Chizik Says Newton Eligible, But Little More

Coach Gene Chizik and Auburn officials comment on reports questioning the recruitment of quarterback Cameron Newton.

Auburn, Ala.--Despite reports of an investigation taking place into the recruitment of Auburn football star Cameron Newton, the junior quarterback practiced as normal with the Tigers on Thursday as Auburn prepares for its Saturday game vs. Chattanooga.

Reports surfaced on Thursday afternoon regarding questions of possible NCAA rules violations in his recruitment out of Blinn, Tex., Junior College.

"We have been made aware of the allegation," said Auburn assistant athletic director Kirk Sampson, who added, "However, Cam Newton is eligible to play football at Auburn. Unfortunately, we cannot comment any further at this time," Sampson said.

Thursday night on Tiger Talk, Auburn's coaches call-in show, Coach Gene Chizik gave a brief statement on the situation saying, "Unfortunately, I can't comment on it. Here is what I can say and I will say this very loud and very clear. Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University. Period. End of story."

Coach Gene Chizik at Thursday night's Tiger Talk

Newton's father, Cecil, denied on Thursday that neither he nor anyone in his family had asked for or received money while being recruited. The minister added that he has retained an attorney to help him deal with the situation.

Media reports on Thursday quoted former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond as saying that during Newton's recruitment last year that he was told by one of his former teammates, Kenny Rogers, that he was representing the Newton family and it would take cash to get his signature.

Bond said he turned over that information to Mississippi State officials soon after who then called the SEC office shortly after being notified. He added he didn't know any details of Auburn's recruitment of Newton, but wanted to make sure that Mississippi State followed NCAA rules.

Rogers, who is from Chicago, runs a business known as Elite Football Preparation and this isn't his first investigation this year. On Sept. 2, ESPN reported that Rogers and Chicago-based agent Ian Greengoss were being investigated by the NFL Players Association after Rogers may have misrepresented himself as an NFLPA employee to try to influence players to sign with Greengoss.

DeMaurice Smith, the head of the NFLPA, had this to say about the investigation on an interview with ESPN Radio in September. "We have one serious issue under consideration right now. We're looking at facts where an agent may have had a runner who was posing as an NFLPA employee," Smith said. "That investigation is continuing. I can promise you that if the facts turn out the way that we think right now -- not only will we take action against the person who was falsely impersonating an NFLPA employee -- we will look to see what action we will take against the agent, and also consider whether there's any criminal violation. Then I'll make the appropriate referrals.

"I think that's an insidious problem. I think that any agent or contract advisor who does that and preys upon kids like that in college is something that we're going to deal with extremely aggressively."

Cecil Newton, a minister in Coweta County, Ga., and the father of the Auburn quarterback, was quoted denying that he or anybody in his family have solicited money for his son's signature or received money. "If Rogers tried to solicit money from anyone, he did it on his own without our knowledge," Cecil Newton said.

Newton, who took official visits to Mississippi State in November and to Oklahoma and Auburn in December, chose the Tigers and made his announcement on New Year's Eve while the Tigers were in Tampa, Fla., preparing for the Outback Bowl.

Newton has proven to be a major impact player for the Tigers.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen had these comments prior to Auburn's SEC opener at Mississippi State in September.

"We recruited him hard and I know him, know his family," Mullen said "Obviously, we have a lot of respect for him as a football player. Knowing Cameron, I don't know the weaknesses of Cam. I think he's got a lot of strengths. Coming into a first SEC game, he has been around some big games before, so I don't think any of that stuff gets to him. He has a great demeanor obviously. He just enjoys playing."

Newton is a strong candidate for the Heisman Trophy this season. Through nine games he has rushed for 1,122 yards and 14 touchdowns and thrown for an additional 1,573 yards and 15 scores in leading the Tigers to a 9-0 record.

He also caught a touchdown pass in last weekend's 51-31 win over Ole Miss and currently holds the Auburn record with 30 combined touchdowns (rushing, passing and receiving) in a season. Newton has already set an SEC record for rushing yards by a quarterback and leads the SEC in that category this season.

Newton, who originally signed with the University of Florida at out of high school, transferred to junior college for the 2009 season where he led Blinn to the 2009 junior college national title. Newton said he and his father made the decision he should transfer to juco after Tim Tebow made a decision to return for his senior season.

He enrolled at Auburn in January and participated in winter workouts and spring practice. He won a competitive battle for the starting assignment vs. Barrett Trotter, who is the No. 2 quarterback, ahead of senior Neil Caudle and redshirt freshman Clint Moseley.

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