Report: Cam Newton cheated at Florida

Updated: November 10, 2010, 2:36 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was facing possible expulsion from the University of Florida for academic cheating when he transferred to junior college in the spring of 2009, FoxSports.com reported Monday.

Newton, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, is said to have been caught cheating three times, including putting his name on someone else's paper without that student's knowledge.

Newton attended Florida in 2007 and 2008 before transferring to Blinn College, a junior college in Texas.

Newton decided to leave Florida following a November 2008 arrest after he bought a stolen computer. The charges were dropped last December when he completed a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders.

According to FoxSports.com, Newton again violated the university's honor code by putting his name on another student's paper and turning it in. Newton was caught after the instructor asked the real author of the paper why he had not turned in his work.

Newton turned in a second paper to the instructor, but that paper was later found to have been purchased off the Internet, according to FoxSports.com. He was to appear for a hearing in front of Florida's Student Conduct Committee during the spring semester of 2009 but instead transferred to Blinn College.

Cecil Newton, Cam's father, told FoxSports.com, "I wasn't there. I cannot confirm or deny. At a time like this, I'm taking a defensive posture."

The cheating report comes after ESPN.com reported last week that a man claiming to represent Cam Newton during the quarterback's recruitment out of Blinn College last year allegedly sought payments in the range of $200,000 to secure Newton's signature on a national letter of intent. Newton's father and Auburn have denied any wrongdoing in the quarterback's recruitment.

The NCAA is reviewing allegations that a man tried to secure payment from Mississippi State during Newton's recruitment.

After throwing for a career-high 317 yards and four touchdowns against Chattanooga on Saturday, Newton again professed his innocence.

"I haven't done anything wrong," Newton said. "I'm an Auburn athlete, and I'm still playing for Auburn. I love Auburn, and that's all I've got to say."

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Friday that Auburn has had "no contact whatsoever" with the man allegedly involved.

ESPN.com reported Thursday that a teammate of John Bond, a Mississippi State quarterback in the 1980s, contacted Bond soon after Newton's official visit to the school during the Ole Miss game in December 2009. He said he was representing Newton and soliciting a six-figure payment.

Sources told ESPN.com that Bond's former teammate is Kenny Rogers, who played at Mississippi State from 1982 to '85. Bond told ESPN.com that the former teammate told him other schools already had offered $200,000, but because Newton really liked Mississippi State and had a relationship with coach Dan Mullen from their time at Florida, Mississippi State could get him for $180,000.

"He said it would take some cash to get Cam," Bond said. "I called our athletic director, Greg Byrne, and he took it from there. That was pretty much it."

When asked following Saturday's game about the allegations, Newton said, "I wish I could talk about it right now but I can't. That's how it goes. ... I don't think it's right for me to talk about it right now."

Rogers denied having solicited Newton to Mississippi State in an interview with ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas. Rogers has a company called Elite Football Preparation, which holds camps in Alabama, Chicago and Mississippi, and matches football prospects with colleges.

"A school never paid me for a kid and alumni never paid me for a kid. Period. Point blank," Rogers said.

Auburn, in the meantime, has not received a letter of inquiry from the NCAA, the person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press Friday, on condition of anonymity.

The person said Newton's eligibility "has at no point been in jeopardy."

"Let me tell you something. This is a great kid," Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said after Saturday's victory. "I can speak intelligently on that one. This is a great kid. And you can go back and you can talk to elementary coaches, high school, this is a great kid and he's been a great kid at Auburn University every day he's been around me, this staff and his teammates.

"I don't know what's out there and I don't know what hits you're talking about, but I can assure you this: this is a phenomenal young man. Make no mistake about that."

Information from ESPN.com college football reporters Pat Forde, Mark Schlabach and Chris Low and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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