Rogers: "No Idea" About AU's Recruiting

Former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers said on Thursday that Cameron Newton's father tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, but said he has no evidence that Auburn illegally recruited the quarterback.

Former Mississippi State football player Kenny Rogers claimed on Thursday in an interview with a radio station in Dallas, Tex., that Cecil Newton, the father of Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, tried to solicit money from Mississippi State in November to get his son to sign with the Bulldogs.

In an interview with Ian Fitzsimmons on ESPN 103 in Dallas, Rogers and an attorney for the former Mississippi State player said that Rogers is trying to clear his name amid speculation that he was trying to make money as an agent by shopping the Blinn Junior College quarterback to other colleges.

Rogers had done an interview last week with Fitzsimmons and said he wanted to add more information on Thursday as a followup.

"I know other allegations have come up," Rogers said. "The only thing I could really think about was the part you said in the interview and that was at that point, ‘Nobody is looking at Mississippi State, nobody is looking at Auburn, they are looking at you.' You see, I played at Mississippi State and I have friends there and God only knows what they are thinking about me now."

In the interview Rogers said he had no information about the recruiting of Newton by Auburn, the college he committed to on New Year's Eve, or Oklahoma, where he took an official visit between his official visits to Mississippi State and Auburn.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said on Tuesday that he and his staff saw nothing unusual about Newton's recruitment when he visited Norman in December.

Mississippi State continued to recruit Newton until he announced on the evening of New Year's Eve last December that he was planning to sign with the Tigers. The quarterback enrolled at Auburn for classes in January and won the starting quarterback job in late April at the end of spring practice.

Starting all 10 games for the unbeaten Tigers, Newton is a leading candidate for SEC Player of the Year and the Heisman Trophy with his outstanding play as a runner and passer. Newton has repeatedly said he has "done nothing wrong" regarding his recruitment to Auburn.

Asked if he had any knowledge that Auburn or anyone associated with Auburn paid to have the quarterback sign with the Tigers, Rogers told the radio station, "No idea. I am trying to clear the record with me."

Asked if he had any idea about the possibility that Cecil Newton, a minister, wanted to get money for his son's recruitment sent to his church in Georgia, Rogers replied, "I have no idea. It didn't even get far to talk about how about what, when or where."

Media reports have stated that Rogers is under investigation by the National Football Players Association to see if he has represented himself as a representative of the NFLPA to try to influence athletes to sign with an agent in Chicago.

Rogers said on the radio show on Thursday that he tries to get in touch with college players when they are transferring from one college to another. Newton, who is from Westlake High in Atlanta, transferred from the University of Florida to Blinn Junior College in Texas for the 2009 season.

"Me and Cecil talked right when Cam left Florida," Rogers said. "I help kids get in school. Brent Schaeffer from Tennessee, I helped him--other known names so I was just getting in touch with him to see if he needed any help."

Rogers claimed that he talked to Cecil Newton about what his son's plans were. "That is when we started discussing schools," Rogers said. "He talked to a couple of schools, but that is when he realized he wanted to go bigger and that is when junior college entered the picture."

Mississippi State's Dan Mullen is in his second season as head football coach of the Bulldogs.

When the quarterback was ready to leave junior college, Rogers said he learned that his alma mater was one of the colleges recruiting the quarterback. Mississipi State head coach Dan Mullen had been Newton's offensive coordinator and position coach at Florida.

"I found out that Mississippi State was recruiting Cam through Mr. Newton," Rogers said. "I didn't know before then...Then we started talking about the school and the culture of the school and then Mr. Newton pretty much said--he didn't say these exact words because I can't remember, but it is not going to be free this time.

"What I can say is on November 27th, me, Mr. Newton and two coaches were sitting in the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville. I really can't remember how Mr. Newton stated this, but however he said it one of the coaches was like ‘no, no,' I don't want to hear that--don't hear that as if money was brought up or it was going to take money to get him. I can't really remember so I am not going to sit here and say I remember what was said."

