AUBURN AL - OCTOBER 16: Quarterback Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers celebrates with the crowd after the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 16 2010 in Auburn Alabama. The Tigers beat the Razorbacks 65-43. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
This one just keeps getting better with each passing moment. Hours after Gene Chizik's emotional defense of Cam Newton and his dismissal of many allegations as "garbage" with AD Jay Jacobs talking about character assassination, we get the latest report from Joe Schad of ESPN.com:
Two sources who recruit for Mississippi State told school compliance officials in January that quarterback Cam Newton and his father each admitted in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be about money, ESPN's Joe Schad reports. The sources said that prior to Newton's commitment to Auburn, Cecil Newton said it would take "more than a scholarship" to get his son to that school and that a third party could provide specifics. Newton was told the school would not meet such a request, according to the sources, who say the information was relayed to SEC officials. An emotional Cam Newton is said to have later called another Mississippi State recruiter to express regret over changing his commitment to the school but that his father chose Auburn because "the money was too much."
Also, Schad said the following on SportsCenter, as confirmed by Evan Woodberry of the Auburn Beat on Twitter:
ESPN's Joe Schad: "Auburn is risking everything. They know that...What can Auburn do other than support (Cam Newton)?"
ESPN's Joe Schad: NCAA only recently "stepped on the gas pedal" in this case.
I guess this one pretty much explains itself. If the allegations from those two sources can even be remotely verified then Newton is done as a college football player, Auburn will be forced to vacate every game this season, they'll probably be hammered by the NCAA in due time, and LaMichael James wins the Heisman.
Now, admittedly, we know nothing regarding evidence here. Maybe they have nothing to support these allegations. However, if they do have some evidence to support their claims -- such as taped phone calls -- and this is the end of the collegiate road for Cam Newton. At the very least, the allegations we have here are very different than what we've had in the previous few days. The previous allegations alleged that a third party tried to solicit funds on behalf of Newton and his family, whereas this directly alleges that (1) Newton and his father had full knowledge of the pay-for-play scheme, (2) they actively used an intermediary to channel payments, and (3) Newton signed with Auburn because he was paid to do so.
We'll see in time if those claims can be substantiated, but it's obvious now that that if they can be it's over for Newton and Auburn.
Update: Fox Sports tracked down Cecil Newton and spoke with him by phone tonight, and he had the following to say about the latest allegations:
"I’m not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place."
"[I know] nothing about this whole thing.”
"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.”
"[The recent allegations are] a witch hunt."
"They can continue doing whatever they’re doing, sir. I’m just in support of my son.”
Based on those responses, I imagine it is safe to assume that the Newton family has retained the services of a lawyer.