Hammett

    Someone please tell Auburn that if they want to come from under the shadow of Greatness (Alabama) they need to earn it not buy it.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Stubbs

      Hey Albert Means, I feel no shadow, only six years of bright sun followed by two years of darkness with unlimited bright days to come, hey and we're 5 and one in T-town, nervous Bama?

      November 5, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bizprof

    The question to me is: Did the student-athlete violate any rules? Because may not be able to help it if someone offers him a bribe. But did he turn it down? And did he report it? Was he obligated to report it? I would suppose so. And even if an MSU person reported it right away-was the athlete required to also?

    November 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Hammett

      If true he violated the same rule that caused Saints Running back Reggie Bush to forfeit his Heisman trophy. The parents of an athlete can not take money to have their child play in the NCAA ... Even to rebuild a church. CECIL TS TS TS!!!

      November 5, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TimAU

    The problem with allegations is anyone can make them. The problem with ESPN is they report this as near fact rather than the hearsay statement a questionable source, Kenny Rogers, has made. ESPN is giving this legs. If they had some journalistic integrity they would have reported all the facts. Such as Kenny Rogers being under scrutiny for other bad behavior. If Cam is besmirched then ESPN and other "journalists" are to be blamed for sensationalism. If, as I suspect, nothing comes of this, who will give Cam his reputation back? And what price will the low lifes pay?

    November 5, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • donimus

      Good post.

      November 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • AUBDog

      The sports media is pathetic. They aren't journalists, they're entertainers that could care less about ruining a kid's life by publishing unsubstantiated rumors by some cowbell state jack offs. How many times have you read "even if innocent, the damage is done and voters won't vote for Cam"? This is the dumbest thing that I've ever seen in print. You are going to base your vote on a rumor?? Gimme a break, most sports journalists are a bunch of uneducated hacks that need to look at getting a real job.

      November 6, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Kevin

    Why do people immediately decide he is guilty? Why would it be a blemish or even be taken into consideration when looking at him as a Heisman candidate? The whole thing smells a little funny if you ask me. I can make accusations all day about anyone but without any evidence that is all they are, accusations. Also James educate yourself with facts (which aren't available) before ruling a guilty verdict. The real problem is people (the media) running with a smear campaign about a kid simply to try to hurt Auburn's chances. That's the real crime here.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Hammett

      Fact is Cecil got a church renovation and Auburn got a QB. you connect the dots. ROLL TIDE!!!

      November 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Connie Jo

    Somehow I have a feeling Saint Saban's folks might be behind this. If nothing more, it gives Bama a shot in the arm for tomorrow's earlier time game against LSU in Death Valley. Saban was no more respected in the NFL than Kenny Rogers is. He left the NFL to come to Bama. When the dust settles, those that are accountable for this dark cloud will be found out. War Eagle! Geaux Tigers tomorrow!

    November 5, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Grafton Bragg

    To claim that ESPN is made up of a bunch of sensationalists is nearly redundant. They claim to be journalists, but the first letter in their acronym suggests otherwise.

    November 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jay

    THIS IS SOME BS.......WAR DAMN EAGLE! LETS KICK SOME BAMA ASS!

    November 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Hammett

      Not on your best day more like battle buzzard anyway!!! ROLL TIDE!!!

      November 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |