It may be time for Slive put his foot down again

In the South, we call it a ”Come to Jesus” meeting. That’s when the man (or woman) in charge of an organization calls everybody into a room and lays down the law. Any deviation from this path, the boss says, will result in serious consequences. You fail to heed this warning at your own peril, the boss emphasizes. Now go back out there and behave.

In May of 2009 SEC Commissioner Mike Slive had a “Come to Jesus” meeting with his coaches at the annual Spring Meetings in Destin. The Commish had had enough back biting between Florida coach Urban Meyer and the Boy Wonder at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin. Even Steve Spurrier had thrown in a little jab when asked.

Slive got all of the coaches into a room at the Sandestin Hilton and, in a lawyerly fashion (he is a former district court judge), read them the riot act. Any more of this public food fight and somebody, he warned, was going to get taken to the woodshed.

In the wake of the storm now engulfing the SEC concerning Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, it could be time for Slive to put his foot down once more.

Here is what we know: The NCAA is investigating whether or not rules were violated in the recruitment of Newton.

That’s it.

But from that one fact has emerged waves charges and counter charges that bring back some very  of the worst days of the SEC.  Slive came on board in 2002 and wanted to clean up the dark side of this conference where rumor and whispers were used as weapons in an attempt to bring another program down. Some progress had been made.  Coaches and other SEC employees were put on notice that free lancing in the area of rules compliance would not be tolerated. There was a process put in place where if an employee of a member institution comes upon information that another member may have broken the rules, that information must go up the chain of command and eventually to the conference office.

Then that information will be assessed and, if warranted, passed on to the NCAA. Those who work for SEC schools may not have direct contact with the NCAA on such information. Employees of SEC schools may not leak information of this kind to the media. If so, they are in direct violation of conference policy.

And it could be that, until yesterday, the chain of command was followed in the Cameron Newton story. We know that Mississippi State acquired some information about the recruitment of Newton (the total accuracy of that information is still uncertain) and that it was passed along to the SEC which passed it along to the NCAA. The rest has been media speculation from unnamed sources.

But yesterday this story changed and took on a very ugly–and perhaps illegal–tone.

Somebody leaked some information that caused a story to be written that Newton faced multiple academic incidents while he was at Florida and was on the verge of expulsion before he left in 2009.  We don’t know if that story is true or not. There have been subsequent reports, from unnamed sources, that the story is not true.

But if the story is true, somebody just broke federal privacy laws in releasing that information. And if that person works for an SEC institution and if the leak ever gets traced back to them, I have a piece of advice: You better lawyer up, buddy, because your life is going to get really complicated. Federal judges don’t really care that much about college football. They do care about people violating federal law for their own amusement.

If the story is not true, and if it came from an employee of an SEC institution,  then the leak it represents the worst kind of behavior that cannot be tolerated. The person who gave misinformation to the media, knowing that it was misinformation, should be fired on the spot if they are ever caught.

And if the academic story about Newton is true, so what? It’s embarrassing to Newton and his family. He should be held accountable for his actions. But beyond that what’s the need for that information, if true, to be made public?  What purpose does it serve if it doesn’t impact this eligibility?  Why would you release that kind of information unless you wanted to embarrass the kid and perhaps negatively impact his ability to perform on the field?  Do you put that information out there because you don’t want the kid to win the Heisman Trophy? Do you want to him be embarrassed enough to turn pro and get out of the league? Did you watch him running up and down the field and enjoying his time at Auburn and think: “This guy isn’t who people think he is. It’s up to me to set the record straight?”

What is this, high school?

Despite various media reports we don’t know if coaches are actually involved in his sorry tale. But if they are, even if the information they leaked is true, the consequences should be fairly harsh. The fact is we may never know who all the leaks are and whether or not coaches have their finger prints on this. But a lot of people sure THINK coaches are involved in this.

In the meantime, it might be a good idea for the Presidents of  the SEC to meet with Commissioner Slive and empower him to do whatever he has to do to get a handle on this.

