A man claiming to be a representative of Heisman front-runner Cam Newton allegedly demanded a $180,000 payment from Mississippi State to secure Newton’s commitment to the school.
Mississippi State declined to pay and turned the information over to the NCAA, who confirmed they are investigating. Newton currently plays for No. 2-ranked Auburn.
According to a report on ESPN.com, the man in question is Kenny Rogers, a former Mississippi State football player from the 1980s, who now owns Elite Football Preparation, a company that “matches” athletic recruits to colleges.
John Bond, a former teammate of Rogers, claims that shortly after Newton’s visit to MSU last year, Rogers contacted him, claiming to represent Newton. Rogers told Bond that “it would take some cash to get Cam.” He said other schools had offered $200,000, but that the Bulldogs could have his signed letter of intent for $180,000.
Bond passed the information on the school’s athletic director who is cooperating with the NCAA.
Newton’s father, Cecil, denies any wrongdoing and told ESPN, “If Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge.” He also says they never met Rogers until they visited the campus last December. A few weeks later, Newton committed to Auburn.
The Tigers are 9-0 and on track to play in the BCS Championship Game, making Newton the favourite to win the Heisman Trophy.
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