Well, well, it seems like Kenny Rogers was not a liar with no credibility whatsoever after all. Earlier today, of course, Rogers alleged that he contacted Bill Bell regarding a pay-for-play scheme designed to procure the signature of Cam Newton, and guess what we have here? Per some late breaking news from ESPN:
[Bill] Bell, when contacted Thursday night by ESPN.com, confirmed Cecil Newton did ask for money in exchange for Cam Newton signing with Mississippi State. Bell said he was contacted by the NCAA about the matter and spoke to an investigator earlier this week.
"That's all I want to say about it at this point," Bell said.
How about that?
Now, in addition to the two Mississippi State coaches claiming Cecil Newton sought cash for his son's signature, we also have Kenny Rogers and John Bond saying the same thing -- and those two don't exactly get along, if you follow the news -- and now you can add Bill Bell to the list after he publicly went on the record saying that Cecil Newton himself directly asked him for money in order to get Cam Newton to sign with Mississippi State. Makes you wonder how much longer this list will get before the jig is up?
The question now becomes whether or not Bell recorded the conversations with Newton, and if so has he turned those tapes over to the NCAA? Bell himself has said little else more than necessary to confirm that Cecil Newton indeed did ask him for money, but with all of the discussion that has been generated regarding audio recordings, you have to imagine there are likely some tapes floating around out there somewhere and that if they do exist that Bell is most likely the one in possession of them. Furthermore, given that he has confirmed that he has told the NCAA that Newton asked him directly for money, if he has those tapes it seems relatively elementary that at some point he will turn over those recordings he has to the NCAA (if he has not already).
I'll close with some speculation, specifically noting that if Bell recorded some, or even any, of his conversations with Cecil Newton, it's likely game over for Cam Newton. I imagine the NCAA would likely want to have some sort of audio analysis conducted to assure them that the recordings were authentic and that the voice on those recordings indeed was the voice of Cecil Newton, and I suppose that is a time-consuming process that could take a few days to conduct. Having established that, though, it seems obvious to me that all the spin in the world won't get Auburn and Cam Newton out of this one if Bell produces some legitimate recordings of these conversations.
Final thought: I have had the suspicious feeling all along that, if all these allegations were indeed true, neither Cecil Newton or Cam Newton were bright enough to pull off a flawless pay-for-play scheme, and with each passing revelation that comes to light that initial instinct seems all the more vindicated. Being quite frank, by all accounts they tried to do it and they botched it very, very badly.