Cam Newton Saga: Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?

Anthony CagleCorrespondent IDecember 3, 2010

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers warms up before facing the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Wednesday, the NCAA reinstated Cam Newton, making him eligible to play in the SEC Championship Game.

The NCAA ruled that neither Cam Newton or Auburn University knew about the actions of Cecil Newton and Kenny Rogers. Since then, cries of foul have sounded from many people. Thayer Evans was so busy finding more anonymous sources to quote that he did not have time to update his twitter, but joined in later that day.

What exactly is all the fuss about? Well, let’s look at some of the things being said.

Before we continue though, let’s examine the first sentence of this article. To be more specific the part that says, “NCAA reinstated.”

Reinstated means that they declared that he was eligible to play after he had been declared ineligible to play by Auburn. There is a lot of whining about his eligibility and how SEC bylaws deem him ineligible.

It should be understood that he was, in fact, declared ineligible by Auburn. Auburn then asked for him to be reinstated. The NCAA did so.

Many people are claiming it violates SEC bylaws. Specifically the following: “ Financial Aid.

"If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student-athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.”

The part in question is “a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive…” For there to be an agreement, there must be two parties: One agreeing to take benefits and one agreeing to give benefits.

In this case, Cecil Newton asked for money for his son to sign with Mississippi State. Mississippi State refused. Therefore, there is no agreement to receive any money.

A lot of people try to bring Auburn into it at this point. Auburn is not under investigation.

What the NCAA is investigating is Mississippi State’s recruitment of Cam Newton. There is no evidence that suggests that Auburn or anyone with ties to Auburn paid for Cam Newton to sign with the university.

Many people point to the Reggie Bush case and other similar investigations like A. J. Green. The key difference in those investigations and the Cam Newton investigation is the fact that benefits were received in these other cases.

Once again, Mississippi State did not agree to pay Cecil Newton for his son to play football.

Does this set a precedent where family members can shop around for benefits? Obviously not.

First: Cam Newton was deemed ineligible and then reinstated.

Second: The NCAA levied sanctions against USC for the actions of Bush and his family.

The NCAA has set the precedent that it is not acceptable for any benefits to be received.

The problem with Cam Newton’s case is that there is no evidence that he knew of his father’s actions and his father received no benefits. If evidence existed that Cecil Newton had received money, then Cam Newton would likely not be playing this weekend.

This does not mean that family members will be able to shop players in the future. Any family member that does receive money runs the risk of NCAA sanctions for the chosen university and the player. Since Newton was declared ineligible, any family member simply asking runs the risk of the same thing happening.

Mike Silve, SEC commissioner, has said that he will work with the NCAA to repair this loop hole in the regulations. It is clear that this will not be tolerated in the future.

Is the investigation over? Strangely, the people that are whining the most about the NCAA’s ruling are quick to point out that the investigation is not over. They point to the following phrases in the NCAA statement: “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time”

“The reinstatement process is likely to conclude prior to the close of an investigation.”

These phrases are used to support the idea that the investigation is far from over.

It is true that the investigation is not closed; it is true that evidence is discovered that the decision could be reversed.

However, it is also true that the NCAA said this: “Reinstatement decisions are independent of the NCAA enforcement process and typically are made once the facts of the student-athlete’s involvement are determined.”

This means that the NCAA has determined the facts of the Cam Newton’s involvement. If evidence turns up to show that he knew, will it change the ruling? Probably. But it's obvious that the NCAA does not think that this will occur. If they did, then they would not have determined the facts.

If evidence turns up that Cecil Newton was paid, will it change the ruling? Probably. Don’t hold your breath though. Auburn has already investigated this.

When they were first made aware of the possible pay for play scenario, they looked into Cecil Newton’s financial records, phone records and emails. They determined that no one for Auburn made any type of pay for play agreement. In addition, NCAA president Mark Emmert is probably not going to defend the ruling if there is any inkling that either Cam Newton did know or that Cecil Newton did take money.

So is the investigation closed? No, but is any NCAA investigation really closed? If evidence was introduced tomorrow that Jones and Ingram received $250,000 on the “fishing trip” they took during their sophomore year, then the NCAA would change its ruling for them as well.

Is the investigation waning? Probably. At this point, it looks as if the NCAA has decided that Cam Newton did not know about what his father was doing. And Emmert himself has said that no money was received. This means that the NCAA does not have any reason to believe that Cecil Newton took any money.

Does this mean that Bama fans will stop whining? Do not count on it.


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