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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cam Newton cleared, but questions still abound

In a bit of a surprise, the NCAA has announced a finding in the Cam Newton case: the Auburn quarterback is eligible to play, though some evidence of a pay-for-play scheme was found.

According to a release from the NCAA, it concluded on Monday that “a violation of amateurism rules occurred, therefore Auburn University declared the student-athlete ineligible yesterday for violations of NCAA amateurism rules.”

Newton was immediately reinstated by the NCAA without any conditions. Then the NCAA release adds:

“According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.”

Therefore, Cecil Newton’s access to the Auburn program was “limited” according to the NCAA, while Mississippi State disassociated itself from the “involved individual,” presumed to be Kenny Rogers.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in the release that the “conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the involved individual is unacceptable.”

But the NCAA also determined that neither Cam Newton nor Auburn was “aware of this activity.” So presumably, the player and Auburn are in the clear, at least as far as being able to play Newton the rest of the season.

A few immediate reactions:

- By saying that Cam Newton’s father did something wrong, but his son is eligible, this seems to create a giant loophole in recruiting: A family member or coach can solicit payment, but as long as the recruit doesn’t know anything about it (assuming they don’t know anything about it) it doesn’t affect the recruit.

As a few other’s have stated, this opens a Pandora’s Box.

- Is the NCAA investigation actually over, and is Auburn in the clear? That's not quite set out.

- If Auburn ruled Newton ineligible on Monday because a violation had occurred, then the NCAA ruled him eligible, does that means everything’s OK going forward, but the previous wins could be vacated? I’m guessing no, but just to be sure I’ve sent a request for clarification to the SEC.

UPDATE: Charles Bloom of the SEC referred me to the final line in a quote by the NCAA vice president Kevin Lennon. Here's Lennon's quote:

"In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete's eligibility, we must consider the young person's responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement. From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation under NCAA bylaw 14.11.1. Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible."

So basically, until it's proven Newton "was aware" of the pay-for-play scheme, Auburn is in no danger of having wins vacated.

- At least this is some finality for Heisman voters who were desperate for it. I’m one, and as of Wednesday morning I was leaning towards abstaining. Now I’ll give it some thought. But I’ve still got misgivings: The NCAA has now found that Newton's father engaged in a pay-for-play scheme. Does his son not knowing about it pass the smell test? If not, is that still grounds enough for withholding a Heisman vote?

A lot of things to ponder over the weekend.


Muckbeast said...

What an outrage. If the dad was shopping the kid, that should be it for his college eligibility. Period.

A dad tries to shop his kid and nothing happens, but a guy sells HIS OWN PROPERTY and gets a 4 game suspension?

Asinine. :(

Reason #276,788 why the NCAA is hopelessly broken and needs to go away.

Anonymous said...

A.J. should have had his dad sell his jersey

Anonymous said...

A father can shop their kid around for several hundred thousand dollars and receive....a verbal reprimand?

Anonymous said...

so, as I understand it, the NCAA hierarchy is, from least to most offensive:

1. Trying to sell your son to a school for $180K (0 games)
2. Going to a party in Miami hosted and paid for by agents (2 games)
3. Selling a jersey to a random person (4 games).

What the f**k.

NCDawg said...

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! Didn't Cam tell an MSU coach that he had a better deal at Auburn? Doesn't that fail the smell test?

The NCAA has just lost ALL governance, and they will get sued if they ever try to take a hard line on anything other the open-and-shut case in the future.


David Davis said...

This is the most ridiculous thing to happen in a long time. Bias? I think so.

Randy said...

any word on South Carolina and Hotelgate?

OZAM said...

Judging from all the posts on other forums, the NCAA accomplished exactly the opposite of what they were trying to accomplish. By trying to sweep this issue under the carpet and protect their BCS franchise over the next four weeks, they actually opened up a can of national outrage. I love college football but I just do not see how the current plantation system can survive.

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I love college football but this kind of rationalizing by the NCAA reeks. Newton is ineligible for 24 hours? Convenient timing suspending him after the season on a Tuesday. Why couldn't they just have suspended AJ for 10 Thursdays? Heck, we'll even throw in 10 Mondays.What selective enforcement of the rules.NCAA didn't have the guts to ruin a matchup with #1 and #2.Without Cam, Auburn is toast.This is as concocted as a old Don King boxing match.Wonder if Auburn will get all the calls in the Dome?Sorry TCU, maybe WikiLeaks will give us the real story on NCAA one day.

