Cam Newton Investigation Questions: Why Now, and Where Is it Coming From?
There are several questions circulating regarding the Cam Newton investigation. Why did the NCAA declare him eligible before the season began if they knew about the Mississippi State allegations? Moreover, if Mississippi State informed the SEC that Cam Newton’s father wanted over a hundred thousand dollars for his son to sign with their school, why didn’t the conference investigate the situation at the time? Most of all, why did people wait until Auburn was 10-0 and Cam Newton had established himself as a certified star before they finally dropped this bombshell of a story? Let’s try to navigate our way through this tale rationally.
We’re told Mississippi State reported the Cam Newton story to the SEC back in January. The SEC says most of the pertinent/follow-up information they requested was not provided by Mississippi State until July. It wasn’t until November that we found out the NCAA was investigating Auburn’s recruitment of Newton. It wasn’t until this week that we learned the FBI was getting involved in the investigation.
We found out late December that Auburn was signing Cam Newton, thereby beating out Mississippi State in his recruitment. Mississippi State says they informed the SEC that Newton’s father wanted thousands of dollars for his son to sign, and given that they reported the incident and didn’t land Cam, it’s safe to say they weren’t willing to pay. I’m guessing the SEC followed up and asked for more information such as phone records and anything else that helps prove Newton wanted money to sign. Being busy trying to manage and run an entire football team, I’m guessing Mississippi State didn’t provide that information until July as the SEC says. I think it’s reasonable to believe that the program was focusing on taking care of itself first before worrying about busting an opponent for cheating.
So here’s the next question: did the SEC report the allegations and story to the NCAA immediately? And here’s another major chicken-egg issue: has the NCAA been investigating the recruitment of Newton the entire season and word just leaked out, or did the investigation begin last week? Not many people can answer those questions so it all depends on what you believe.
I think it’s quite possible that the NCAA has been investigating the situation since the beginning of the season. With over 100 schools to oversee, it’s likely that they have multiple incidents reported to them, and we all know they’re not exactly the swiftest outfit either. So what still isn’t answered is why the information was only leaked just now. That’s where the investigative reporting comes in.
I don’t know who ESPN’s sources are, but they’re the ones who had the most information and first reported the story. They could have been tipped off by sources in the NCAA investigative office. They could have been tipped off a while ago and were holding onto the news until a time when it would have the biggest impact (e.g. once Newton became a full-fledged star player, like now). If they were tipped off by the NCAA, they could have approached Mississippi State coaches about the story and gotten more information from some of the people on the staff, off the record.
The other possibility is that ESPN was tipped off to the story by someone at Mississippi State, and then followed up with the NCAA to get confirmation. Missisissippi State’s motivation is simple: bitterness. They are having a fantastic season, going 7-2 with one of their losses coming in September to Auburn. They very easily could have been upset that Auburn was getting the glory for using a player they most likely paid to get while they were receiving less recognition because they refused to pay for that player.
All of these are questions that matter but are really distracting from the core issue. What truly matters is whether or not Auburn (its boosters) paid Cam Newton’s father money to get Cam to play for their school. Whether Kenny Rogers was the go-between representing the Newtons is for the FBI to figure out, not me. Whether or not Cecil Newton filtered the money through his church is for other people to figure out, not me. What matters is that it appears as if the Newtons solicited (through a third party) thousands of dollars for Cam to play college football, and that is a serious violation that would make him ineligible.