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Danny Sheridan, USA Today’s odds handicapper, Tweeted the following message today: “I’ve been told the name of the person the NCAA feels allegedly paid Cecil Newton & where witness is. more when on Finebaum this week.” This tweet follows up on the allegation Sheridan made at SEC Media Days last month. Appearing on Paul Finebaum’s radio show from the Wynfrey Hotel lobby, Sheridan said that the NCAA believed it had identified a bagman in the Cam Newton case and had a witness who could verify the payoff. At the time Sheridan said it was 50/50 whether the witness would cooperate with the NCAA.
The allegation spread like wildfire and led to Auburn coach Gene Chizik being asked about the bagman at SEC media days.
Q. Danny Sheridan said on a radio show here in Alabama yesterday he had sources at the NCAA that said they think they found a third-party bagman that helped in recruiting Cam Newton to Auburn and tied that in with Auburn. I was wondering about your response to his statements.
COACH CHIZIK: I’ll make this real clear. The NCAA on more than one occasion has said that Auburn has done nothing wrong in the recruitment of Cam Newton. Nothing’s changed.
Again, can’t control everybody’s microphone. Can’t control everybody’s opinion. Don’t try to. But, again, I’ll say as I’ve said it maybe the fifth time today. I feel really good when my head hits the pillow tonight.
Does Danny Sheridan have the goods on Auburn? Will he reveal the name of the individual who paid off Cam Newton’s family on Paul Finebaum’s radio show this week? Will the alleged payor then sue the hell out of Finebaum, Sheridan, and Citadel Communications? Or is the alleged payor guilty as hell, in which case he won’t have the guts to sue anyone, since, as y’all well know, truth is a defense to any allegation of defamation. The NCAA can’t depose you, but as soon as you file a defamation lawsuit you go under oath and can be deposed like crazy by your opponent.
Paying off a player isn’t a crime that can get you sent to jail, but lying under oath is.
“Give me two-three weeks, I’ll have you a name,” Sheridan said at the end of July on Finebaum’s show, “whether I’ll say it on the air, I don’t know.”
Since his initial allegation, Sheridan has not backed down in the face of public criticism.
In fact, Sheridan recently taunted his detractors on Finebaum: “If there’s anybody out there in the press who feels bad because I have better sources than them, I’m sorry. But I’ll say this, if you doubt that what I’m saying is not 100% accurate put up some seven-figure money, I’ll be glad to match it. I’ll even lay you odds. And I say I can pass as many polygraph tests as you want to give me or truth serum or whatever.”
So far no media member has put up the seven figures.
It’s just another episode in the zany insanity that has come to characterize Finebaum’s wildly entertaining show. It also adds fuel to the raging inferno that is the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. If you doubted the continuing conflagration, all I’d need to show you is the tips rolling in to OKTC on a daily basis from that state.
At SEC Media Days Sheridan, an Alabama alum, and I were on Finebaum’s show together and debated whether Alabama would rather win another national title or see Auburn lose its national title. Callers were split, but Sheridan disagreed with me and focused on the negativity that would come if an SEC school went on probation. Appearing on Finebaum, Sheridan shot down allegations that he was biased in favor of Alabama and that was why he was reporting this news against Auburn: “I have a better relationship with the Auburn coaching staff than I do with the Alabama coaching staff,” Sheridan said. “I’m on record as saying that Chizik and his staff was an excellent hire…He happens to be a very good coach…we’re not enemies.”
In the meantime Sheridan, who looks a bit like what Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart might have looked like if he’d lived in the 20th century and grown up to be a Vegas handicapper instead of a Virginia cavalry general, is adamant that Auburn’s national title is in danger of being stripped. And that the NCAA findings are going to be ominous indeed.
Like y’all, I ‘ll be listening when he rolls on to the Finebaum show this week. I bet lots of folks in the Auburn athletic department will as well.
Danny Sheridan will be on Paul Finebaum’s show at 2 central this Wednesday to discuss the latest in Cecil Newton being paid.