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Saying he wanted to “get it off my chest” and “clear the record with me,” former Mississippi State quarterback Kenny Rogers opened up about his role in Cameron Newton’s recruitment during an interview aired today by ESPN 103.3-FM in Dallas.
Rogers said during the segment that Cecil Newton told him it would take money for a school to sign his son out of junior college.
Rogers was asked by radio host Ian Fitzsimmons, “Did he ever tell you flat out, ‘This is what it’s going to take for any school to get my son to go sign a letter of intent to go play for them?’”
“Yes, he did,” Rogers replied.
How much, Fitzsimmons asked.
“Anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000,” Rogers said.
To sign a letter of intent?
“Basically to get his son,” Rogers said.
Rogers also described a Nov. 27 meeting at the Hilton Garden Inn in Starkville with him, Cecil Newton and two Mississippi State coaches (who Rogers would not name).
“I really can’t remember how Mr. Newton stated this,” Rogers said, “but however he said it, one of the coaches was like, ‘No, no. I don’t want to hear that,’ as if money was brought up or it’s going to take money to get him. … Mr. Newton pretty much said – he didn’t say these exact words; sometimes I can’t remember – but ‘It’s not going to be free this time.’”
Rogers had been connected to the Newton situation through recent media reports describing him as a person asking for money on Newton's behalf. This was denied by Rogers, who also said he had no knowledge of Auburn's recruitment of Newton.
“I wasn’t involved with anything concerning that – period," Rogers said.
One of Rogers’ reasons for coming forward on radio today, he said, was because of reports saying he was the one seeking payment.
“No, I didn’t,” Rogers said, “and that was another reason I wanted to talk. … It made it look like the Newtons didn’t know anything about anything, but here I am just asking for money. That’s another reason, that’s another thing that had been bothering me.”
Rogers told Fitzsimmons that former MSU player Bill Bell was the go-between with him and another former teammate, John Bond.
“(Cecil Newton) was like, ‘What do you think is going to happen? Do you think it’s going to go through?’” Rogers recounted. “I was like, ‘I can’t answer that. I’ll just call Bill Bell.’ So I called Bill. Bill didn’t answer, and I left Bill a message saying, ‘Bill, I’m with Mr. Newton. He just wants to know if the deal is going to go through.’ … I told Bill. Bill supposedly told John. So that’s how that was. … If somebody is asking for that kind of money, I don’t have it. So I just called somebody that either knew somebody that had it … So I just called somebody that I was close to to see if he knew of anybody or let him know about it so he could tell somebody else what’s going on.”
Rogers said he never talked about the situation directly with Cameron Newton. Rogers’ attorney also said the NCAA has contacted them regarding the matter, though the FBI has not.
Mississippi State said in a statement Wednesday saying the school “acknowledges that it contacted the Southeastern Conference office in January of 2010 regarding an issue relating to its recruitment of Cam Newton” and that “Once the NCAA enforcement staff became involved, Mississippi State University cooperated fully with its investigation.”
This post was edited by Gentry Estes on 11/11/2010 at 3:29 PM
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Another interesting part tonight. Bill Bell was contacted and he backed up with kenny roger's said that involved him.
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