It puts the commissioner in a tough spot. If he steps out and says something publicly, it adds another layer to the story and keeps it alive for several more news cycles. And if he says something publicly, what exactly does he say and who exactly is he saying it TO?

But what we have now are charges, albeit unsubstantiated, that coaches in this league have violated federal privacy laws at worst and SEC policy at best. It’s probably a good time for everybody in the league to be reminded that they work for the institution and are obligated to follow the rules of the Southeastern Conference. They also need to be reminded that if they violate those policies, the result will not be pretty.

What’s going on now plays into every stereotype the rest of the country has about the SEC. Can you imagine something like this happening in the Big Ten or the Pac-10? Me neither.

It will be tricky, but it’s time for the commissioner to put his foot down again.

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661 comments Add your comment

Bend Over Rover

November 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

Lets get Real: all the stud players get more than “just a schlaorship” in college ball, only most of them dont get caught. You think Tebow never got anything in Gatorland??? Right!!! I promise he got more than a pat on the head from Urban Crier!!!!!

Driving Ms Dooley

November 10th, 2010
1:09 pm

@ Murphy;

What does Cam playing or not have to do with betting lines being on or off? Dont know much bought that stuff.

Hey Murph, gimme a call and I’ll place some bets for you. then if you want, you can come over for some poker later. I’ll teach you. Stop by the ATM first.

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:10 pm

Oh well. The NCAA would have dragged this out for 3 to 5 years.

The FBI is not quite so slow moving. Fan… Meet $hit.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
1:11 pm

Big Dawg,

Yes I do know the difference in betting on AU wiith Cam or without Cam.What I didnt know is why they pulled the game so no bets could be made.

Tech75

November 10th, 2010
1:12 pm

Again, it’s entirely predictable. Big money, big pressure to win, leads to cheating.

Basic greed and human nature to sell to the highest bidder.

Why is this so surprising?

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:12 pm

Latest rumor is that Tim Tebow is the real “Deep Throat”!!!

Just kiddin’

;-)

elliot

November 10th, 2010
1:13 pm

Mobile,

Tom never claimed to know them, he simply stated how HE thought Newton’s body language looked.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
1:13 pm

Driving Ms Dooley,

I have never placed a bet in that manner.Always bet with friends but never on-line.Vegas,such as that. Believe it of not I have never played Poker-Wouldnt have a clue how to play. I promise Ive not been sheltered just never have done either.

Brick

November 10th, 2010
1:14 pm

elliot

November 10th, 2010
1:14 pm

Tech75,

No one is saying it’s surprising. We all laughing at you since you seem to refuse to admit to Tech’s and the ACC’s own shortcomings.

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:14 pm

@MURPHY

The bookies have to pay out on those bets. That’s why they continuously adjust the lines to match the bets. The house never loses a gamble.

LSUFan

November 10th, 2010
1:15 pm

Bama dude, that’s the point. If Newton went to MSU or stayed at FLA (and didn’t get kicked out of school), those teams would be better and AUB would be 6-4 (or so). I’m not taking anything away from Newton…he’s one hell of an athlete. I wish he played for LSU and had better character. The fact that it happened hasn’t changed. The reasons for it coming out don’t really matter. It’s out.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 10th, 2010
1:16 pm

Auburn coach Gene Chizik beat the questioners to the punch during his portion of the SEC teleconference Wednesday.

“Cameron Newton will be playing Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs,” Chizik said before he entertained questions.

NO credible allegations against AU, OU Stoops says he was never approached, AU says they were never approached, MSU said they were only approached by the sleezy Rogers and STILL recruited Cam because they felt he was clean …so far NO EVIDENCE against Cam.

Produce “the tapes” and I will say i was wrong and smooch your A**. Until then, NOTHING but innuendo from sleezy in betweens

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

Big Dawg,

I get that.BAMA dude stated the bets were off not being adjusted.My questions was: Why did they pull the game for betting altogether?

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

sorry elliot, I thought your quote was, I mean “Tom’s” quote was “The Newton family has very questionable character to say the least.” I guess my question to Tom was legitimate. Want to try again?

