More Mississippi State sources have come forward with information against Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, telling ESPN today that the Newton family admitted to receiving money from Auburn recruiters in phone conversations last year:
Prior to Newton's commitment to Auburn, one of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him it would take "more than a scholarship" to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request the source said the school would not meet. Cecil Newton also referred the recruiter to a third person that would provide more specifics, the source said.
After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret about his change of commitment from Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because "the money was too much."
Obviously, the NCAA is going to want to hear more about this, and the days of Auburn being able to proudly claim that its football program is not a target of any NCAA investigation are probably close to an end.
It's worth pointing out, though, that this report in and of itself doesn't constitute enough to jeopardize Newton's eligibility today; it's simple hearsay more than anything else. Furthermore, since this new allegation is that the Newtons accepted money (and not that Auburn merely offered it), the NCAA is going to have to actually find some of this money (which sounds easy enough, considering the Newtons were asking for $200,000, but you never know what a, um, "creative" accountant can accomplish) before it doles out any punishment.
When reached for comment, Cecil Newton had little to tell Fox Sports.
"I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place," Newton told Thayer Evans of Fox Sports. "I’ve answered what I need to answer. If they’re out there, go with it and make the decision or determination based on whatever you’ve got to say."
Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen may have denied the earlier reports that he was behind the allegations of academic misconduct by Newton, but considering MSU's heavy involvement with these two other reports, it's easy to wonder whether there's any point in Mullen keeping any distance from this scandal anymore. This is clearly the Bulldogs' fight right now, so they might as well be honest about it.
Moreover, if the academic allegations did come from Mullen (which would make sense, considering his position at Florida while Newton was there), then this is three-for-three on Cam Newton allegations that have come from Mississippi State ... and haven't been proven yet. That's not to say they can't or won't be proven true -- time will tell on that front -- but these reports aren't coming from the NCAA, they're just Mississippi State airing dirty laundry. Remember how true the academic allegations sounded when the report first hit? Those don't seem quite as credible now that AuburnSports.com has its own sources saying Newton was never involved in the Florida Student Conduct Committee for any reason. It would be wise to at least keep that track record in mind going forward until more definitive evidence arises.