Will mere allegations cost Newton the Heisman Trophy?

We’re not going to spend any time on the Fearless Friday Forecast because the news events are so much more important. But here is my question to you this morning: Will the accusations, whether they are true or not, that someone solicited money on behalf of Cameron Newton cost the Auburn quarterback his shot at the Heisman Trophy?

It was a blockbuster story reported by ESPN.com on Thursday. When you strip away all the clutter, here are the basics:  Somebody who said they represented Newton and his family was, according to the story, shopping the junior college quarterback around and looking for the highest bidder. Newton’s father, Cecil, denied that anybody represented his family in any such discussion. An investigation is underway.

Obviously, two things have to happen. First, the NCAA and/or SEC must prove that such conversations took place. Then the dots must be connected between those conversations and the Newton family. That takes time.

Now a very dark cloud has been put over a great Auburn season. Lifting the cloud or confirming its legitimacy is a complicated process. And Auburn doesn’t have a lot of time. The Tigers host Georgia on Nov. 13 and go to Alabama on Nov. 26.

Here is the concern I have for Newton, who is at the top of a lot of Heisman Trophy lists. Just the mere allegation will cause some of the 900-plus voters to cast their ballot for somebody else. In a post-Reggie Bush world they will not want to vote for somebody who might have to give the trophy back a year or two years from now. Remember it took over four years to get the USC case resolved and for Bush to give up the hardware. Just the possibility that any of this is true is going to hurt the man who could become Auburn’s third Heisman winner.

Is that fair? Of course it’s not fair. But if we have learned no other lesson this year it is that the ugly underbelly of this sport, occupied by bad agents and runners and former players doing both, can hurt a lot of people.

I hope the SEC can get this resolved quickly, certainly before next week’s Georgia-Auburn game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. If not, it sure is going to put a damper on what was going to be a big November for this conference. And the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn on Nov. 26? Not a whole lot of people will be talking about the game. They will be talking about whether or not Auburn and Cameron Newton forged an alliance based on cheating. This, too, comes under the category of “Life’s Not Fair.”

I will say this: If  it can be proven that Cecil Newton was shopping his kid around to the highest bidder, there is special place in Hell reserved for him. I don’t care if he runs a church or not or if he calls himself a preacher. You just cost your kid everything that matters in life–reputation and integrity–for a few pieces of silver. I just pray this is not true because if  a man of God will pimp his kid, then we are all pretty much lost.

And if somebody paid cash for this kid and it can be proven they should do some serious jail time. Former Alabama booster Logan Young was convicted for basically doing the same thing. Do you people never learn?

And if somebody paid cash for this kid and it can be proven that there is a direct connecton to the Auburn athletics department, then the school is going to get hammered and it should.

But that’s a lot of ifs. And what if none of this is proven? What if there is a lot of smoke but no fire? I’ll admit it does not look good but we don’t make decisions like this based on the emotion of the talk shows and the chat rooms. We actually have to have some evidence.

Like a politician said many years ago when hit with a scandal that turned out not to be true: Where does Cameron Newton go to get his reputation back?  What if after being tarred and feathered in the court of public opinion we find out that the man in question never had contact with him or his family?

This is an ugly, ugly business and regardless of what the facts turn out to be some people are going to get hurt. That’s why it’s so sad.

Saturday’s winners: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, N.C. State, TCU, Oklahoma State, Penn State, Stanford, Boise State.

Saturday’s losers: All of us who love college football if this turns out to be true.

Saturday’s biggest winner: Penn State’s Joe Paterno, who could record No. 400 by beating Northwestern. Coach Paterno, you always remind us that there is a right way to do things.

Please follow me on Twitter:

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890 comments Add your comment

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:05 am

Didn’t cost Reggie Bush much.

14TH--ON THE WAY

November 5th, 2010
8:08 am

Good article Tony–let’s wait and see what comes of this.

rusty

November 5th, 2010
8:09 am

According to sources close to Auburn football department, they flatly deny any wrong doing. They say that if there was any chance this rumor was true, Cam would not be playing this weekend. We will see how it shakes out. Either way it is a real damper on Auburn’s season. Cam and Auburn are going to suffer by innuendo, or it is true and they both go down hard.

Chris WDE

November 5th, 2010
8:10 am

Vote for Cam!