Paul in RDU

November 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

Big Dawg – When Vegas “takes a line off the board”, they pay out nothing – they just return all wagers.

ClinchPanther

November 10th, 2010
1:18 pm

what is to be gained is that if florida beats south carolina and goes to the sec championship game, they would rather it be against auburn without cam newton. there you go.

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:19 pm

Trisha, I hope you’re right.

Warhorse

November 10th, 2010
1:19 pm

AJC writers regularly have tossed around a statistic of UF arrests. Newton is included in that statistic. Now, it appears he is not as innocent as projected, so how has Cam become the poster child for victimhood? He is the one who said he left UF because Tebow stayed; now, it appears that is false and the media wanted to dig for the real reason.

Three cheating incidents has been put forward as the real reason. If Cam is a liar, how is he a victim? And how is UF involved? Most UF fans want Cam to succeed because he was a good guy and still says he is all Gator.

LSUFan

November 10th, 2010
1:20 pm

Trish,
What would you call recorded phone interviews where Cam and his father admitted to taking money? Of course I don’t have these tapes, but someone does. He may play Saturday against UGA and if he does, he will probably put up huge numbers. That won’t matter when their season is wiped off the books.

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:20 pm

@TrishaDishaWarEagle

What makes you think that anyone on this blog wants you to kiss them anywhere???

@MURPHY

They want to know if Cam is playing Saturday before taking any more bets. Is that really so hard to understand?

elliot

November 10th, 2010
1:20 pm

Do any of the reporters “know the Newtons?” How asinining is that? Don’t be a child.

James

November 10th, 2010
1:22 pm

Auburn is all in on Newton. If they lose this gamble they lose the house!!!

Tom C

November 10th, 2010
1:23 pm

Mobile Dawg:

No I don’t know the Newton family. I didn’t call them “liars”. All I said was that they had “questionable character to say the least”. I think given all the accusations and their refusals to discuss certain aspects most people would agree that their actions are questionable. And we determine one’s character by words and deeds. So I stand by my statements even without the benefit of actually knowing the family (although I should probably limit it to Cecil Sr and Cam).

Tom

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:23 pm

@Paul in RDU

I don’t doubt that. I’m not a gambler myself, but I do understand why all bets would be off in this situation.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
1:25 pm

Big Dawg,

Thanks for the info.Sorry just trying to understand-Didnt mean to insult your educated mind on this.

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

Me be a child? I asked you a question elliot, or Tom. You said the Newton family had questionable character? I say that’s pretty “asinine” to say if you don’t know them sport.

Alison

November 10th, 2010
1:27 pm

Tony, yesterday Paul Finebaum mentioned that athletes waive their privacy on school records. You routinely see GPAs and majors on TV….doesn’t he have a point here?

Tech75

November 10th, 2010
1:28 pm

Elliot – Tech has had it’s own issues; so has Free Shoes U and No Care – olina.

There are only about a dozen schools right now that can get the players they want without extra incentives – for instance Alabama, Florida, Texas, USC… everybody else has to do something extraordinary to beat out these programs for a top recruit.

It always seems that the “next tier” programs are always the ones who get caught “reaching”. I am not surprised by what happened at NC this year, have never been surprised by the antics at FSU, and am quite surprised that The U hasn’t been thrown under the bus more often.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 10th, 2010
1:28 pm

You go Trish–Again! Show me the money or show me the paper trail or show me the taped conversations.

Are the Newtons smart enough to cover something this obvious?? Then there has to evidence somewhere.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 10th, 2010
1:29 pm

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:29 pm

@MURPHY

I’m not in any way offended. I just wondered if you were being serious or merely sarcastic. Hope I didn’t come across the wrong way. As I admitted to Paul, I’m no gambler either.

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:30 pm

Thanks Tom C. Reason I asked if you knew them was I got a feeling you might be from Newnan and truly have first hand knowledge of them, and the church issue. At this point I would tend to agree with you, their “character” is being questioned.

