Cameron Newton has been the best player on the No. 2 Auburn Tigers team this season. Both Newton and the Tigers have surprised many with their performance so far this year.
Auburn is currently 9-0 and 6-0 in conference, good enough to be at the the top of the cutthroat SEC West division (over prestigious programs such as the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU Tigers).
Newton is having one of the best seasons out of any player in the NCAA. Newton ranks third out of all quarterbacks in the FBS with a QB Rating of 172.6. Newton has thrown for 1,573 yards, 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions while completing 66.7 percent of his passes.
Even though Newton's impressive arm has lead the Auburn offense to a fourth-ranked passing attack, averaging 307.7 yards per game, Newton also has been a threat running the football. Newton ranks fourth in rushing yards with 1,122 yards and is second amongst quarterbacks (behind only Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson).
The Tigers are having a great season, but the NCAA is officially investigating Auburn's recruitment of Cameron Newton out of junior college last year. It is said that a man who said he represented Newton told former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond that it would cost $200,000 to get Newton to go to Mississippi State.
Bond said the alleged representative was former teammate Kenny Rogers (both played for the Bulldogs in the early 1980s), and that Rogers contacted him shortly after Newton's official visit to Mississippi State in December. He also said Rogers told him it would "take cash to get Newton."
Bond brought this information to the school, and Mississippi State reported it to the SEC soon after that. Bond said an NCAA investigator came to meet with him and Mississippi State in early September.
Newton's father, Cecil Newton, told ESPN yesterday that, "If Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge."
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik said Thursday, "I will say this very loud and very clear: Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University, period. End of story.''
However, this isn't the first investigation into the Auburn Football program. Auburn has a total of seven major NCAA infractions (the third most in college football).
Auburn's history of major violations includes getting slapped with three years' probation in 1957, three years' probation in 1958 and a two-year ban on postseason and television appearances in 1979.
The worst occurred in 1993 when the Auburn Football program was found guilty of providing game-performance bonuses, regular cash payments and using ineligible players. The sanctions that the NCAA put on the Tigers were as follows: Two years of probation, two-year postseason ban, one-year TV ban, loss of 13 initial scholarships.
The most recent instance of wrongdoing on the Plains occurred when Auburn was placed on two years' probation on April 27, 2004.
Auburn fans are hoping that the words of coach Chizik hold true, because an eighth infraction is not what this program needs at all.
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