Via gossip site, TMZ, the FBI is getting involved in the scandal involving Cameron Newton’s recruitment at Mississippi State. Yeah, yeah. I know. It’s TMZ. But it appears credible.
TMZ Sports has confirmed ... the FBI has requested a meeting with a key figure in the Cam Newton college football recruiting controversy to find out if, "young men are being shopped to colleges."
The man feds want to speak with is John Bond -- a former Mississippi State football star. Last week, Bond claimed people connected to Heisman front-runner Cam Newton contacted him back in 2009 and said it would take $180,000 to get Cam to commit to MSU.
In a column he says he ended a vacation early for, CBS’ acerbic columnist Greg Doyel asks us to consider the source. The source being John Bond, who Doyel calls a “gossip.” Doyel says he doesn’t have information. He has fourth degree hearsay he picked up in a complicated game of phone tag.
If that’s true, then why is the FBI interested, all of a sudden?
UPDATE: Maybe it’s this news from ESPN.com, stating that sources confirm that both Cam Newton and his father were involved in discussions regarding pay-for-play.
Money quote (literally) from the ESPN.com article:
After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn't be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father Cecil had chosen Auburn for him because "the money was too much."
As far as I can tell after scanning my sources, the ESPN story is the first one to involve Auburn University in allegations of recruiting impropriety. I am still deeply skeptical as to whether anyone on The Plains knew of or was involved in steering Newton to Auburn for cash. However, the Anthony Paige connection that surfaced last Friday is troubling.
What is known is that someone at Mississippi State received word that a scholarship wouldn’t be enough to get Newton to Starkville, and that Mississippi State reported the conversation to the SEC.
What is also known is that Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, was against the ropes in complying with local code enforcement requirements to bring a church facility into compliance. We also know that the controversy and conflict over the church coincide with the time of Newton’s recruitment. We also know that a man by the name of Anthony Paige entered into a contract with Cecil Newton to oversee the construction at the church. We also know that a man by the name of Anthony Paige is also a registered sports agent. Research indicates that these two are not the same men, but suspicion remains.
Pure speculation: Could the Mississippi State connections have learned that Newton was being shopped via Anthony Paige, and were simply passing that information along to recruiters in Starkville?