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:12 am

Well, everyone knows that a Man of God wouldn’t engage in questionable ethical behavior for mere money. That could never happen. It must all be a big lie perpetrated by the lame-stream media.

Seems that Auburn just can’t escape the shadow of the 2004 season.

Beast from the East

November 5th, 2010
8:14 am

I have a hard time believing that his family was shopping him. Now, could the “agent” have been trying to profit from it? I find that much more realistic.
I think we’ll find out that Cam, his family, nor Auburn had anything to do with it. At least I hope so.
Go Gators!

@DanWeiner

November 5th, 2010
8:14 am

What do you mean “you people”???

Charlie Bama

November 5th, 2010
8:16 am

The NCAA and D1 colleges need to pressure the NFL to STOP smarmy agent/money activity. The NFL is ultimately where the money comes from, and they can dry up the cash if they want to. There should also be a penalty on those who surface/fabricate false stories, ‘cuz that just aint right (as they say in Lee County, AL). Maybe this story is true, maybe not — but who suffers either way? What’s the penalty for the liars? Roll Tide

Jake

November 5th, 2010
8:19 am

Right now, there’s no facts,, only talk which most of the time gets out of control. Get the facts and data, then we can make the call.

.

November 5th, 2010
8:19 am

Enter your comments here

Charlie Bama

November 5th, 2010
8:20 am

Unless the agent/liar (if he is one, and I’m betting he is) admits this is a total fabrication, this episode WILL influence the Heisman vote. The Reggie Bush deal was a bit of an embarrassment –they don’t want to risk that again.

An inquisitive mind wants to know.

November 5th, 2010
8:20 am

Hey Tony, I bet you became rich with the high number of hits on your C H O K E story.

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:20 am

Is this really why Newton didn’t go to MSU?

If so, did Auburn get the same 10% discount that was offered to State, or did they pay retail?

Enquiring minds want to know…

Shug

November 5th, 2010
8:21 am

The guy is a thief, he stole from a fellow student. Who doesn’t believe the “allegations?” Auburn, you reap what you sow.

jtfalcfan

November 5th, 2010
8:23 am

Funny that so many people were Smoke-Fire with AJ Green. He was guilty.

Why not the same with Cam?

Bond said he was told “multiple” univiersities “made offers”

Why would someone ’shop’ a player they have no influence over?

Why is it reported Cam absolutely preferred Miss State and still went to Auburn?

Smoke-Fire?

MURPHY

November 5th, 2010
8:23 am

All I can say is WOW! What a shocking story. Not surprising with the way agents are involved with these players. If true this could really cost Auburn and Cam ton’s and ton’s of money,not to mention a huge black eye.My question is: Supposedly this has been known since spring football,why is it coming up again?

Alphare

November 5th, 2010
8:23 am

If Cam Newton is a politician in the state of Georgia, he will be elected governor if he is proven to be corrupt.

maroonseedymon

November 5th, 2010
8:24 am

I have no doubt that Kenny Rogers – the exMSU player – did approach John Bond – the exBulldawg QB – with the said offer and that MSU said no thanks and reported the incident to NC2A and the SEC. However, 3 questions remain:

1) Was the $200k paid to acquire Jr Newton’s services at AU?
2) Did the Sr Newton beneift?
3) Were officials at AU the payers?

I firmly believe yes, yes, no. Still, vote Cam for Heisman. The young man is a victim of his greedy father!

jtfalcfan

November 5th, 2010
8:25 am

I hate this for Auburn/SEC fans, but it is what it is.

For so many to come to Cam’s defense is odd when they were all so ready to spank AJ when allegations were flying around?

To be fair, there is a lot of stench around this. I just hate it for the fans.

82Dawg

November 5th, 2010
8:25 am

@MURPHY .,…that is what I was wondering why now and not earlier in the season? My other question is why doesn’t he have to sit out until the truth is found out?

Charlie Bama

November 5th, 2010
8:26 am

And BTW, I don’t think the Auburn sports program is connected to this in any way. Aubie is a good program doing all the right things. They are victims of (1) greed by an agent and/or the fams –probably the agent only– or (2)lies. But I still hope they lose in Tuscaloosa later this month. Just sayin’

Irresponsible Journalism

November 5th, 2010
8:26 am

“if a man of God will pimp his kid, then we are all pretty much lost.”

What about a grown man who calls himself a “journalist” sensationalizing a story about a kid based in inuendo just for the sake of padding his own wallet via web hits? What place is reserved for you, Tony?

