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Friday, October 24, 2014

Cecil Newton Tried to Take Money, But Cam Newton is Eligible to Play

Auburn Tigers nation can breathe easy — for now.  Their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback has been declared eligible by the NCAA.  On Monday, the NCAA concluded that a violation of amateurism rules had occurred and, consistent with the protocol of such an investigation, Cam Newton was briefly deemed ineligible.  At that point, the university can request that the athlete be reinstated.  If it is determined that the athlete was not directly involved, he or she can be reinstated while the investigation continues, as was the case with Newton.

While Cam Newton’s name is “clear” at the moment, the NCAA discovered what we already suspected and were confident in — that his father, Cecil Newton, worked with the owner of a scouting service to market and sell his son’s talents.  SEC Commissioner Mike Silve spoke out against the conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the individual from the scouting service, saying it is “unacceptable” and “will not be tolerated in the SEC.”

On to the important part.  It comes in the form of comments from Kevin Lennon, the NCAA’s vice president for academic and membership affairs:

In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete’s eligibility, we must consider the young person’s responsibility. 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.”

What does that mean?  In the short term: Cam Newton is going to play out the year.  He’ll be the Tigers’ quarterback against South Carolina and in whichever bowl game Auburn qualifies for, including the BCS National Championship game.  In the long term: the investigation continues.  If Auburn goes on to win a title, there’s a chance it could be temporary.

It would be tough to imagine a situation in which Cam was not involved in the pay-for-play activity in any way.  If teams are filtering money to athletes’ parents, chances are the 17 and 18-year old young men are getting their hands on some of it.  If the NCAA determines down the road that Cam — not just his father — had some sort of involvement, Auburn will have to vacate victories and any bowl games they may go on to win.  Newton would also be forced to give up any individual awards (i.e. Heisman Trophy) he may win.  If I were a Tigers fan and my team went on to win it all, I’d enjoy it while it lasted.



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