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.
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