According to Friday’s report, it was determined that during Cam Newton’s recruitment, Cecil Newton and Rogers exchanged approximately 275 phone calls and text messages. Approximately 200 of those phone calls or contacts were made before the pay-for-play scheme came up. Also, Rogers accompanied the family on Newton’s visit to the school.
It was during that time that Rogers claims Cecil Newton told two MSU assistant coaches what it would take to get his son there. Cam Newton was not present at that time. MSU coaches denied the exchange ever took place.
Rogers, owner of Elite Football Preparation, helped to facilitate the proposed cash payment through his former teammates and MSU boosters, John Bond and Bill Bell. However, Auburn’s investigation determined that the Newtons did not hire Rogers as an agent and Rogers was not set to receive any compensation from Cecil Newton. Furthermore, Cam Newton was exonerated, the university said, because he knew nothing of his father’s dealings with Rogers.
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Cam Newton said during the investigation that Rogers’ primary role was to give Newton perspective as an African-American on attending MSU in Starkville, Miss. Rogers was also a recruiter for sports agents, but the Newtons denied having known that.
The “only reason my dad was talking to Kenny Rogers was because he graduated from, or played at Mississippi State and was trying to find out information of why he should let his son go to Mississippi State,” Newton said, according to the documents.
Bell told investigators that he didn’t think the whole scenario was a “money thing” for Rogers.
Rogers was clearly most interested in getting Cam Newton to play at Mississippi State. According to Bell, Rogers was upset that MSU had not offered scholarships to other players he’d presented to the coaching staff. This time, he wanted to ensure Newton would be an MSU lock. Still, he contacted Oklahoma, Kansas State, Tennessee and North Carolina about Newton.
“I have been helping kids get in school for over 13 years with Cory (Corey) Dillon being my first kid,” Rogers said in a Sept. 23, 2009 email to Blake, who is currently being investigated by the NCAA for allegedly funneling players to a sports agency. “I have 3 kids that love UNC one being the #2 QB in JC football Cameron Newton…”
Rogers and Oklahoma assistant Josh Heupel exchanged 17 phone calls, and Kansas State assistant Ricky Rahne spoke to Rogers as well. Both coaches said they were already recruiting Newton. After Newton’s recruitment ended with his signing with Auburn, communication between Rogers and Cecil Newton dropped off significantly. Cam Newton heard from Rogers a few times afterward, primarily wishing him good luck before games.
But as the investigation heated, Auburn took strong measures to distance itself from Cecil Newton. In a letter dated November 30, 2011, Auburn gave clear instructions to Cecil Newton. The university would not provide him tickets, complimentary or paid, and it requested that he not attend Auburn sporting events—home, away, at a neutral site or in the postseason. He was later photographed by the Opelika-Auburn News at the BCS National Championship Game.
Auburn’s primary goal in its presentation to the NCAA was to make clear that Cam Newton wasn’t aware of his father’s attempted arrangement with Rogers, and that Rogers was not hired as the player’s agent or representative. For Rogers’ company, he typically charged $1,500 if his client ended up at a junior college or $2,500 for any other school. If the player wasn’t signed anywhere, the player or his family would be reimbursed half the money.
As the No. 1 junior college recruit in the nation, coming from a Blinn Junior College program that won the national championship, Newton, least of all, needed to pay someone to help him get into school.
To the NCAA, Auburn wrote:
“Cam has undergone extreme public scrutiny since national media outlets began reporting this issue weeks ago. The information gathered by Auburn and the NCAA indicates that Rogers and Cam’s father acted inappropriately in their dealings with boosters from another institution. Cam had no knowledge or involvement in this misconduct, and Auburn respectfully submits that he should not be punished for the conduct of others.”