Two words. One name. The words that embodied a champion. The words that were beloved by many and hated by many. Two of the most feared words in college football in 2010. Two words that single-handedly controlled American sports in 2010.
Newton took the college football world by storm in 2010, scoring 51 TD (30 pass, 20 rush, one receiving), winning the Heisman Trophy in a landslide and leading the Auburn Tigers to their first national championship since 1957.
Of course, like Pat Dye once said, Auburn has been and always will be the subject of controversy. After the Tigers started 9-0 and climbed as high as No. 1 in the BCS standings, news broke concerning Newton's recruitment. The original report said somebody had shopped Cam to Mississippi State, and later reports revealed some surprising news: It was his own father, Cecil.
Allegedly, Cecil Newton was a part of a pay-for-play scheme with Mississippi State boosters John Bond, Kenny Rogers and Bill Bell. The allegations say Cecil requested $180,000 from Mississippi State or else his son would go to Auburn. The solicitation of benefits is against NCAA rules, but the NCAA kept Newton eligible because its findings at the time showed that the Newtons hadn't received any benefits and that the student-athlete involved didn't even know he was being shopped by his father.
Obviously, many people called bull on that (people in Tuscaloosa, I'm looking that you). The play-for-pay plan fell apart, and Newton signed with Auburn, where he would leave a legacy similar to Bo Jackson.
The NCAA began investigating Cam's recruitment about four months before the story became public. The NCAA is trying to see if someone associated with Auburn gave money to the Newtons. The investigation has lasted just less than a year, and now Auburn's compliance director may have given us a spoiler about the current condition of the investigation.
Auburn University compliance director Rich McGlynn stated he had no fears about Newton's eligibility, and he openly commented about the investigation and how Auburn recruited the eventual Heisman winner.
The NCAA prohibits a school from commenting on an ongoing investigation. McGlynn talked all about it. He is on record as saying he would not speak until the NCAA investigation is over. This means one of two things:
A. Auburn has committed an NCAA violation by commenting on an investigation;
B. The investigation into Cam Newton is no longer ongoing, meaning that it's over, and Auburn's 2010 championship season will likely remain just that, and it will not be vacated at any point like USC's 2004 trophy was.
Many will assume it's answer A, but if that's so, why would the compliance director break this obvious rule? This man's job is to bide by NCAA rules, so breaking it in clear daylight just doesn't fit in here.
Alongside his statements, Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs commented on Newton's recruitment as well, saying if there were concerns of his eligibility, he wouldn't have started against Arkansas State in Week 1. He then said he has no reservations about putting in a Cam Newton statue outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Many people will assume he's just lying through his teeth. But this isn't an ordinary situation. People, once statues go in the ground, it isn't like you can just pick it up and move it out of the way if he were to be ruled ineligible. This is a statue. That just shows confidence on Jacobs' part.
Head coach Gene Chizik does likewise in his new book "All In." He states that Auburn had no fears about Cam Newton's eligibility. He also said a majority of the controversy surrounding the beleaguered QB was media-created and not completely factual.
I've noticed a strange pattern amongst all these Auburn figures. When talking about the investigation, they regularly talked in a past tense. They wouldn't say, "We aren't worried about the investigation." They would say, "We weren't worried about his eligibility."
Many signs point to this investigation being over. The result has a national championship and an entire college football season hanging in the balance. If the investigation is still ongoing, Rich McGlynn made a mistake by commenting. However, Auburn promised not to comment until the NCAA had wrapped up its investigation. I don't know about you, but I think Auburn's commenting right now. A lot.
The facts are there. Auburn said it wouldn't comment until it was over, and now it's commenting, so apparently it's over.
I guess I can say this overly-used saying one more time: War Cam Eagle!
UPDATE: Some people have brought to my attention a very important aspect. Why didn't AU's compliance director just say,"the investigation's over"? Why did a Charlotte, North Carolina paper say in an article that the investigation is ongoing? This is an excellent point, but here's the solution... the NCAA doesn't want people to announce the closing of an investigation until they release an official statement of their own. The paper isn't in the know, and Rich McGlynn got as close to saying it's over without saying it's over as possible.