On the eve of the SEC Championship Game, which could mean a trip to the BCS National Championship for one team, the talk is not about the game but about the "game". What game is Cam playing? What game is Auburn playing? What game is the SEC playing? And, what game is the NCAA playing?
Right now Cam is playing the game of football. He is playing tomorrow like he played last week and like he will play next season in the NFL.
The SEC is playing the game of power broker and the NCAA is playing the game of lame-duck enforcer. Auburn is playing the game of the middle man. So, how does it all unfold? Like a bad paper origami: it doesn't.
It is not going to be the way any of us think. It will be long, drawn out and inconclusive at every level. Which means you and I will let this bone go just as soon as the BCS clock strikes 00:00 and a couple of short days thereafter. Days? More like hours.
Sure, college football fans (excluding Auburn) will view the Tigers with doubt if they finish off both South Carolina and presumably Oregon. They will say that Newton's Heisman is "Bushed" and that the whole season is tainted. This may carry on into February for national signing day for recruiting purposes, but after that there will be just mere mentions of it.
We will move onto the next soup de jour in the sports arena. And, occasionally if the Newton subject is broached, a comment will be made. The so-called asterisk. When an Auburn fan cheers for their championship, others will point to a distant past of accusations and innuendos that have some basis and a lawyered ruling foundation.
Do you really care?
We have now entered the full world of true power in collegiate sports.
I know, it has always been about money. Who controls, disperses and has the most resources from it. I just think we have hit a new tier. The top tier. Level "greed".
Money is greater than any integrity that one could hold. It outweighs standards and practices of values and morals. It is so great that in this case, you don't even need an epic quote such as "If the glove don't fit you must acquit". Today, Johnnie Cochran is a proud papa in his final resting place.
BCS bowls equal money and two doubles the pouch, win or lose.
For four years running, the SEC has had two teams in the BCS. However, the Big Ten blows every conference away with BCS appearances. No wonder they are the largest money-making conference. The publicity equals: recruiting, merchandise sales, lodging, travel, food, conference exposure, and whatever else you wish to add. In the end, the BCS equals money. And guess what, TCU doesn't equal money.
You know the "Golden Rule"? He who has the gold makes the rules. Well, the SEC realizes it has to make some rules....today! If not, tomorrow one can become second-page news and that can be financially devastating.
The show must go on. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Pay no attention to the rules. If you do pay attention to the rules, then realize that others have been punished by the same rules. Realize that their punishment should be equal to what you are asking of Cam Newton. Even though those that have been punished now watch a fellow athlete not get punished for presumably breaking the rules as written.
If you do care, will there be repercussions?
If we twist the truth enough and repeat the lie over and over eventually it will become the truth. And, we will all be complacent with the end result.
Two days ago college football fans scratched their heads and wondered. The SEC, NCAA, Auburn and Cam Newton, by design, have almost completed the result. How many athletes have been declared ineligible and then eligible in a 30-hour period between games? How many top Heisman Trophy candidates?
Just a little bit further, complacency will set in and the fan will lose.
The dilution of substantive SEC and NCAA rules have led me now to start watching NFL football, where I know the players are paid and the rules upheld. I think I will even enjoy the playoffs.
Who am I kidding, what time is the SEC game tomorrow? And while you are telling me, go ahead and hand me that sweet tasting can of complacency.