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:27 am

@MURPHY

It was known by insiders since it happened last December. None of the involved parties was willing to make a public statement until yesterday. The Newtons have been lawyered up since the NCAA started their investigation.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:27 am

saying that Cam is a victim of his greedy father BEFORE there are any facts is ludicrous.

The kid was 20 years old – tell me he’s still doing exactly what daddy wants him to do….

GaDawg

November 5th, 2010
8:28 am

That’s right TB, rumors and discombobulated stories can hurt a program especially when they are printed. Something like taking an insignificant jesters and making a big Deal out of it. People like this should have the guts to admit when their wrong and do the right thing. Hmm, sound like anybody you know
GO DAWGS

DAWG

November 5th, 2010
8:29 am

Where is “Roll TIde?” And you wonder why Mark Richt stayed away from cam newton? Sorry for auburn fans, but thats life when you make a deal with the devil.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:30 am

Irresponsible Journalism

- where is he sensationalizing? Auburn fan I see??

Take the heat and quit trying to deflect – there is nothing TB said here that’s sensational – the story takes care of that itself.

You need to go to ESPN.com and slam Chris Low, Pat Forde, and Mark Shlabaugh for “sensationlizing” the story for breaking it….

A little sensitive eh?

Robert

November 5th, 2010
8:30 am

No surprise here. Cam is a proven thief. Further, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. It would be no surprise if his father was intricately involved.

Awwbarn fans, this is what you deserve for offering loser/criminal types scholarships. Just like florida, W’s are of more value than integrity.

Richham

November 5th, 2010
8:30 am

Wow talk about killing a season for Auburn. I can’t stand Auburn, but I hope these allegations aren’t true. SEC has really had some serious issues this year with agents. IF this is true, I feel for Auburn, it’s going to get ugly for them.

The year was looking awful for Georgia to start the season, but as it continues to roll along our team gets better and issues like this really help recruiting.

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:31 am

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:27 am

“The kid was 20 years old – tell me he’s still doing exactly what daddy wants him to do….”

That’s pretty much what Cam himself has said.

Anarchist Quaker

November 5th, 2010
8:31 am

At some point, if this turns out to be unfounded allegations (and I hope they are even though I am a Bans man), then I hope the question gets asked about the responsibility of ESPN to vet the story more thoroughly before hanging a young man out to dry.

MURPHY

November 5th, 2010
8:32 am

82Dawg,

If the NCAA makes Cam sit, Auburn’s season is over.Here is a bigger question though. Say the NCAA finds wrong doings,does AU have to forfiet games? That would make S.Carolina SEC East Champs without having to win ARK and UF. Do I have this figured right? Can you imagine the NCAA making Cam sit out the UGA an Bama game while they drag their feet investigating only to fine out he is innocent? That would get ugly in the State of Alabama

cattledawg

November 5th, 2010
8:33 am

Somebody got some splainin to do.

carlspackler

November 5th, 2010
8:34 am

All you have to know is that Auburn University and its compliance officer cleared Cam to play before the beginning of the season once these allegations were made known to them in July. AU and Gene Chizik are not about to jeapordize the program even for a once in a lifetime athelete like Cam Newton. It’s horrible that the young man, his family and Auburn are being put through this especially at the tail end of such a great season and Heisman potential on the line….but the low life’s of this world will always be there waiting to pull the good ones down if and when they can.

MAJOR PAYNE

November 5th, 2010
8:34 am

If you did your homework Tony, you would know that Auburn has known about this since July, at the time of report to the SEC and NCAA, both approved Newton to be eligigble to play. As you should know and dealing with the Bama zealots, Auburn has one of the most aggressive Complianace Departments in the country, headed up by a former top NCAA comliance director. (Ask Tony Barbee why he almost quit two weeks ago). Both Auburn and Miss St. knew this was going on, and both recruited Cam as they would any other recruit.

I really believe that this is the result of Kenny Rogers be a desparate man. Rogers has been investigated by the Players Assocaition for months in regard to misrepresenting himself as an agent. He also claims that he got Jerimiah Masolli (sp) to Ole Miss.

If you weren’t so lazy, you would have also reported that Cecil Newton had already turned everything over as far as his financials to the NCAA. The Church was fixed before Aburn or Miss St was recruiting Cam Newton.