Rogers did claim that Cecil Newton mentioned it would take "between $100,000 to $180,000 to get his son" to sign with Mississippi State. "On the (November) 27th, it was on the night before the game (Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State)," Rogers said of the quarterback's official visit to Starkville. "Everybody was in the lobby. That was actually the night Mr. Newton introduced me to Dan Mullen."

Rogers said it was also the first time he had met Cameron Newton. "Cam was there with the other recruits. The team was there. After everybody had left, Dan Mullen and everybody, me, Mr. Newton and the two coaches were sitting there until about 11:30 or 11:45."

Rogers refused to answer who the two Mississippi State coaches were he met with that night. Rogers claimed he has no knowledge that Mississippi State committed recruiting violations in regard to Newton or if the Bulldogs were willing to pay to sign the QB. "I was asked something, I passed it on," he said. "I have no knowledge of what they were going to do and what they were not going to do."

Rogers mentioned in the interview that he did get in touch with another former Mississippi State football player named Bill Bell about the possibility of getting money for Newton.

After the meeting with the Mississippi State coaches, Rogers said he met briefly with Cecil Newton before he and his son left Starkville. "After the Friday night before the game, Saturday I saw them at the game but they were being recruited, walking around and all of that, but I spoke to them and everything. Then Sunday he (Newton) met with the coaches.

"He (Cecil Newton) called me to let me know they were getting ready to hit the road," Rogers said.

Rogers stated that after getting a phone call from Cecil Newton that they were leaving town that he met with the player's father at a gasoline station. "We filled up and we talked for a minute and he was like so, ‘what do you think is going to happen? Do you think it is going through?' I said well, ‘I can't answer that, I will just call Bill Bell. I called Bill, Bill didn't answer and (I) left Bill a message saying I am with Mr. Newton and he just wants to know if the deal is going to go through.

"Bill Bell is a former teammate who played with us in the '80s who is the person who called John Bond, not me," Rogers said.

What, if any role that Bond had in the recruitment of Newton to Mississippi State is unclear. Rogers said, "I told (my attorney) at 4 o'clock in the morning, ‘You know what, I don't trust anybody now for the simple fact that last Thursday my name came out as being the person who talked to John Bond and then Friday came and John's attorney or somebody wouldn't even go back and tell them it wasn't me. They hadn't talked to me in 28 years."

Asked if Cameron Newton had any knowledge that his father could be asking for money, Rogers said, "I can't even say. I didn't hardly talk to Cam. I never called him or anything. Let me re-state that. I did not talk to Cam. I talked to Mr. Newton. That was my first time meeting Cam at the Mississippi State game the night before at the hotel, shaking his hand and everything."

Rogers said he did not meet again with Cecil Newton after their brief talk at the gasoline station.

"I know after Mississippi State he (Cam Newton) had another visit somewhere (Oklahoma and later Auburn)," Rogers said. "After he made that decision, I had no idea about it."

Rogers said he didn't know why he didn't have more contact with the Newtons after their official visit to Mississippi State. "I really don't know. We talked after we left Mississippi State. Nothing harsh was ever done, we kind of faded away, I guess, after nothing went down or whatever. That is pretty much it. The next thing I know Cam is going to Auburn."

Newton took his official visit without his parents just prior to Christmas. After his visit, he said he had a great time on the trip and was very interested in playing for Coach Gene Chizik's Tigers.

The attorney representing Rogers said that the former Mississippi State player has talked to the NCAA about Mississippi State's recruitment of Newton. He said there has been no contact with Rogers by the FBI. Media have reported that the FBI will meet with Bond next week as that agency investigates "runners," representatives of agents who try to influence college athletes to sign with a particular professional agent.

Auburn officials have declined to comment on the case in any detail noting that they can't discuss the issue at this time. Cecil Newton, who has previously denied he asked for money to get his son to sign with a college, was unavailable for comment on Thursday.
Rogers said he has had no contact with anybody at Auburn regarding the news stories about Newton's recruitment that started a week earlier.

Auburn officials conducted an in-depth investigation into Newton's recruitment last summer and decided that AU had done nothing wrong in the matter before turning the information over to the Southeastern Conference. Chizik and Athletic Director Jay Jacobs have both issues statements that Auburn's position is that Newton is eligible to play football for the Tigers.

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