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ESPN: Newtons talked on phone about selling services

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his father, Cecil Newton, admitted in separate phone conversations to a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year, ESPN reported Tuesday.

Mississippi State compliance officials relayed the conversations to Southeastern Conference compliance officials in January, according to ESPN.

Newton, who began his college career at Florida in 2007, transferred to Auburn after last season from Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas. Before Newton made his commitment, one recruiter said Cecil Newton told him it would take "more than a scholarship" to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request ESPN said the school would not meet.

After Newton picked Auburn, he phoned another recruiter to express regret about turning down Mississippi State, saying his father had chosen Auburn for him because "the money was too much," ESPN reported.

Newton and his father have been under fire since former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond said a man with ties to an NFL agent had been shopping Newton's services to colleges for a "specified payment."

Neither Cam nor Cecil Newton commented on the latest report.

COLORADO SEARCH: Colorado will pay coach Dan Hawkins around $2 million to go away. His replacement might not get that much to fix the Buffaloes' broken football program.

Athletic director Mike Bohn said the school's financial constraints means he won't be able to pursue just anyone to be the next coach because the higher profile names earn about $4 million annually, way out of Colorado's price range.

"It's really not a level playing field of the haves in the Big 12 or the haves in the Pac-12," Bohn said Tuesday at a news conference to announce Hawkins' dismissal. "We're not a $4 million institution. Would I like to believe we could get there some day? Sure.

"If we can emerge from not being dead last in the Pac-12 Conference as far as number of donors and amount of money raised; that's a challenge for us."

Bohn fired Hawkins three days after the biggest meltdown in school history put a cap on his five failed seasons. Longtime assistant Brian Cabral will serve as interim coach for the final three games, beginning Saturday against Iowa State.

RUTGERS PLAYER is MOVED: Paralyzed Rutgers player Eric LeGrand was transferred to a rehabilitation center after being hospitalized with a high fever. The defensive tackle, 20, was sent back to Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange on Monday, the university said.

KANSAS: Coach Turner Gill said Quinn Mecham, who helped engineer a 35-point comeback win over Colorado on Saturday, is his new starting quarterback.

MISSISSIPPI: Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who suffered a concussion last weekend, practiced some but hasn't been cleared for contact. The other option is sophomore Nathan Stanley.

ESPN: Newtons talked on phone about selling services 11/09/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 12:05am]

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