By Dennis Washington
GLENDALE, AZ (WBRC) - Charles Barkley says Cam Newton is not is the greatest athlete in the history of Auburn University… he is.
In fact, the former Auburn basketball says Newton is only number four on the list, behind Bo Jackson and Frank Thomas.
"He can't in a short amount of time move ahead of us three."
Barkley spoke to FOX6 News late Friday night in Glendale, Arizona, as Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers prepare to take on the Oregon Ducks in the BCS College Football National Championship game on Monday. Barkley did praise Newton for what he has accomplished at Auburn in such a short amount of time.
"If you go back and look at the history of college sports, there's no one that has done more in one year," Barkley said. "No player has had a greater impact in a shorter amount of time."
Barkley said without Cam Newton, the team would not be playing for a national title.
"Without Cam? I'm not sure they are a top 20 team."
Barkley also denied reports he gave Newton this week tickets to the Lakers-Suns game Wednesday. Some had speculated the gift, if it occurred, would have been an NCAA rules violation.
My statement to them was, 'kiss my ass. "I had never met Cam Newton, but if Cam Bewton had wanted tickets to the game, I would have gotten him tickets to the game. if Cam Newton had wanted Kobe Bryant stickers or Kobe's jock strap, I would have gotten it for him."
Barkley said the uproar over the tickets is a sign the college football system is broken.
"These kids should get some kind of compensation, because the way the system is structured now is not fair. The notion he can't get any money is absurd to me. they've got to fix that problem."
Barkley also had a message for Cam Newton's dad, who is under investigation by the NCAA for soliciting money from Mississippi State University to get his son to play there.
"I want to tell Cam Newton's dad: If he only asked for $180,000, he's a bad businessman, because Cam Newton is underpaid."
Barkley said he had visited with Auburn head coach Gene Chizik several times this week, telling him how proud he was of his accomplishments in just two years since being hired. Barkley admitted, though, Chizik should not have been hired because of his 5-19 record as head coach at Iowa State.
"I'm not sure he should have gotten the job, but enough said. Truth of the matter is he got the job and he's done a fantastic job."
Barkley believes Auburn can beat Oregon if they can control Oregon's offense.
"The key to the game for Auburn is to keep it low-scoring, and when I say low-scoring, I mean keep it around 30. Cam Newton is a swiss-army knife, but Oregon has a bunch of knives. If the game is around 30, Auburn can win the game. If the game gets up into the 40s, I think Oregon has a huge advantage because they have more weapons.
Barkley said he is very excited the game is being played in Arizona where he lives.
"They get to see my city, where I live. It is awesome here."
Copyright 2011 WBRC. All rights reserved.