No Change In Newton's Status for UGA Game

Cameron Newton

Auburn is preparing for a Saturday afternoon football game vs. its oldest rival, the Georgia Bulldogs.

Auburn, Ala.--Whether an Atlanta television station's Friday night report will have any impact on Auburn's decision on whether to play Cameron Newton in Saturday's Georgia game is unknown as the Tigers and Bulldogs prepare for the renewal of the SEC's oldest football rivalry. However, Auburn officials have not given any indication there is a reason not to play Newton.

Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CST at Jordan-Hare Stadium where 10-0 Auburn will look to clinch a berth in the SEC Championship Game.

WSB television's Mark Winne reported that an unnamed source close to Cecil Newton, Cameron Newton's father, had conversations with a former Mississippi State football player about the possibility of receiving money if the quarterback signed with the Bulldogs. However, in Winne's report the source claimed that Cecil Newton did not receive any money for his son's recruitment.

The report also stated that neither Cameron Newton nor his mother had any knowledge of conversations about money with Mississippi State nor did anyone at Auburn University when the quarterback signed with the Tigers in January out of Blinn College in Texas.

Newton, who began his college career at Florida, chose Auburn over Mississippi State and Oklahoma after leading Blinn to the junior college national title in 2009.

Rogers said that after his meetings with Cecil Newton on the weekend of Cam Newton's official visit to Mississippi State on Nov. 27th, he did not have any additional contact with Newton, who lives in the Atlanta area.

Meanwhile, on Friday in Birmingham, SEC commissioner Mike Slive said that he hoped people would reserve judgement on Newton in fairness to the quarterback until the facts in the case are known. The commissioner noted that reports on the subject contain inconsistencies that need to be sorted out.

Slive said it is Auburn's call on whether or not to play Newton on Saturday. Auburn officials made it clear on Tuesday they have no reason to hold Newton out of games and they have made no comments to contradict that stance.

Newton boarded one of two team buses on Friday evening heading for the team's hotel in Montgomery as he was cheered by Auburn fans.

Auburn conducted its own investigation into Newton's status last summer before the first game and determined the quarterback was eligible to play for the Tigers.

Slive also was critical of Mississippi State in how it handled reporting information about Newton's recruitment to the SEC office.

Mississippi State athletic director issues a statement on Friday night about the situation that states: "During the recruitment of a football prospective student-athlete, Mississippi State was approached with an offer to provide an extra benefit. The offer was refused."

"MSU alerted the Southeastern Conference about the offer. MSU did not have any specific incriminating information about any other school, and thus could not provide any."

"As Commissioner Slive mentioned today, the SEC is not an investigative body. MSU has cooperated fully and completely with the NCAA from the time it began asking for our assistance, and looks forward to providing any and all help in this ongoing investigation."

Auburn, which is 6-0 in the conference, would win the SEC West with a victory on Saturday vs. a Georgia team that has won the past four games in the series. The Bulldogs, who started 1-4 this season, have bounced back and will bring a 5-5 record into the game.

Newton won a competitive battle for the starting job over redshirt sophomore Barrett Trotter, who has played in five games this season. Trotter has completed 5-8 passes for 48 yards and has run the ball three times for 31 yards and one touchdown.

Senior quarterback Neil Caudle has completed his only pass for 42 yards and has run the ball two times for 22 yards.

Newton has completed 123-185 passes for 1,890 yards with 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. He leads the SEC in rushing with his average of 114.6 yards per game and he has 15 rushing touchdowns.

With another strong performance on Saturday the quarterback could enhance his status as a leading candidate to win the Heisman Trophy.

Three injured Tigers are expected to return to action for the UGA game. That trio includes starting linebacker Daren Bates, starting tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen and reserve cornerback T'Sharvan Bell.

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