By MATTHEW STEVENS
The man who claims he was approached as a middle man by the father of Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton months ago during his recruitment to Mississippi State will be meeting with officials from the Mississippi Secretary of State.
According to a report from The New York Times, the attorney for former Mississippi State football player Kenny Rogers is expected to meet with state government officials during the week of Dec. 7 in Chicago.
“I think they want to know whether they’ve misnamed Kenny or no,” Rogers’ attorney Doug Zeit told the Times. “Everyone wants to keep calling him an agent. The reality is that he is not and never has been.”
Zeit, a lawyer based in Waukegan, Ill., has already confirmed to The Starkville Daily News he met with NCAA investigators but would not say where the meeting took place and who was present.
“The only thing I can say at this time is I met with the NCAA (Tuesday) for a substantial amount of time,” Zeit said.
Attempts by the SDN to reach Zeit for further comment on Thursday was unsuccessful due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
On Nov. 16, the attorney for former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond, Phil Abernethy, confirmed his client was interviewed separately by FBI investigators and state of Mississippi regulators in a statement on Bond’s behalf.
“John Bond has been interviewed by a State regulator and Federal law enforcement," Abernethy said. "He has fully cooperated with both agencies and has provided them all facts known by him. Due to the on-going nature of these matters, he can not comment further about either interview.”
Bond, in a defacto way, created what is now the most complex and potentially damaging story in college football when he admitted to being told by a former teammate that it would cost Mississippi State $180,000 to sign Cameron Newton to a national letter-of-intent. Bond would identify Rogers as the former teammate that contacted him about the pay-for-play situation.
In an ESPN Radio interview, Rogers told Ian Fitzsimmons on ESPN 103.3 radio in Dallas that Cecil Newton, Cameron’s father, told him it would take “anywhere between $100,000 and $180,000″ for his son to play at Mississippi State. Rogers also claimed that he wasn’t the one that informed Bond about the play-for-pay scenario.
In this same radio interview, Rogers stated that a Mississippi State booster named Bill Bell, who was a four-year letterman at State and played with both Rogers and Bond from 1978-1982, as the individual who called Bond about the alleged $180,000 offer for Cameron Newton to sign with Mississippi State.
“Bill Bell is a former teammate that played with us in the 80s, who is the person that called John Bond – not me,” Rogers said in the interview.
Bell is listed as the president of Bel-Mac Roofing in Santa Rosa Beach, Fla.
Bond told The Starkville Daily News via a text message quickly after Rogers’ radio interview that it was Rogers that informed him it would cost money to sign Newton.
“I’m standing by my statement and did what was right for my University….more to come,” Bond texted.
An ESPN.com report on Nov. 17 stated that Bell has met with NCAA investigators and, according to the story, has handed over text messages and voicemails from Rogers that laid out a payment plan designed to bring Newton to Mississippi State. Bell said he told the NCAA that Rogers sent him a text message outlining a payment schedule. Bell said the text included a request for $80,000 the day after Newton signed with Mississippi State, $50,000 30 days after that and another $50,000 30 days later.
Mississippi State officials had no comment on Bell’s remarks to ESPN.com and have maintained they have cooperated with both the SEC and NCAA throughout the process since reporting the incident with Bond nearly a year ago.