Kenny Rogers, the singer, isn’t connected to the Cam Newton recruiting scandal, but his song, The Gambler, is so appropriate for this story.
The attorney for controversial Auburn University booster and gambling kingpin Milton McGregor, says there’s no connection between his client and Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, despite the fact that the FBI checking into it.
McGregor, who owns casinos, dog tracks and lots of electronic bingo machines, was recently arrested on charges of trying to buy votes in the Alabama legislature for pro-gambling measures. Ten others were arrested in the sting operation. They all pleaded not guilty. In 2008, McGregor donated $1 million to Auburn.
“Contrary to postings on celebrity and sports blogs, Milton McGregor has never had any contact direct or indirect with Cam Newton, Cecil Newton, (sports agent) Kenny Rogers or anyone purporting to represent Cam Newton,” said Joe Espy, McGregor’s attorney.
TMZ.com is reporting FBI agents asked someone connected to the Newton case if he was familiar with McGregor or the bribery scandal.
Questions about how Auburn landed Cam Newton
The FBI is investigating allegations that Cecil Newton tried to sell his son to the Mississippi State football team for $180,000. While Cecil Newton reportedly confessed to pay-for-play discussions, there’s no evidence any money ever changed hands. Of course, the FBI wants to be sure about that, so agents are investigating.
Meantime, questions have been raised as to how Auburn was able to land the talented quarterback after the Mississippi State deal died.
“Mr. McGregor has never been asked to provide money for any recruitment or compensation of any current or perspective student athlete, including Cam Newton at Auburn or any other school, and has never provided any type of compensation in that regard. Period. No exceptions,” said Espy.
The Cam Newton layaway plan
Meantime, ESPN.com reports that Bill Bell, a former Mississippi State player, told the NCAA that he received a text message from sports agent Kenny Rogers, requesting a three-tiered payment program that looks likes a Christmas layaway plan.
Rogers allegedly requested $80,000 the day after Newton signed with MSU, $50,000 after 30 days, and another $50,000 exactly 30 days after that.
“He told me this kid’s dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message,” Bell said. “He didn’t say anything other than, ‘This is what I want and I want it in three installments.’ ”
Bell also said that he, Cecil Newton and Rogers took part in phone calls to discuss potential financial arrangements.
The Newtons’ attorney, George Lawson, told WSB-TV in Atlanta that he is “one million percent” certain Cam Newton didn’t take any money. Lawson says if Cecil Newton discussed money, his son knew nothing about it.
According to the NCAA, “the solicitation of cash or benefits by a prospective student-athlete or another individual on his or her behalf is not allowed under NCAA rules.”
While the alleged solicitation casts doubt on Cam Newton’s eligibility to play at Auburn, the Heisman Trophy leader is expected to play for the Tigers against Alabama next week, in the SEC Championship and perhaps in the BCS National Championship Game.
You have to wonder how much of a gamble Auburn is taking by playing Cam Newton.