Heisman Trophy Voters React to Cameron Newton Investigation
The NCAA's investigation of Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton could not only have a huge impact on the race for the BCS title, it might also end up determining who wins the Heisman Trophy, too.
With the Reggie Bush scandal so recently prominent on the front pages, you have to wonder what voters are thinking about the prospect of another Heisman being vacated.
Does the specter of the investigation and the ghost of Bush hurt Newton's chances with the voters? How many voters will be reluctant to keep him on their ballot? Will voters give him the benefit of the doubt?
We checked in with six anonymous Heisman voters over the weekend, and here's what they had to say about the issue...
Heisman Voter Reaction No. 1
"Just what Heisman folks need in wake of Reggie Bush having to return the 2005 trophy! I’m going to wait until the final week before I vote. If the investigation turns sour, I’ll take a hard look at Oregon sophomore running back LaMichael James, who is incredibly talented and would also be a deserving winner.
"If Newton is cleared, that would completely take issue off the table for me.”
Heisman Voter Reaction No. 2
"I honestly don’t know (if the investigation will affect my vote) at this time. If he’s not been deemed ineligible by the NCAA and is still playing for Auburn, I’d vote for him if I think he’s the most outstanding player.
"If the NCAA ends up finding him ineligible, it’ll be up to the Heisman Trust what to do there."
Heisman Voter Reaction No. 3
"Personally, I’m an 'innocent until proven guilty' guy. So despite my own natural suspicion, I will not allow this story to affect his status on my ballot until there is proof he or his family knowingly asked for and/or received money."
Heisman Voter Reaction No. 4
"I’m neither judge nor jury of any player’s adherence to the NCAA’s standard of amateurism. My vote goes to the most outstanding player in college football, not its most upstanding citizen. Cam Newton should win the Heisman and tearfully dedicate it to Reggie Bush."
Heisman Voter Reaction No. 5
"n the wake of Reggie Bush being stripped of the Heisman Trophy due to integrity issues, I’m going to stay away from casting my vote for Cam Newton. It’s not worth it to me. Newton has legal issues, potential NCAA issues and who knows what other issues on his resume.
"There are plenty of other worthy Heisman candidates who have never been in any trouble and who are outstanding players. I’ll cast my vote for one of them, if you don’t mind."
Heisman Voter Reaction No. 6
"I won’t even take that into consideration until it is proven that Newton or his family received some illegal benefits. The way college football is now I won’t be surprised if he did, but I do not know this to be a fact.
"And I will not penalize someone based on speculation. Now, if something is proved, then it would make a difference."
What It All Means
Clearly, most voters are not ready to jump the gun too soon on the Cameron Newton story.
It seems they've learned a thing or two following the Reggie Bush scandal—namely, that jumping to quick conclusions can harm the integrity of not only the player involved, but the process of selecting the Heisman winner itself.
However, there is definitely an underlying trepidation over Newton's position and, as we saw in this survey, at least one of the six voters will refuse to vote for the Auburn quarterback. If you took one out of six votes and extrapolated that over the 925 eligible Heisman voters, that means Newton could lose as many as 150 votes.
That might end up costing him the Heisman if the race is close enough. Considering LaMichael James and Kellen Moore are right on his heels, one has to take that possibility into consideration.
The best possible situation for Newton would be for the issue to be cleared up as soon as possible. However, if it is still hanging over his head, unresolved, in early December, it might make this year's Heisman ceremony as dramatic as any in recent memory.