"Look Out For the Rocks Below"
Official Time of Death: 2:46 CST
Auburn makes the decision to play Cameron Newton even as his father, the good reverend Cecil, is reported to have admitted to soliciting a bribe for his son's signature on a national letter of intent.
Newton, the elder, claims neither his son nor the staff at Auburn knew anything about this scheme of his.
What makes that claim questionable is that the NCAA's investigation has been underway since at least July of this year and this was known to the University.
More importantly, requests had been made to the Newtons for financial records so he obviously knew that the investigation was underway.
That means that he was lying last week when he denied "any" wrongdoing whatsoever or he is lying now.
Moreover, Cameron Newton's comment that "the Money was just too good" at Auburn makes it hard to believe that he was in the dark.
Nevertheless, the very fact that Newton was being "shopped" by his father makes him ineligible according to NCAA regulations regardless of whether money changed hands or not.
That being said, when Cameron Newton took the first snap against Georgia at 2:46 pm Auburn's fate was sealed.
How Should Auburn Be Penalized?
Up until that point they could presumably, based on the known facts of the case, make the argument that they knew nothing of the rules violation and had acted based on Newton's eligibility ruling by the NCAA clearinghouse when he enrolled at Auburn.
With "Pastor" Newton's confession, that defense went out the window.
Auburn did indeed win the regular season SEC West crown with the 49-31 victory over Mark Richt's embattled Bulldogs.
Yet, with several dirty hits by DL Nick Fairly and the ejection of two other DL the Tigers may have also erased all doubt of who is the dirtiest program in college football.
What is clear is that the NCAA has to act before the end of this regular season.
They simply cannot allow Auburn to continue into the postseason with his eligibility status in question. His father broke the rules and he should have to sit.
A.J. Green of the Georgia Bulldogs had to sit out of three games for selling a tee-shirt to an agent. UNC basically had to forfeit this entire season, when they too had championship aspirations.
But if not for Cameron Newton's play the LSU Tigers, the TCU Horn Frogs or the Boise St. Broncos would be one step closer to playing for a national title.
The NCAA may not have been ready to conclude their investigation as they usually do not like to take any action until such investigations are completed.
However, they simply cannot wait in this case. If they have evidence (and we all do since Cecil's confession is on the record) of ineligibility then they must act on that.
The bottom line is that Auburn jumped off a cliff today; we're just waiting on the NCAA to tell us if they hit the rocks or drowned in the rip tide.