Cam Newton Ruled Eligible: What Was The NCAA Thinking?
Cam Newton has been ruled eligible for the SEC championship. For every Auburn fan who is celebrating, there is a South Carolina fan crying and a college football fan wondering, "What in tarnation was the NCAA thinking?"
The official NCAA ruling is that ""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."
On the other hand, the SEC has admitted the alleged negotiations took place: "The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable...and will not be tolerated in the SEC."
Who's telling the truth? The following slides will examine, once and for all, the truth behind the Cam Newton rumors and what justice can be served...
The Truth About the Rumors About Cam Newton
Correction: The Truth About the Rumors About the Truth About Cam Newton.
TTATRATTACN for short. The exact permutation of nucleotides which codes cheating into one's DNA. Or so I overheard in a bathroom stall at my local BioTech lab. Rumors can be so vicious!
But in this case I have to suspect that they're true. Bio Engineers don't mess around, with the exception of mice. From what it sounded like, the two doctors I was eavesdropping on were giving a defunct lab rodent a swirly. The poor guy wouldn't rat on his friends.
The same is not true for John Bond, the man Cam Newton allegedly solicited money from in exchange for his commitment to play football at Mississippi State. John Bond ratted to the SEC, who tattled to the NCAA, who recruited the FBI to help investigate.
It's been tough to follow the scandal because of the various puns and contradicting testimonies that cloud the issue, but it's clear that we're dealing with more than your average bribery.
My opinion is that it's all true. It's far too complicated a story for any saboteur to have made up. The timing—right in the thick of Newton's Heisman candidacy and Auburn's championship run—is a little suspect, but there is too much evidence in support of Newton's guilt. Here is a quick summary for those who watch enough SportsCenter that they have unlearned everything they once knew as a result of Newton Scandal coverage overdose:
The Never-Ending Story
Newton played for Florida in 2007 and 2008 as Tim Tebow's backup. In 2008, Newton was facing possible suspension for three accounts of cheating, when he was arrested for purchasing a stolen laptop. The charges (burglary, larceny and obstruction of justice) were dropped as part of a pretrial intervention program for first-time offenders. In order to avoid the school's wrath, Newton transferred to Blinn Junior College.
Newton led Blinn to a National NJCAA Championship in 2009. He transferred to Auburn for the 2010 season. The alleged recruiting snafu happened in July of this year.
John Bond, an ex-Mississippi state player, alleges that teammate Kenny Rogers asked Bond for $180,000 on behalf of Newton in exchange for Newton's commitment to play at Mississippi State. Rogers runs a company called Elite Football Preparation that trains high school athletes and matches football prospects to universities.
Bond says Rogers told him that other schools had already offered Cam $200,000, but that since Cam liked Mississippi State so much, he would play there for only $180,000. Rogers denies it: "A school never paid me for a kid and alumni never paid me for a kid. Period."
Cam's father Cecil has been suspiciously non-committal: "I'm not going to confirm nor deny nothing that has been taking place." Denial runs in the fam. In regard to his cheating conviction, Cam has said, "I'm not going to entertain something that took place not three months, not six months, not a year, but two years ago. I'm not going to sit up here and say anything about it, whether I did or did not do it, because I don't want to beat a dead horse talking about it."
It's been impossibly hard for me not to interrupt, "HE DID IT! Just look at X,Y,Z!!!", but now I will...CAM DID IT! Right now, it's John Bond's word against Kenny Rogers, so it's unfair to say my reasoning is conclusive, but on the other hand... CAM DID IT!
Reason X: He has a history of dishonesty. And a history of thinking he can get away with it. Cheating and burglary; transferred to Blinn without a scratch. No lesson learned.
Reason Y: Could anyone really make up a detail like "He likes Mississippi State, so he'll do it for only $180,000"? This is either the most cunning, elaborate lie ever, or it's not a lie.
Reason Z: Cam and Cecil Newton have yet to flat out deny it! Cam's dad's famous words might as well have been a confession: "I'm not going to confirm nor deny." I understand taking the high road and not acknowledging truthless rumors, but this is your career and your school's season on the line! What is the harm in denying it if you didn't do it? Either they need to be better coached on what to say, or they are afraid to be caught lying. I would be too considering the FBI is involved.
The 5 Most Important Implications
1. This is all happening in the same year that Reggie Bush surrendered a Heisman trophy and USC forfeited two years of Bowl privileges because Bush accepted money from a booster.
2. This is also happening in the same year that this shocking news came out. How can we prevent this from happening?
3. Will Heisman voters avoid Newton in order to avoid another Reggie Bush embarrassment? They haven't so far. Newton leads the race, followed by Kellen Moore, LaMichael James and Andrew Luck.
4. Will BCS voters avoid Auburn in case their national championship season gets nullified by a Newton indictment? They haven't so far. Auburn has been No. 2 behind Oregon throughout the scandal and is now king of the hill having beaten Alabama.
5. Should voters care? In two cases, it appears they don't. Nothing has been proven, but my perception is that nobody particularly cares. True: no money changed hands. True: it's probably common practice. Also true: Cam's dad and Kenny Rogers are more guilty than Cam.
But I still can't help feeling like this is a perfect chance for the NCAA to take a stand. To send a message to the future Cam Newton's out there. They're supremely talented and in need of some guidance.The NCAA can provide some by enforcing its own rules.
Regardless of the devastation to its reputation. Lead by example. Don't expect a 25-year-old kid to turn himself in. College football fans love the sport enough that they'll keep watching for much much less than six figures. That's right; we like you that much.
SEC Championship: South Carolina vs. Auburn
When these two teams played in the regular season, South Carolina was leading at halftime by two scores. Auburn rallied behind Cam Newton to win, 35-27. Cam rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns, while throwing for two more.
On the other side of the ball, Auburn's defense shut down RB stud Marcus Lattimore (14 carries for 33 yards), but allowed sophomore receiver Alshon Jeffrey 192 yards and two touchdowns.
South Carolina would prefer to establish the run, but they'll have to score by any means necessary considering neither the NCAA nor any of Auburn's opponents have been able to stop Newton. The Tigers average 41.6 points/game.
Let's hope South Carolina becomes the exception to the rule. If the NCAA made one for Cam, maybe Auburn will make one for the Gamecocks.
Go get 'em 'Cocks!