Kenny Rogers Changes His Tune, Implicates Cecil Newton [UPDATED]

Kenny Rogers has gone back on his initial denials of being involved with the Cam Newton pay-for-play scandal. Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham Times has the first write up I've found on it.

Rogers now claims that he and Cecil Newton got together with two Mississippi State coaches the night before last year's Egg Bowl to discuss where Cam would go. Rogers quotes Newton as saying "it's not going to be free this time" and told them it would take between $100,000-$180,000 to sign his son. Rogers still denies being involved with Auburn at all, claiming he only ever dealt with Mississippi State.

Rogers's lawyer says there was never any discussions about Rogers getting a cut of this money, and also that only the NCAA and not the FBI has contacted them. Rogers says he's going back on his earlier denials to clear the air about his involvement.

Rogers also mentioned a MSU booster and former player Bill Bell as a go between for he and John Bond. That would explain both Rogers and Bond denying ever having talked to each other as well as Bond's statement about having a couple people in between himself and the former player who was soliciting money (now confirmed to be Rogers). The Clarion-Ledger has been trying to contact Bell for the last 24 hours with no luck.

Rogers's new story basically confirms the original reports from ESPN and the New York Times.

Auburn still has deniability here, as Rogers is adamant about never dealing with the school. You just have to wonder whether Cecil Newton would suddenly drop his demands for money and have his son go somewhere other than the school he wanted to.

The NCAA told the Birmingham News that even soliciting cash for a player without ever receiving it is a violation. That means that even if Cam Newton never knew about his father's alleged actions and Auburn never paid up, his eligibility is in jeopardy if Rogers's claims are true.

Both Auburn and Mississippi State declined to comment about Rogers's interview. Someone who isn't Cecil Newton answered the phone at his residence and denied knowing where he was.

UPDATE

Bill Bell told ESPN this evening that Cecil Newton was asking for money in exchange for Cam Newton signing with Mississippi State. Bell said he spoke with an NCAA investigator earlier this week about it, but declined to comment further.

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