Anonymous said...

Auburn WILL get all the calls at the dome on Saturday. I wonder how much money the SEC sent to the NCAA to make this all go away

Aladawg said...

The budgets for recruiting across the nation just quintupled!

Willb said...

This makes absolutely no sense! If Newton was playing for a school that wasn't going to go to the BCS championship game I wonder if they would of had the same ruling?

From Aj Green, Nick Fairley, too Cam Newton. Even Lamichael James and Chris Rainey.

Nick Fairley went to an agent party and received money from agents.

Lamichael James beats up and chokes his girlfriend.

Chris Rainey threatens to kill his girlfriend.

Cam Newtons family openly tells schools that it is gonna cost them 200k for there son to go to there school. This has now been proven and the NCAA does absolutely nothing! So if Crowells' dad right now goes around openly telling schools his son will play there for 200 thousand dollars nothing will come of it. A precedent has been set. All kids know this now. The NCAA can do nothing about it. Whoever is in charge has to be smart enough to know that they had to do something here or a huge loophole would open.

Then you have the one the NCAA came down the hardest on, Aj Green! Selling a jersey to someone who later turns out to be someone who qualifies as an agent according to the NCAA. Selling yor own property! Aj owns up to all this and repays the money and gets four games! Even if I wasn't a Dawg fan I would see something was wrong with this.

So if Aj goes to an agent party takes money, chokes and beats up his girlfriend and then has his family solicit hundreds of thousands of dollars from a university for his football services he would of been better off then selling his own football jersey?

Anonymous said...

This really hurts to say but I hope Spurrier opens up a big ole f'n can of serious whoopass on the Barn. So bad the refs won't even be able to make up for!
This whole thing just smells of nothing but scandal with so many parties involved including the SEC and NCAA.
Call up Crowell parents and give them a couple hundred thousand but please don't mention it to Isaiah............

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me how I can contact the NCAA folks. I have a couple of bridges I want to sell them.

ChrisDawg said...

Hey anon 5:00 watch where you say things about Crowell. Remember the whole Aj Green thing started from freaking TMZ! I'm sure the NCAA is reading this now.

I guess somebody who works for the NCAA was reading about Lady Gaga or something on TMZ and saw the Aj news thought enough of it to send a bunch of investigators to Athens. Found out the news was crap and didn't want to look bad so they dug deep enough until they found something. I'm sure if you investigate almost any of these kids you will find something similar to what Green did.

what a joke said...

This is borderline unbelievable. The NCAA clearly has set a precedent. You can pimp your son if you want to. Hilarious: we don't have sufficient evidence that the student athlete was involved. Why would there be evidence?? All they have to do is talk about it, IT'S HIS FATHER!!! What do you expect them to do? Write out a blueprint for somebody to find??? The reasons are obvious as to why the student should be ineligible even if it was just his father. It's actually better for the father to not have his son know if this will be the outcome. This is further exploitation of the athlete. "Cam I know you thought u were going to MSU, but that has changed, you're going to Auburn. But why dad? Don't worry about it son, just go to Auburn because I said so. Okay dad, I'll go to Auburn."

Everybody but Auburn and Arkansas said...

Go Cocks!

Anonymous said...

ChrisDawg- I hope they do read it because obviously they haven't had enough time to dig up squat on Cam. And just in case they do read it what would be the difference?
They obviously have set a precedent across the country that it's okay for parents to market their kids for money....shhhh, but please don't let your child know what we are doing.
Like everyone else and their brother have said, why would he choose Auburn over Miss. St. when that is where he really wanted to go. Maybe he didn't take money from the Barn, who knows. Maybe things got fishy at MSU and he steered cleared cause the deal was too much for him to handle...

Anonymous said...

This isn't over yet.
The FBI is involved in the case... The FBI couldn't care less about a kid getting shopped by his dad.
So why are they involved?
Cuz it's tied in to a much larger and more intricate web that involves casinos, banks, TARP funds, and all manner of financial improprieties and shenanigans.
Afer all, this IS Auburn (and the State of Alabama) we're talking about.
Fear not: there are PLENTY of athletes other than just Cam that could cause this entire season to be vacated. I've personally watched an Auburn player "call his shot" on a slot machine, with a wink and a smile.
Give it a year or two.

ChrisDawg said...

Some good stuff from Yahoo Sports

So, it’s no big deal. Bylaw 12.3.3 is nothing.

Wait … what?