IEXPECT BETTER FROM YOU TONY, QUIT BEING THE NEW YORK TIMES AND TELL THE TRUTH.

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:34 am

@Anarchist Quaker

ESPN has been aware of the story for some time now. They didn’t report anything until one of the involved parties made a public statement. The cat is out of the bag. You can no longer refrain from reporting the story, regardless of what “the truth” might be.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:36 am

Deja Vu -

Don’t be naive

If true Cam never takes a stolen laptop and tosses it out of fear of retribution from his bible-thumping father.

I’m not saying, I’m just saying…..

Cam let Mullen recruit him once. The ONLY thing going is Auburn being a better program. Find out who else “offered” him first. Mettenburger just got offered by Alabama for nothing short of sexual assault. Why wouldn’t “better” programs offer him again??

Oklahoma was interested too, for sure…

He’s a big boy. if a 20 year old wants to be at MSU where he would be comfortable, he’d be there if not for outside influence. If it means anything to daddy, he doesn’t “force” a 20 year old to go somewhere he doesn’t want to be – unless other factors exist….

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:39 am

@jtdawg

Sounds like you need another cup of coffee.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:39 am

Look – we just don’t know enough. There’s alot of smoke puffing up here and everyone is quick to put it all on Kenny Rogers, and maybe rightfully so.

I hope it works out well, I do. Just don’t be hypocritical. Alot of the same people were quick to condemn other players in the south for receiving improper benefits before whole stories were known. Don’t be so quick to defennd because everyone likes Cam so much…

MURPHY

November 5th, 2010
8:40 am

If the NCAA is investigating this as we speak it would not surprise me that they make Cam sit untill all the facts are straight. Hope it doesnt end up in another A.J Green episode.

Robert

November 5th, 2010
8:40 am

Hahaha. Alabama and LSU recruit sexual assault perpetrators. Anything for a W, huh?

Dawg_Mike

November 5th, 2010
8:40 am

Tony, Tony, easy there…..you are going to go Urb on us…

A special place in hell???

Chokegate, which was no big deal according to Chas Henry but you made it into a 1800 hit marathon..

Might be time for you to stick to prognosticating.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:41 am

Deja Vu

Sounds like you need to open your eyes and quit defending what you don’t know

Have some kids for yourself, raise them, then tell me they are so easy to control, while you’re at it.

Deja Vu

November 5th, 2010
8:42 am

I’ve already raised my kids, thank you. I don’t know what you are accusing me of “defending”. You appear to be confused this morning.

Dawg_Mike

November 5th, 2010
8:43 am

By the way, what’s Kenny Rogers doing in this deal- did his fried chicken thing go sour?

MURPHY

November 5th, 2010
8:43 am

We all know the NCAA’s stand on this kind of stuff. GUILTY untill proven INNOCENT. Doesnt look good for AU and Cam with the media frenzy going on about this.

Rod

November 5th, 2010
8:43 am

First of all, to lay any blame on Auburn is STUPID.

Remember, the “agent” didn’t approach Miss State, he approached one of their boosters. So, that “agent” wouldn’t have approached Auburn, just one of their boosters – but who to approach? He approached Miss State’s booster because that was a buddy of his. He didn’t have any “buddies” at Auburn.

Secondly, Cecil Newton already provided the NCAA with all of his financials over a month ago – a point Barnhart intentionally left out.

The only “smoke” out there is a man known to be a low-life (The NFL was already going after his agent status) said he represented Cam.

Get over it people – you’re so quick to want to believe bad things.

jtdawg

November 5th, 2010
8:43 am

Robert – be clear – I said “nothing short of” whic means, that is my opinion. Please do not interperet that as what he was actually charged and plead guilty to – I believe it was more like some type of battery – without looking it up.

Point being – it wasn’t Mett’s first time, and the boy refused to stop himself, and Alabama knows of this.

Dawg_Mike

November 5th, 2010
8:45 am

Or, did Kenny Rogers singing career taper off….wait a minute. don’t answer that….

KR

November 5th, 2010
8:45 am

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, the damage is done. It’s doubtful the NCAA will release their findings before the Heisman votes or the final BCS polls. It wouldn’t matter: some people (voters) have already made up their minds and won’t be swayed by whatever the NCAA may say later.

A better question to ask is why this has suddenly hit the airwaves now, when it was reported to the NCAA 2 months before this season started?