AUBURN — As Auburn quarterback Cam Newton practiced Thursday with intentions to play Saturday against Georgia, sports agent Kenny Rogers claimed he witnessed Newton’s father telling two Mississippi State football coaches that the school would have to pay to sign the player.
Rogers identified Mississippi State booster Bill Bell, a former teammate of Rogers’, as someone who might pay.
Bell told ESPN.com Thursday night that Newton’s father, Cecil Newton Sr., did ask for money in exchange for a signing. Bell said he spoke with an NCAA investigator earlier this week.
“That’s all I want to say about it at this point,” Bell said.
Rogers, the agent who found himself in the middle of a story last week that said he tried to solicit money from Mississippi State on behalf of the Newton family, said Thursday on ESPN Radio in Dallas that the person responsible for the demand was Newton’s father.
John Bond, the person who originally went on record to say Newton was being offered to State for money and that Rogers will involved, told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger on Thursday that the story “has nothing to do with Auburn, absolutely nothing to do with Auburn.” Bond said he will provide information to the FBI next Tuesday.
Rogers, like Bond, said he was not aware if anyone asked Auburn for money.
The interview with Rogers on Thursday included contradictions on his role in the matter. Rogers said he was not “involved in anything concerning that, period.” But he later said he called Bell on Cecil Newton’s behalf to see if Bell was willing to pay for the quarterback.
Rogers said in the radio interview that at a meeting he attended in November 2009 in Starkville, Cecil Newton didn’t tell two Mississippi State coaches how much he wanted, but the implication was clear that he wanted to be paid.
“I can’t really remember how Mr. Newton stated this, but however he said it, one of the coaches was like, ‘No, no, I don’t want to hear that. No, no, don’t hear that’ as if money was brought up or it was going to take money to get him. I can’t really remember, so I’m not going to sit here and say I remember what was said.”
Rogers later said Newton told him the amount was between $100,000 and $180,000.
The Birmingham News reported Wednesday that Auburn officials have been talking with the NCAA, including a meeting this week, and that nothing has changed the quarterback’s status. Thursday’s practice indicated Auburn expects its star to play as the Tigers try to win the SEC West against Georgia.
Auburn officials declined to comment Thursday.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn s