The Claims, Sources, and Denials of the Cameron Newton Saga

This Cam Newton saga has been a difficult one to keep a handle on. So, I've gone through all the reports I could find to pull out who exactly said what. I did my best to be complete, so if something is missing, please leave a comment.

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The Claim: The NCAA is investigating Cameron Newton's recruitment out of junior college.

Reported by: New York TimesESPN

Denied by: No one

This is a fact. The NCAA is investigating Newton. Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs confirmed that the investigation exists and is ongoing.

...

The Claim: A former Mississippi State teammate of John Bond's was telling people that it would require payment to get Cam Newton to campus in Starkville.

Reported by: New York TimesESPN

Source: John Bond

Denied by: Technically, no one

Corroborated by: Kenny Rogers

Bond sent a statement to the NYT and ESPN with the information he gave to Mississippi State when he initially reported his allegation. He didn't name who that former teammate was, and in his only interview after the stories came out, he also did not name the former teammate. Because Bond, to date, has yet to name anyone, this claim has not technically been denied by anyone.

One notable discrepancy: in the NYT and ESPN reports, Bond makes it sound like the former teammate talked to him directly. In the interview, he states that there were two people in between him and the former teammate.

Update: In Kenny Rogers's November 11 interview with ESPN Radio Dallas, Rogers essentially backed all of this up and claimed himself to be the mysterious former teammate. Rogers also mentioned MSU booster and former player Bill Bell being involved between him and Bond.

Bond maintains that his phone records will reveal that he and Rogers talked, so it's not clear why he included the part about two people being in between him and the "former teammate" in his initial interview. He also thinks people misinterpreted his quote from the radio interview, insisting that he never contradicted his claim of having talked with Rogers directly.

...

The Claim: The former teammate of Bond's asked for $200,000 from any school except Mississippi State, who would only have to pay $180,000.

Reported by: New York TimesESPN

Source: John Bond

Denied by: Technically, no one

Corroborated by: Kenny Rogers, partially

Once again, this bit of information came from Bond in his reports to Mississippi State and the two news organizations who broke the story. Same thing applies: since Bond didn't specify a person, this technically has not been denied. 

Update: In Kenny Rogers's November 11 interview with ESPN Radio Dallas, Rogers said Cecil Newton asked for $100,000-$180,000 from Mississippi State. Rogers said he was only involved with MSU and not any other schools.

...

The Claim: Kenny Rogers, a business associate of NFL agent Ian Greengross, was the teammate who shopped Newton around.

Reported by: ESPN

Source: Unnamed "sources"

Denied by: Kenny Rogers

Corroborated by: Kenny Rogers

It appears on the surface that both the NYT and ESPN reported that Rogers was the teammate that Bond implicated, but if you read Pete Thamel's article closely, you see that he's relying on ESPN's information. Rogers denied ever being paid for a player, having close contact with anyone at Mississippi State, and ever contacting Auburn. An unnamed source told the AP as well that Rogers had never contacted "anyone associated with Auburn."

Both ESPN and the NYT reported Rogers's relationship with Greengross, which was not a secret. The NFLPA has accused Rogers of violating agent regulations, including pretending to be an NFLPA employee while working for Greengross.

Update: In Kenny Rogers's November 11 interview with ESPN Radio Dallas, Rogers admitted to being the former teammate of John Bond's involved with shopping Newton around.

The Claim: Cecil Newton and Rogers had a relationship.

Reported by: ESPN

Source: Cecil Newton

Newton told ESPN in the original report that he and Rogers met shortly after his son left Florida. Rogers confirmed that the two had a relationship in his interview, implied when he said that it was Newton who introduced him to Dan Mullen. Newton denied having Rogers ask for money for him, saying, "if Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge."

...

The Claim: Cecil Newton said it would take "more than a scholarship" to land his son, and a third party could provide specifics. Cam Newton told a recruiter for Mississippi State that he'd end up going to Auburn because "the money was too much."

Reported by: Joe Schad, ESPN

Source: "Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State"

Denied by: Indirectly by Cecil NewtonCam Newton, and Auburn

Corroborated by: Kenny Rogers, partially

This is the first report that officially accuses Cecil Newton of asking for money, Auburn of supplying it, and Cam Newton of knowing about it. One of the recruiters gave the first part of the claim, while the other provided the Cam Newton phone call story. Schad has two other sources outside the program saying the same thing. Mullen says MSU doesn't have anyone registered with the NCAA as a recruiter who is not a coach.

FoxSports.com called Cecil Newton last night for comment, but he refused to confirm or deny. However, Auburn has said that if it thought there was anything wrong with Newton's recruitment, he wouldn't be playing. Cam Newton has said that he "didn't do anything wrong." Cecil Newton has denied asking for money at all. All of those denials came before Schad's report came out, which is why I call them indirect.

As far as timing goes, Schad said on Paul Finebaum's show on November 10 that he first heard of potential problems with Newton's recruitment back in January. He then said that he heard more about it over the summer. That meshes with Mississippi State's statement regarding the timeline of the investigation.

Update: SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said the conversations with the Newtons about money were not included in either the January or July reports that Mississippi State's made to the conference.

Update 2: In Kenny Rogers's November 11 interview with ESPN Radio Dallas, Rogers claimed to have had a meeting with Cecil Newton and two unnamed MSU assistant coaches in which Newton asked for money in return for Cam Newton's commitment.

Update 3: Bill Bell, a MSU booster, also claims that Cecil Newton was asking for money.

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The Claim: On a three-way conference call between Bond, Mullen, and Urban Meyer, Meyer encouraged Bond to go public with his claims. On the same call, Mullen didn't think Bond should go public.

Reported by: The Birmingham NewsAuburnSports.com (a Rivals site)

Source: An unnamed source

Denied by: Florida SID Steve McClainUrban MeyerBond

Contradicted by: Indirectly by AuburnUndercover.com

This claim attempts to answer the "why now?" question. Florida issued a swift denial, and Bond laughed at the notion before denying that the call ever happened. In Meyer's later statement, he denied playing a part in this scandal in any capacity. AuburnUndercover.com is reporting that Mullen was the source of the cheating leak about Newton (more on that later), which if true, contradicts the detail that Mullen didn't want the story of the investigation to get out.

...

The Claim: Cameron Newton left Florida in the wake of an academic cheating scandal, one that had him facing suspension or expulsion at the hands of a student honor court.

Reported by: Thayer Evans, FoxSports.com

Source: An unnamed source

Denied by: The Newtons, indirectly; Gene Chizik, maybe

Contradicted by: AuburnSports.com

Thamel of the NYT had a source confirm Evans's report. Brett McMurphy of FanHouse claims to have an unnamed source inside UF who also says that Newton "did not have a choice in leaving the university because of his academic and legal issues." It's not possible to determine if these are three different sources or all the same one because none of the three reporters has identified his source.

In an SI piece written by Lars Anderson published on November 1, the Newtons say that Cam left Florida only because he wanted to start in '09 and Tim Tebow came back for his senior year. Cam Newton also told CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd the same thing ten days prior. Evans's report says Newton left to avoid the academic penalties, so that's a contradiction. Chizk referred to the allegations as "garbage" and said they "blow his mind," but he didn't specifically deny them.

AuburnSports.com is contradicting the part of the story saying that Newton faced the honor court, citing "two independent sources with detailed knowledge of the UF academic discipline system during the period in question."

...

The Claim: Meyer and/or someone at Florida leaked the information about Newton's academic records.

Reported by: Gregg Doyel

Source: Gregg Doyel's rear end

Denied by: Meyer

Contradicted by: AuburnUndercover.com

I'm being a bit rough on Doyel here, who didn't issue an official report. He's the only person though who's leveled the accusation at Meyer specifically in print though, while plenty of others have done so on radio and television.

As reported above, FanHouse's McMurphy has a source in UF that confirmed the report, but there's no way to know yet if it was the original source. AuburnSports.com claims that the brother of someone in UF's video department revealed on its message boards that he knew the report on Newton's cheating was coming, but now you're getting into the murky world of message boards.

Also, AuburnUndercover.com claims to have five different sources saying the cheating leak came from someone at Mississippi State. SI's Lars Anderson on Finebaum's show on November 9 stopped short of confirming that report, but he said everything he's heard points to Starkville and not Gainesville. Mullen has denied leaking information.

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The Claim: Cecil Newton's main church in Newnan, Georgia has been in financial trouble and was in danger of being torn down. Newton got several extensions on the deadline to fix up his building.

Reported by: Winston Skinner, the Newnan Times-Herald

Source: A Newnan City Council meeting

Denied by: No one

This much is a fact. Read carefully what follows, though, because a lot of people have been getting this wrong. In this city council meeting from September 22, 2009, Newton claimed he had the money to fix the building and could bring the building up to code within six months.

Some people have reported it as Cecil Newton saying he could get the money to fix the building inside of six months. That is factually untrue. Newton told the Newnan City Council that he had the money already on 9/22/09. Whether he did or not is not confirmed anywhere, but that's the claim he made.

Update: the AJ-C got a quote from Newnan City Council member Rhodes Shell (who represents Newton's church's district). Shell says Newton made incremental improvements to the church over time, which is part of why he got extensions in the first place. Shell also reported that Newton planned to get the $50,000 needed for repairs from his son Cecil Newton, Jr.

Cecil Jr. is a center who was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in 2009. He was on the Jaguars practice squad until December of '09, when he got bumped up to the active roster. He was cut by the team in August of this year. The minimum salary for practice squad players is $5200 a week (before tax, of course), though nothing stops a team from paying its practice squad members more than that. The minimum rookie salary for active roster NFL players is $285,000 a year, which works out to $16,764.71 a week.

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The Claim: The FBI wants to speak to John Bond about this case.

Reported by: TMZ Sports

Source: Bond's attorney

Denied by: Bond's attorney (sort of)

Corroborated by: Bond

This is a weird one. TMZ, of all places, broke this story. While TMZ is very gossipy, it's not often wrong. Second, Bond's attorney Phil Abernathy denied to the Clarion-Ledger that he or any other attorney was the source of the report. Beyond that, he wouldn't confirm or deny the story.

Update: Bond now says that he has a meeting with the FBI on Tuesday, November 16.

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