Meyer refutes playing role in Newton probe: 'It's ridiculous'
Published: Monday, November 8, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 10:12 a.m.
In the middle of trying to get ready for his biggest game of the season, Florida coach Urban Meyer has had to deal with surprising rumors that he was a catalyst for the NCAA's investigation of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and that he leaked information to media members about other issues the former UF quarterback had when he was in school at Gainesville.
"Obviously, it's a joke," Meyer told The Gainesville Sun on Tuesday morning. "I don't know anything about anything. I heard they've got me meeting with the agent and all that. I never met with anybody. It's ridiculous."
Newton continues to be a major story in college football, as he has quarterbacked Auburn to a 10-0 record and is the top Heisman Trophy candidate. But stories surfaced last week that a man named Kenny Rogers was asking for up to $200,000 of schools to get Newton.
Then the story today is that Newton had three academic cheating allegations against him at UF, forcing him to leave.
Meyer said he was aware of several off-the-field issues with Newton.
"But we had a great relationship right up until the time he left," Meyer said. "Cam and I and his family always had a great relationship. I don't know where this is all coming from. But it didn't come from me. I know nothing about nothing."
A source close to the Newton family told The Sun that Newton's decision to leave Florida was not a forced one, that he had a choice. Meyer reiterated Tuesday that he never asked Newton to leave the football program.
In a statement released later in the day by UF, Meyer said, "“Our entire focus right now is on preparing for our biggest game of the year against South Carolina. For anyone to think that I or anyone on our staff may have leaked information about private student records to the media doesn't know us very well. It's a ridiculous claim and simply not true.”
Foxsports.com is reporting that Newton faced potential expulsion from the university.
Newton was arrested for the theft of a laptop from a Florida student's dorm room in November 2008. The web site reported late Monday night that Newton again violated the university's honor code by putting his name on another student's paper and turning it in.
Newton then turned in a second paper to the instructor, but it was later found to have been purchased off the Internet.
His father, Cecil Newton Sr., declined comment to Foxsports.com.
“I wasn't there,” the elder Newton said. “I cannot confirm or deny. At a time like this, I'm taking a defensive posture.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.