Standout Auburn quarterback and Heisman hopeful Cam Newton has been embroiled in scandal regarding whether he and his family orchestrated a “pay-to-play” plan, thus leading Newton to receive improper benefits under NCAA rules. Most SEC teams were recruiting Newton — who left Florida after one year following an alleged cheating incident — including the Tennessee Volunteers, at the time led by now-USC coach Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin came on record Wednesday saying that the Newton family never brought up a “pay-to-play” plan with him, and that he never offered Newton a scholarship because he “didn’t fit the system.”
Kiffin also said that he “doesn’t think there are any facts to [reported news] until someone shows proof. [The accusations] a perfect example.”
ESPN and The New York Times first broke news of Newton’s controversy last week when former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond said that agent Kenny Rogers sought money in order to guide Newton to Mississippi State. Rogers said on Thursday to ESPN Radio that Newton’s father, Cecil, was the one who wanted money and requested $100,000 to $180,000.
Newton has passed for 1,890 yards and 19 touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,146 yards and 15 touchdowns, making him the favorite to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy. However, after the Reggie Bush scandal, the Heisman Committee might be hesitant to hand the award over to another player who is in the middle of a very messy situation.