MSU says it reported Newton issues

Mississippi State reported issues with the recruitment of Cam Newton to the SEC back in January, the school confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

Newton — who chose Auburn over Mississippi State after a much-hyped recruiting battle and is now a leading Heisman Trophy candidate — has been under scrutiny since reports surfaced last week that called his recruitment into question.

One of those reports, from, said that a man named Kenny Rogers claimed to represent Newton and allegedly sought $180,000 for him to attend Mississippi State. Rogers allegedly told former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond that other schools had already offered $200,000.

The SEC requested specific information from Mississippi State after the notification, the statement said, but the school didn’t provide that information until July because it was "dealing with ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving non-football matters in the winter and spring of 2010."

This likely refers at least in part to men’s basketball player Renardo Sidney, who in March was declared ineligible for the rest of his freshman season and the first nine games of his sophomore season after he was found to have accepted improper benefits to play at Mississippi State.

Auburn has repeatedly said that it has looked into the recruitment of Newton and that he is eligible to play. Head coach Gene Chizik said Wednesday that Newton would start in Saturday’s game against Georgia.

The story took another turn Monday, when’s Thayer Evans reported that Newton had three different instances of academic cheating while attending the University of Florida and faced potential expulsion from the university, according to a source.

Scrutiny of Newton ramped up Tuesday night, when ESPN reported the Tigers leader and his father — Cecil Newton Sr. — said in separate phone conversations that schools recruiting the quarterback would have to come up with money beyond a scholarship to secure his services, according to “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State." The report also was the first to mention that Mississippi State had notified the SEC about possible issues.