An attorney for Kenny Rogers said Thursday his client knows he made “a stupid decision” when he sent a fellow Mississippi State booster a text of Cecil Newton’s payment plan to secure his son’s commitment to the Bulldogs.
“I’m not even sure Kenny completely understands why he did it,” Doug Zeit told The Associated Press. “The best I can tell you is Cecil Newton made a few calls insisting that he do it, so Kenny went ahead and sent the text message.”
Zeit confirmed Rogers sent the text to Bill Bell requesting $80,000 the day after Cam Newton signed with MSU, $50,000 30 days later and another $50,000 30 days after that.
Zeit says no money ever changed hands.
“I can’t tell you what Cecil Newton was thinking,” Zeit said. “What I do know is he told Kenny Rogers that it would take $180,000 to sign his son, and he told him, ‘This is how I want it done.”’
Cam Newton eventually signed with Auburn, and the Heisman Trophy candidate has the second-ranked Tigers in contention for the national championship.
The Newtons’ attorney, George Lawson, told WSB-TV of Atlanta Thursday that he is “one million percent” certain Cam Newton did not take any money. Lawson says if Cecil Newton discussed money, his son “knew nothing” about it.
Maryland AD: Friedgen to return
College Park, Md. — Maryland’s athletic director says Ralph Friedgen will return to coach the Terrapins in 2011.
Kevin Anderson made the announcement Thursday, which was based on Maryland’s turnaround this year. After going 2-10 last season, the Terps are 7-3 and still in contention for the Atlantic Coast Conference title game.
MSU gives Izzo a raise
Detroit — Tom Izzo vowed he would be a “lifer” at Michigan State after turning down a chance last summer to coach in the NBA.
Michigan State just made life a lot more comfortable for Izzo.
Izzo’s newly amended contract gives him a $500,000 raise — increasing his annual compensation to $3.49 million — and use of a private plane for up to 25 hours each year for personal use. It comes just a few months after Cleveland tried to lure him to coach in the NBA.
No tear for Gonzaga’s Harris
Spokane, Wash. — Gonzaga forward Elias Harris does not have a torn right Achilles’ tendon and could play when the No. 11 Bulldogs face No. 3 Kansas State next week.
Expanded playoffs appear inevitable
Orlando, Fla. — Commissioner Bud Selig’s plan to expand baseball’s playoffs to 10 teams seemed inevitable after little to no opposition emerged during meetings this week with owners and general managers.
Because baseball’s labor contract runs to December 2011, the extra round of playoffs is not likely to start until 2012.
Twins reward Gardenhire
Minneapolis — Minnesota Twins general manager Bill Smith gave Ron Gardenhire a two-year extension through the 2013 season Thursday, a day after he was picked as the American League Manager of the Year.
Goodell proud of Vick
Philadelphia — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Michael Vick is doing all the right things and he’s proud of the way the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback has turned his life around after serving time in prison for his role in a dogfighting ring.
Speaking to the New York Daily News on a train ride to Philadelphia, Goodell said Thursday the 30-year-old Vick is doing a terrific job on and off the field. Goodell says society needs more success stories and he’s hoping Vick will be one, a person who made a tragic error and overcomes it.
Eagles going even greener
Philadelphia — The Philadelphia Eagles are taking their gridiron off the grid.
The team said Thursday that it will add wind turbines, solar panels and a cogeneration plant at Lincoln Financial Field over the next year, a combination that will make the stadium self-sufficient and let the Eagles sell some power back to the electric grid.
Texans’ Schaub expected to start
Houston — Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub is back with the team after he was hospitalized with an injury to the bursa sac in his right knee. Schaub practiced on Thursday, and coach Gary Kubiak expects his No. 1 quarterback to start Sunday.