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Sprints Tries to Keep Up With Cam Newton and Enes Kanter // 11.12.10

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THE BALLAD OF CAM NEWTON

Kenny Rogers Changes His Tune, Implicates Cecil Newton
Our initial take on the matter by Year2.

This raises more than a few questions
I briefly considered making one of the five questions in the post I did Thursday about whether Mississippi State had made an offer to the Newtons, but decided that I wouldn't go there as long as the school had said it was confident all its representatives had followed the rules. After reading the ESPN story on Kenny Rogers, Cecil Newton and State booster Bill Bell, I'm not so sure that was the right call.

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. [Emphasis added.]

So -- was Bell actually consider making an offer, as the "You think it's going to go through" might suggest? Or was that part of the set-up?

State better have hoped it had everything in order before it sent this the NCAA. With the feds involved, it's more likely than not that the Association will know everything about the recruitment of Cam Newton. And the chips will fall where they may, regardless of who talked first.

Track Em Tigers: Great news!
This post was apparently authored before the Bill Bell comment, but I'm not sure that would change things. Our Auburn blog argues that Kenny Rogers changing his story, saying the allegations are true ... is good news?

The credibility of Rogers is now virtually nil. He has completely changed his story. This can only be viewed as good news for the Newton family.

One wonders if they viewed Rogers' story so skeptically when he was saying what they wanted to hear. In any case, I have a hard time seeing the changing story as good news. It's not like Rogers was all that credible beforehand, and I'd still rather have the guy with no credibility denying the charges than agreeing with them.

Roll Bama Roll: The vindication of Kenny Rogers
The erstwhile Alabama site sees this as all but a confirmation that the other Kenny Rogers was telling the truth -- and that there might be proof of that.

Well, well, it seems like Kenny Rogers was not a liar with no credibility whatsoever after all. ...

I'll close with some speculation, specifically noting that if Bell recorded some, or even any, of his conversations with Cecil Newton, it's likely game over for Cam Newton.

Whatever you think about the first part, the last part is almost certainly true. A tape of a Newton asking for money means that Auburn will soon be moving the zero from the loss column to the win column in the official records for 2010.

NOT-SO-FREE ENES

Enes freed from NCAA eligibility
There will be no Enes Kanter playing for Kentucky this year or any other year, barring appeal, now that the NCAA has ruled him permanently ineligible. This is believed to be the first time that the Association has vacated a John Calipari Final Four before he actually got there.

"Enes took advantage of an opportunity to play at the highest level available to him, but the consequences of receiving payments above his actual expenses is not compatible with the collegiate model of sports that our members have developed," NCAA vice president of academic and membership affairs Kevin Lennon said in an NCAA Web site posting.

Which is really what this comes down to. Believe it or not, I actually don't think what Calipari did here is all that bad. When you have the history Calipari has, you should probably stay away from questionable cases. But I'm not sure Calipari knew the extent of the benefits Kanter had received, and it's hard for a coach sitting in Lexington to know what the reasonable expenses are for traveling Europe to play basketball. So you might as well give it a shot.

I don't know what to make of Kanter, probably because we haven't heard much from him. (I'm not even sure he speaks that much English.) He might just be a kid who didn't know how much was too much, which is an unfortunate consequence of having rules.

Price tag on Kanter's eligibility: $33,033
Or, as Cecil Newton calls it, "chump change."

Appeal should be heard by the end of the month
Though if what I'm picking up from reading Kentucky news sources is correct, the NCAA said this to be polite instead of saying "NO!" and cackling hysterically.

2010 not looking so bright without Enes
A Sea Of Blue is skeptical about how much luck Calipari and Co. can have without Kanter.

We have seen this before, and it works, and can even work very well, but usually not well enough to get a team all the way to the Final Four. But there is always a first time.

I would perhaps rebut this if I understood much of what followed. But as we all know, I know about as much about basketball as Lane Kiffin knows about tact.

OTHER NEWS

Masoli not yet cleared to play Saturday
Houston Nutt says it as only he can.

Yesterday, he had a few more plays than he did the day before. About the same as he did yesterday. And then Tim’s just got to let me know, man. He’s the one who’s got to give him the helmet.

Tim is the trainer, Tim Mullins. It's good to hear that the decision is in the right hands, or at least in the rightest hands in which it can be; college football would still be well advised to follow the NFL's lead and ask for independent doctors to be involved in the decision.

'And next, we'll just let Row E get on the field and try their luck'
South Carolina tries to fix its secondary ahead of the Florida game.

One of Alabama's two running backs might not play
It's Trent Richardson this week.

NCAA shows sanity in fight against concussions
We take enough pot shots at the Association around here, so let's give them credit for doing something right: Giving Moses Jenkins a fifth year of eligibility after he missed 10 games to a concussion. With any luck, this will become standard practice and give players less of a reason to volunteer to go back in a game when they're not ready.

Tennessee late with statue of Robert Neyland
Alabama would have had one years ago, Volunteers.

We have some names of those who provided gifts to UNC players
Hakeem Nicks, Omar Brown, Mahlon Carey, Vernon Davis and "a person from Miami whose full name is not known" are on the list.

UNC tutor not welcome in Chapel Hill anymore
Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the Tar Heels have disassociated themselves from Jennifer Wiley because she provided impermissible academic benefits to players. Just another strand in the unwinded of AgentGate, and all that it sparked.

WAC finds its bailing wire, still needs some duct tape
Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and Denver will now join the WAC in a last-ditch effort to keep the conference alive. Montana decides it is not wise to jump onto a sinking ship. Hawaii is considering going independent.