Cecil Newton tried to get $180,000 to $200,000 for his son to play football and the NCAA said, hey, no problem?

Now that is one heck of a precedent to set. Hey Pandora’s box, see you on signing day.

“That’s the most amazing thing I’ve heard in over four decades of being around college and high school sports,” said Sonny Vaccaro, the retired sneaker czar, hoops middle man and player confidant who admits he’s been around hundreds of major recruiting battles through the years. He’s a longstanding advocate of player rights and was, on some level, overjoyed that the NCAA was shooting itself in the foot.

“The NCAA just gave cover to every middle man in the country,” Vaccaro said. “The kids never know. In all my years, I’ve never heard of a kid being involved in the negotiation. You think they ask? Of course not. Their mom asks. Their coach asks. Their cousin asks. This is crazy.”

Step back from the specifics of how this case involves the best player on the best team heading into the SEC championship game and likely the BCS title game (which Auburn may reach even with a loss Saturday). If you look at it globally, it’s a head-scratcher.

The NCAA just ruled that as long as the player denies he knew anything about being shopped around – even by someone as close as his own father – then there is no penalty. And let’s not give any credit to the NCAA banning Cecil Newton from associating with Mississippi State (why would he anyway?) and allowing just “limited” association with Auburn, a school they’ll leave in the tail lights one minute after his son’s final game. That’s the biggest non-penalty penalty of all time.

At this point, why wouldn’t the parent of every recruit in America ask about getting paid? What’s the harm, right? Just do it behind your son’s back – or at least pretend. You might as well see what’s out there, even if it’s just for the fun of it.

Anonymous said...

I think the NCAA has just accepted the "community" mentality of current college football. If you are not out carjacking or robbing convience stores you either start a fake church and molest the young initiates or if you are fortunate enough, shop your gifted child star to the highest bidder.

And with an Auburn around they will take the bait as they have always done.

NCAA has messed up here big time because there is a lot more causing this smoke, I dos't believe.

Live from the Liberty Bowl said...

How many parties worked in conjunction to ensure that Auburn's reporting of "Cameron's" ineligibility on Tuesday remained so hush-hush? Unbelievable. And miraculously, this "NCAA reinstatement unit" was able to come a decision within 24 hours. Ineligible and reinstated in 1 DAY...just think about that for a second as you ponder the timeframe and idiocy of AJs situation.

South FL Dawg said...

It's your Heisman vote but.....

Academic plagiarism, possessing stolen property (and throwing it out the window), pay for play....Cam has taken no responsibility for any of it...Is there anything honorable about him?

UGA69Dawg said...

USC and Reggie Bush must be in shock. Both said they had no knowledge of Bush's parents receiving money and yet they got killed. How is it not a worst violation for the parents to try to get money indirectly from a school? The NCAA just lost all credibility with the sporting public. If I'm USC and Bush I'm suing the bastards for liable and slander.

John K said...

The NCAA ruling does nothing to prevent parents from shopping their child around for the most cash. I was expecting the NCAA to come down hard on this case to nip future incidents in the bud.

Worst case scenario, Newton should have been declared ineligible for SECCG and bowl game and Auburn allowed to keep its 12-0 regular season record without penalty.

John K said...

To Live from the Liberty Bowl...

Excellent point, I didn't think of it that way. The fact no one knew Newton was declared ineligible is nothing short of amazing. Over the past month, the media reported on everything from rumor to if Cam or Cecil passed gas.

The 2010 Heisman front runner was declared ineligible and that wasn't newsworthy?

Anonymous said...

It's over.

Alabama and Auburn lawyered up on the NCAA and won.

Georgia bent over to the NCAA and lost.

Been that way for years.

Anonymous said...

Ain,t over yet...

NCAA gets a free play here, like an offside call...

If (hopefully WHEN) the FBI brings their case against the "Powers at Be" in the next year or two, the NCAA will get to go back and declare Newton (and other players) ineligible now that "new evidence has surfaced."

If the FBI holds back (doubtful cuz they're over 2 years into the case), then the NCAA avoids potential lawsuits and egg on their face... win-win.

Let it come.

mad texan said...

The NCAA totally wimped out. Cam Newton should have been suspended and all of Auburn wins vacated. Historically decisions of law are based on precedent and the purpose and intent of the law. The NCAA did neither in this case and what a bag of worms they have opened.

All NCAA officers and committee persons involved in this decision should be removed from office. Hopefully responsible members see this the same way. What a revolting developement!