Former football player turned wrestler Bill Goldberg used to ask the pointed question after spearing an opponent and circling the ring following a victory. “Who’s next?”
There must be at least one person at the NCAA wondering the same thing. The dust hasn’t even settled on the Reggie Bush “improper benefits” investigation and now a whole new world of hurt has begun because of a man named Kenny Rogers, who allegedly sought $180,000 to get Auburn quarterback and Heisman Trophy front-runner Cam Newton to commit to Mississippi State when he was coming out of junior college.
The Summary at FOXSports.com
Coach Gene Chizik commented on the matter during his weekly radio show with a simple statement: “Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University.” That’s a nice summary statement to push forth. I hope that it’s true.
While that gets sorted out, there’s a far more disturbing part to the story. There was evidently an established market for Newton, and Rogers offered Mississippi State a discount because Newton “liked MSU Coach Dan Mullen” during their time together at Florida. This information comes from a former MSU player.
Lost in the sticker price and the forthcoming investigation into all aspects of the money trail, including the finances of the church where Newton’s father is Pastor, is that there appears to be a network where pricing for players has been tabulated. The fact that the church had evidently required extensive repairs that have been completed in the past year send a red flare up into the night.
I read the report and immediately summoned the Rickey Roe (Matt Nover) character from “Blue Chips” out of my mental Rolodex. Roe lays out the cost of committing to Coach Pete Bell (Nick Nolte) in a very matter-of-fact way. Now, that’s the direct “move the chains” (get to the next act in the movie) way of presenting it. In this film, you have the shadowy booster played by the late JT Walsh and the network that he refers to that supplies funds to field the football team and then goes after Nover, Little Penny & Shaq. The agents and their underlings are left in the background.
Obviously, it’s all conjecture and speculation at this point in time as to the exact sequence of events involving Newton, Kenny Rogers, Newton’s family and any number of go-betweens and such and where money ultimately did or did not transfer. There’s a lot of gray that needs to be enhanced and brought into clarity.
Either way, forget about the derision of the BCS for a moment. Oh, wait. I can’t. It all comes back to dollars and cents (sense?). In this case, there’s this underground exchange occurring where player values are being bandied about as if it’s the NASDAQ Futures pit. I’d love to see the algorithm pieced together. Where’s the virtual scouting combine conducted?
The NCAA will put on the blinders if and when any ruling needs to be made. Rogers will name names and somebody in the coaching staff will get roped in and Newton ultimately will take the hit (with or without another Heisman inquisition) if there’s anything uncovered.
He’s just a blip on the radar. The machine behind the scenes will move on to the next big thing.
I’m not suggesting that the government gets involved to investigate this, as there are myriad other national topics to address on a larger scale (obviously). But, the governing body needs to cut the charade and stop referring to these situations as anomalies. There’s a much larger systemic issue at play.