Auburn, Ala. — ESPN is reporting on its website that Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his father each had a phone conversation with a Mississippi State recruiter that acknowledged a pay-for-play arrangement for the prized recruit.
One of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him before Cam Newton committed to Auburn that it would take “more than a scholarship” for his son to attend Mississippi State. An unidentified source told ESPN that another recruiter received a phone call from an emotional Cam Newton after he committed to the Tigers, when he said his father selected Auburn for him because “the money was too much.”
The NCAA is reviewing the recruitment of Newton, a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy.
Earlier Tuesday, the Tigers found themselves defending Newton for the second time in five days, this time adamantly sticking up for the Heisman hopeful in the wake of allegations of academic cheating when he was at Florida.
The second-ranked Tigers’ coach, Gene Chizik, dismissed the latest report as “pure garbage” Tuesday in an emotional 4-minute, 25-second rant.
“I’m standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that’s garbage,” Chizik said. The Tigers face rival Georgia on Saturday.
Foxsports.com reported Monday that Newton was caught cheating three times and was to appear for a hearing in front of Florida’s Student Committee facing possible expulsion during the spring semester of 2009.