Don’t quite know why this “elliot” character thought it was appropriate to answer for you. Have a good day Tom.

The Ole Ball Coach

November 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

Never mention someone cheated three times on collge academics, had 13 various charges, including three felonies including obstruction, but don’t give the choke sign……
The Money thing still needs proof. but the patterns above sum it up for me in which direction this is going…… If it smells like and looks like do it just may be do………

Whoa Nellie!

November 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

“the money was too much.”

Dawg Tired

November 10th, 2010
1:33 pm

Meyer says he did not leak anything about any of this. I guess that settles the whole thing. Has he said he is quitting coaching yet?

Tech75

November 10th, 2010
1:34 pm

If the FBI is involved, then people will get polygraphed…. then it will get REALLY INTERESTING.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 10th, 2010
1:34 pm

I hope the entire AU team takes any frustrations from this week out heavily on the pink elephants in Tuscalossa in 2 weeks. Make it a memorable beat down.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
1:36 pm

TDWEagle,

I just dont see this as coming out in Cam;s and AU’s favor. Usually when the NCAA get’s involved to the level they appear to be at now ( by media reports) they find something either related or not related to the issue at hand. Example: AJ Green’s so called trip to Miami that resulted in the NCAA finding the case of Jersey selling instead of wrong doing in Miami..

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 10th, 2010
1:36 pm

Tuscaloosa..TuscaLOSSa is their new nickname..sorry

Go Dawgs!

November 10th, 2010
1:36 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle

You should hope Caudle & Burns get some snaps btween now and Saturday!

not aNewton fan

November 10th, 2010
1:37 pm

You obviously have partiality to Newton. “So what?” If these allegations are true, so what? That’s your response? Are you serious? And how ticked off are you going to be if it is revealed that it is all true and the shmuck was just trying to get away with it? There is something really fishy about that young man – he really acts like he thrives on attention and if he is that proud about his athletic ability, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was flaunting himself by requesting money. We shall see- just beware…. I wouldn’t be so eager to defend someone who has been in trouble with the law already. Might come back to bite ya!

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:37 pm

I don’t have anything against the Bammers Trisha but wouldn’t Tuscalosers be more appropriate to what you really mean.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

Big Dawg,

Ni I was serious I dont know anything about Vegas betting. Probably a good thing,I would probably be in the poor house right now.No offense taken.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

November 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

Murphy, any program under a microscope probably will have some minor issue dicovered..but thats wholesale different from paying $200,000 to land a player which AU , from the AD down, swears never happened. Those people have careers much longer than a season..and they do not Jeapordize them that way in this day and age. well..except that one guy at UGA …but even that was NOT football related.

Big Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:38 pm

@Dawg Tired

He said that last year. Now I have a better understanding of why he wanted to quit.

Brantley’s the best QB???

Gimme a break! His best QB was an NCAA probation waiting to happen. At least Florida was smart enough to dump him — eventually.

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

What’s the old saying “not a newton fan”, you can “usually” judge the future behavior of someone based on their “past” behavior. Not always, but “usually” people don’t tend to change to much.

not aNewton fan

November 10th, 2010
1:41 pm

EXACTLY Mobile Dawg! EXACTLY!

Robbie E.

November 10th, 2010
1:41 pm

All this “unknown source” stuff is making me SICK!
ESPN should not of report the “money” quote about Cam because it’s a 2nd HAND quote.
The entire list of allegations is disgusting- timing, secrecy- and I hope the SEC or NCAA addresses
these issues >>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>
********
The NCAA and the SEC have an obligation to PROTECT THE STUDENT ATHLETE !!!!!!
Allegations that are mere rumor should be kept in house until evidence is presented (ie bank account info, telephone wire taps, ect….)

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
1:42 pm

Mobile Dawg

November 10th, 2010
1:37 pm
I don’t have anything against the Bammers Trisha but wouldn’t Tuscalosers be more appropriate to what you really mean.

No, she went to the Barn to be an enjinear. She said it exactly how she thinked it.