For the last week, college football fans, Auburn University and quarterback Cam Newton have been through just about every rumor that's been floated around the Internet.
A few days ago, a rumor got started around Twitter reporting that the NCAA was a few hours from suspending Newton. Needless to say, us fans and a few media members ran with it and talked to every source we could find to confirm it.
A few hours later, the rumor died off when it was discovered that an on air radio personality had said "the NCAA investigation, as big as it is, could change in three or four hours." A listener took that out of context and reported it as Newton being suspended.
To those of us that follow the sport and for those of us that have followed the Cam Newton saga for the better part of two weeks, the rumors have been exhausting.
This all began when a former player at Mississippi State, John Bond, told ESPN that a former teammate of his from the 1980's contacted Bond and told him that he represented Newton.
The quarterback had transferred to a junior college in Texas after coming close to being expelled from the University of Florida due to allegations of cheating. But that's a different story for a different time.
The person claiming to represent Newton was later found out to be another former Mississippi State player, Kenny Rogers, who called himself an "agent" and ran a company called Elite Football Preparation based out of Chicago. His company ran football camps not only in Chicago but in Alabama and Mississippi as well.
Bond was asked about his knowledge of the money that was being solicited for Newton's letter by Mark Schlabach of ESPN. He told Mark, "He said it would take some cash to get Cam. I called our athletic director, Greg Byrne, and he took it from there. That was pretty much it."
That would tell me that not only Bond and Kenny Rogers knew about the money that was being asked for, but the athletic director at Mississippi State knew about it as well?
So why is the NCAA coming after Cam Newton and Auburn? Why are they not coming after Mississippi State for knowing about this in the first place or trying to find out just how much they knew about this in the first place?
The other question that comes to my mind is, why now? Why, when the Tigers are this close to a national championship, does all of this come out? Does this not look like very strange timing as if it were planned, just in case they got to this point?
But here's where my problem comes in, and this was brought up by a good friend of mine. I love how people make me actually think about these things sometimes.
The conversation started by him making a point that this seemed like another Reggie Bush situation. Meaning, the NCAA would pull the national championship if in fact Cam Newton, or Auburn University, was found to be in the wrong.
He told me that he was dumbfounded that Auburn wasn't taking action right now, nip this in the bud so to speak.
I agree with him completely. Why take this big of a risk if you know it's going to backfire on you and in a big way? Why play a guy if you know for a fact that you've done something the NCAA is going to find wrong in more ways than one?
My response to his question is this: If the NCAA had anything, and I mean anything concrete, wouldn't they have forced Auburn to pull Newton off the field? Wouldn't they have brought something to the university that made them squirm in their seats more than a little bit?
Maybe they already have.
When they allegations first came out, Auburn was quick to respond and deny them in the strongest language possible. Now, all we hear from them is a "no comment." Things could be getting sticky for them.
But where do the college football fans stand on this? There are some that have already found Newton guilty in the court of public opinion. They want him sanctioned, and they want a confession.
Then there are others, myself included, who aren't ready to find anyone guilty just yet. We don't know the facts, and we don't even know if Cam Newton, or the Auburn University, knew anything about the money that Mississippi State was trying to put together to bring him to their school.
Until we know the facts and until the NCAA can say for sure that money was given to Newton by the Auburn, we need to stop assuming otherwise.
This is one of the best young players in college football and fans, like myself, have enjoyed watching him play. It's unfair to fans and to the university for this young athlete to be benched if he's done nothing wrong.
Not only that, but the comparisons to Reggie Bush need to stop. Allegations and rumors without fact do nothing more than hurt the reputation of a player that's trying to do things the right way.
You can hate the Tigers if you want (especially those who are rival schools), but you look foolish taking a shot at someone who may not have done anything wrong.
Let the investigation play itself out, and let the NCAA do what it's supposed to do. Until there's anything we know for sure, without a shadow of a doubt, let Newton play out the season, and let the Auburn Tigers have their day in the sun.
We can talk about infractions as soon as there are any.
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