The reports about Cam Newton and increasingly moving onto the record, and things are not really getting any better for Auburn. ESPN has now informed us that Cecil Newton was looking to put Mississippi State on an installment plan.
[Bill] Bell told ESPN.com he also shared a series of voice mail messages from Rogers with the NCAA last week. Bell said Cecil Newton never specifically asked him for money, but that Newton was present during three-way calls in which Rogers discussed a pay-for-play scheme. ...
Bell said the text included a request for $80,000 the day after Cam Newton signed his letter-of-intent with Mississippi State, $50,000 after 30 days and another $50,000 30 days later.
"When he asked for it, it was like, 'Bam!' " Bell said. "He told me this kid's dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message. He didn't say anything other than, 'This is what I want and I want it in three installments.' "
No word on whether Bell is related to Emeril Lagasse. In any case, his statement that Newton never asked for money is far less helpful for Auburn than his statement that Newton was there for the calls is unhelpful. Bell also said that the phone with the text messages was damaged, but he's trying to recover them.
The ESPN report also has a quote from Cecil Newton, via Bell, that shows why he is quickly become one of my favorite characters in this whole saga. If nothing else, he's crafting plenty of catch phrases that should be with us for years.
Dan Mullen is going to have to put a smile on my face if he thinks he's going to get my son.
That would be the $180,000 smile he's talking about there. Bell also told ESPN that he didn't think it was Kenny Rogers' idea to ask for money, which could be a valid read or could be a teammate wanting to believe the best from someone he used to take the field with.
We're getting to the point where it's harder to believe that there wasn't something here. But this is all still based on the words of people involved; what matters most is what the NCAA makes of all of this.