A former Mississippi State player who worked with agents says Cecil Newton told him it would take anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000 for his son, Cam Newton, to sign a scholarship with Mississippi State.
Kenny Rogers told ESPN radio 103.3 in Dallas on Thursday that when he and Cecil Newton met with two MSU coaches at a hotel in Starkville, Miss., last Nov. 27, one of the coaches said “No, no I don’t want to hear that,” when Cecil Newton asked about the payment for Cam Newton to attend Mississippi State.
Rogers was asked if Cecil Newton told him how much money it would take to get his son to play for Mississippi State. “Yes, he did,” Rogers said.
Asked how much, Rogers said the price would be: “Anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000.”
Cam Newton eventually signed with Auburn, where the school says the quarterback is eligible to play. Newton is a leading Heisman Trophy contender and has the unbeaten Tigers in the hunt for the national championship. He’s expected to play Saturday against rival Georgia.
Later in the interview, Rogers said he and Cecil Newton first talked after Cam Newton left the Florida Gators following the 2008 season. In the course of their conversations, he said Cecil Newton told him, “It’s not gonna be free this time.”
Rogers said he was involved with Cecil Newton only in regards to Mississippi State.
Rogers said that on Nov. 28, 2009, he and Cecil Newton followed each other out of Starkville, Miss., after the Ole Miss-Mississippi State game. He said Newton asked him: “What do you think is going to happen? You think it’s going to go through?”
Rogers said he was referred to a Mississippi State booster named Bill Bell. Rogers said he left Bell a message telling him he was with Cecil Newton, who wanted to know if the deal was going to happen.
Bell, when contacted Thursday night by ESPN.com, confirmed Cecil Newton did ask for money in exchange for Cam Newton signing with Mississippi State. Bell said he was contacted by the NCAA about the matter and spoke to an investigator earlier this week.
“That’s all I want to say about it at this point,” Bell said.
Bell, a Florida resident, was an offensive lineman at Mississippi State in the early 1980s and played with Rogers.
Rogers said he didn’t know if Cam Newton knew about the request for money. He said he did not meet Cam Newton until Nov. 27, 2009.
Rogers said he didn’t know anything about Newton’s recruitment at Auburn or any other school. He said he had “no idea” why Newton chose Auburn or if Auburn paid Newton.
While Rogers spoke, his attorney also was on the phone. The attorney, Doug Zeit, said there was never any discussion about Rogers getting paid out of the money Cecil Newton was requesting.
Mississippi State officials declined comment on Rogers’ interview Thursday.
A person who answered the telephone at Cecil Newton’s home in Atlanta said he wasn’t there.
Auburn declined comment through spokesman Kirk Sampson. The SEC also declined comment.
In an e-mail to ESPN.com, an NCAA spokeswoman said: “The solicitation of cash or benefits by a prospective student-athlete or another individual on his or her behalf is not allowed under NCAA rules.”