AUBURN, Ala. -- The attorney representing Cam Newton’s family spoke publicly for the first time Thursday, saying the quarterback did not ask for or take any money during his recruitment last year and has cooperated fully with the NCAA’s investigation into the matter.
George Lawson, an Atlanta-based attorney, told Mark Winne of WSB-TV that he is “a million percent confident” Cam Newton didn’t take any money.
He said Cam, who signed with Auburn last December, “knew nothing about any money discussions, if any discussions were had” with Mississippi State.
A series of reports by ESPN.com have said Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, solicited a six-figure payment from Mississippi State during his son’s recruitment out of Blinn College last year. Three former Bulldogs -- John Bond, Bill Bell and Kenny Rogers -- have said talks about a pay-for-play plan occurred.
Bell, who runs a roofing company in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla., said he told the NCAA last week he received a text message from Rogers outlining a three-step payment plan that totaled $180,000. He is trying to retrieve the text message from a water-damaged phone.
Rogers’ lawyer, Doug Zeit, released a statement Thursday confirming his client sent the text message at Cecil Newton’s urging.
“We are unequivocally saying that the entire thing was solicited by Cecil Newton and, unfortunately, (Rogers) stupidly became a rubber hose and passed it along,” Zeit told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “That’s what (Rogers) did. He never asked for money, other than what Cecil Newton wanted and how he wanted it.”
Lawson was not asked whether Cecil Newton solicited money from Mississippi State. Calls to Lawson were not returned Thursday.
Solicitation of extra benefits by a recruit or family member is a violation of NCAA rules. It could result in loss of eligibility, depending on the benefits sought and player’s responsibility in the matter.
Auburn has not been accused of wrongdoing and has not received an NCAA Letter of Inquiry.
Bell, who said Cecil never asked him for money, said he shared with the NCAA voice mails of conversations with Rogers, who works for a company that helps match college prospects with schools and has been described as a “recruiter” for an NFL agent.
Lawson said Cam, his father and mother, Jackie, have participated in the NCAA investigation and will continue to cooperate.
He said the Newton family has had no influx of cash.
“Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” Lawson said. “They have a very modest lifestyle.”
Lawson said reports about Newton’s academic misconduct at Florida are false.
“Cam Newton’s grades and academic standing at the University of Florida are protected matters,” he said. “I have some understanding to what the University of Florida’s address is, and, at some point in time, they’ll hear from me.”
In other news, multiple unnamed sources told the Birmingham News that wiretaps that are part of a federal investigation into Victoryland owner Milton McGregor for vote-buying in the Alabama legislature contain no connection to Newton’s recruitment to Auburn.
TMZ.com reported Wednesday that FBI agents looking into the Newton matter asked about McGregor, an Auburn booster who donated $1 million to the construction of the Auburn Arena two years ago.
McGregor’s attorney Joe Espy refuted the report Wednesday night, saying McGregor has “never been asked to provide money for any recruitment or compensation of any current or prospective student-athlete, including Cam Newton.”