AUBURN, Ala. — Kenny Rogers, the former Mississippi State player who allegedly sought money from his alma mater to deliver quarterback Cam Newton's services last year, said on a radio show Thursday that it was not him, but the quarterback's father, Cecil, who put a price tag on his son.
Rogers said Cecil told him it would take "anywhere from $100,000 to $180,000" to get the quarterback to sign with Mississippi State.
Rogers said he relayed the request to Bill Bell, a Mississippi State booster. Bell confirmed Rogers' account to ESPN.com on Thursday, saying he spoke to an NCAA investigator about the matter earlier this week.
Newton later signed with Auburn, which said this week he remains eligible to play. He started his career with Florida. He left there after his second season, in 2008, and enrolled in Blinn (Texas) junior college.
Rogers said when he and Cecil Newton met with two Mississippi State coaches at a hotel in Starkville, Miss., on Nov. 27, one coach said, "No, no, I don't want to hear that," when the elder Newton asked about the payment for his son to attend Mississippi State.
Rogers said he did not have any involvement with Auburn and he had "no idea" if similar requests were made of it or if anyone acted on them. Auburn, a national title contender as one of four unbeaten teams, declined comment. Cecil Newton could not be reached.
The Newton saga began last week when ESPN.com reported that former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond said a former teammate claiming to represent the Newton family's interests told him it would take $180,000 for the QB to sign with the Bulldogs. ESPN identified that person at Rogers.
Cecil Newton denied any wrongdoing last week, saying if Rogers requested money, he did it on his own.
On Thursday, Rogers said he didn't ask for money. He said Cecil Newton requested the payment and he relayed the request to Mississippi State boosters. Last week, on the same radio show, he said he had no idea how his name got involved in the accusations.
"I'm trying to clear the record with me," he said Thursday with a lawyer by his side.
The news comes on the heels of Wednesday's ESPN.com report that said Newton and his father spoke to "two sources who recruit for Mississippi State" about a play-for-play plan during separate phone calls last year.
According to the report, Cecil told one of the recruiters it would take "more than a scholarship" to bring his son to Mississippi State.
Another ESPN.com source said a recruiter claimed Newton told him he wanted to play for the Bulldogs but his father had chosen Auburn because "the money was too much."
On Wednesday, Mississippi State released a statement saying it contacted the SEC offices in January regarding an issue with Newton's recruitment. Because of what Mississippi State termed "ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving nonfootball matters" throughout the winter and spring, the SEC did not interview school officials until July.
SEC spokesman Charles Bloom told the Associated Press that there was no mention of the phone conversations from Wednesday night's ESPN.com article in either of the Mississippi State reports to the league.
The conference relayed the information it obtained to Auburn, which conducted its investigation and determined no wrongdoing on its part. The school reportedly has not received an NCAA letter of inquiry.
Rogers works for Elite Football Preparation, a business that connects college athletes with schools. He has said he specializes with junior college transfers.
Rogers has separately come under scrutiny from the NFL Players Association and the NCAA. The NFLPA last week issued a disciplinary complaint against contract adviser Ian Greengross, and spokesman George Atallah said Friday that the union would be looking into Rogers' involvement with players as well. The NFLPA identified Rogers as a recruiter for Greengross.
UConn edges Pitt: Jordan Todman ran for 222 yards, including 4 on a late fourth and 1 from his own 19, to lift host Connecticut past Pittsburgh 30-28. The Panthers (5-4, 3-1) failed to become bowl-eligible but remained a half-game ahead of Syracuse in the Big East and one game ahead of USF, UConn (5-4, 2-2) and Louisville. With UConn down 21-20 in the fourth, Todman's 31-yard run helped set up Dave Teggart's 25-yard field goal. Ray Graham fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Two plays later, Zach Frazer found Isiah Moore from 14 yards for the touchdown.
Buckeyes QB to return: Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor said he has no intentions of declaring for the NFL draft. "I'm a Buckeye until I break all the records," the junior said. "I feel like I want to get my degree and finish off strong and maybe have a better season next year with no losses. I love being here. I just want to gain more knowledge as a human being before I leave."
WAC: The conference officially announced the additions of Texas-San Antonio and Texas State for all sports and Denver for all sports except football. All will join for the fall 2012 seasons. The WAC must replace Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada, who are leaving for the Mountain West, to have eight football teams. Texas-San Antonio, led by former Miami coach Larry Coker, is starting a football program that begins play in 2011. Texas State currently is a I-AA football school. Denver doesn't have a football program.