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Newton: No wrongdoing

Good Knight: UCF running back Ronnie Weaver (35) breaks into the Houston secondary for some of his 45 yards. The Knights, the Conference USA East Division leaders, improved to 5-0 in league play after their 40-33 victory over the Cougars.

Associated Press

Good Knight: UCF running back Ronnie Weaver (35) breaks into the Houston secondary for some of his 45 yards. The Knights, the Conference USA East Division leaders, improved to 5-0 in league play after their 40-33 victory over the Cougars.

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn junior quarterback Cam Newton says he "didn't do anything wrong" amid allegations that a man tried to secure payment from Mississippi State during the Heisman Trophy hopeful's recruitment.

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"I didn't do anything wrong," Newton said Friday, a day before the No. 3 Tigers play Chattanooga. "I'm blessed to be at Auburn right now, and I'm sure the smoke will settle."

Asked about how tough the past two days had been, Newton said: "It's been all right. I've had worse days, but God continues to bless me throughout this process, me and my family and most importantly the team."

Auburn's compliance office has reviewed personal and church bank records of Newton's dad, Cecil, as well as phone and e-mail records of the Tigers' football staff, and is confident there was no wrongdoing, the Associated Press reported.

According to the report, the SEC informed Auburn months ago of the allegations reported by Mississippi State. The NCAA is reviewing the recruitment of Newton. Auburn has not received a letter of inquiry.

Newton, who started his career at Florida before leaving after the 2008 season, has accounted for a nation's-best 30 touchdowns and leads the SEC in rushing since transferring from Blinn Junior College in Texas.

Former Mississippi State player John Bond said an ex-teammate was soliciting payment during Newton's recruitment by that school last season. ESPN.com reported the teammate was Kenny Rogers.

"He told me that Cam Newton wanted to play at Mississippi State but that a specified payment would have to be made," Bond said.

Bond says he reported that conversation to then-Mississippi State athletic director Greg Byrne. Byrne, who is now at Arizona, declined to comment.

Rogers has a company called Elite Football Preparation, which holds camps in Alabama, Chicago and Mississippi, and matches prospects with colleges. In an interview with an ESPN radio affiliate in Dallas late Friday, Rogers denied he had been paid for players.

"Heck no. I've never done that," Rogers said. "A school has never paid me for a kid. An alumni has never paid me for a kid. Period. Point blank."

Rogers has separately come under scrutiny from the NFL Players Association and the NCAA. The players union has identified Rogers as a recruiter for Ian Greengross, a contract adviser who has been issued a disciplinary complaint.

Cecil Newton has denied the allegations against his son and hired a lawyer, whom he declined to identify. He said he is cooperating with the NCAA.

Godfrey keeps UCF unbeaten in C-USA

HOUSTON — Jeff Godfrey threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns, and scored a third touchdown on the ground to lead UCF to a 40-33 win over Houston on Friday night.

The quarterback finished with 105 yards rushing and completed 15 of 19 passes.

Houston (5-4, 4-2 Conference USA) came back from a 17-point deficit to take a 24-23 lead in the third quarter.

The Golden Knights (7-2, 5-0) regained the lead on a 1-yard run by Godfrey with 1:42 remaining in the third. The Knights upped their lead to 13 on Latavius Murray's 2-yard touchdown run and Nick Cattoi's 27-yard field goal halfway through the fourth.

Notre Dame takes blame for lift death

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame president the Rev. John Jenkins sent an e-mail to students, faculty and alumni saying the school is responsible for a student videographer's death.

"Declan Sullivan was entrusted to our care, and we failed to keep him safe," Jenkins wrote. "We at Notre Dame and ultimately I, as President, are responsible."

Sullivan, 20, was killed Oct. 27 when a hydraulic lift he was on fell over while he filmed practice on a windy day.

Jenkins also voiced support for coach Brian Kelly, who has said it was his decision to hold practice outdoors that day.

"Coach Kelly was hired not only because of his football expertise but because we believed his character and values accord with the highest standards of Notre Dame. All we have seen since he came to Notre Dame, and everything we have learned in our investigation to date, have confirmed that belief," he said.

The school and state regulators are investigating.

Miami: Quarterback Jacory Harris, who left last week's game with a concussion, will sit out today against Maryland and may need an additional game off to recover, the Associated Press reported. Harris is likely to miss the Georgia Tech game as well, leaving former fourth-stringer Stephen Morris as the starter. "Jacory's the calmest cat I've ever seen, and I just try to mimic him in all ways possible," said Morris, who threw two interceptions and led three touchdown drives vs. Virginia after Harris left.

Kansas State: A lawsuit by the school seeking to invalidate a buyout agreement with former coach Ron Prince will go to trial after Riley County District Judge David Stutzman rejected requests by both sides for summary judgment. Prince was fired in November 2008, three months after signing a five-year contract extension. Kansas State filed suit to void an agreement that called for Prince to be paid $3.2 million in deferred compensation between 2015 and 2020. The university argues the deal was made in secret between Prince and then-athletic director Bob Krause and without the knowledge of other Kansas State officers.

Texas: ESPN said it is pursuing a deal with the Longhorns to distribute the school's proposed Longhorn Network on cable TV. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said things are in the "discussions" phase and would not comment on the worth of such a deal.

Pac-10: Utah will visit Southern Cal in the first conference game in the new Pac-12 Conference next season. The league released its first football schedule that includes the additions of Colorado and Utah. The season ends Dec. 3 with a title game.

Newton: No wrongdoing 11/06/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 6, 2010 1:21am]
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