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

mowreck

November 10th, 2010
8:04 am

Maybe he should call all the sports writers into a room and have a “come to Jesus” meeting about writing about all the rumors?

Don

November 10th, 2010
8:04 am

Here’s the latest on how ESPN’s Joe Schad says Cam, and his peacher Dad, both asked for lots of money.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5786315&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines

dip

November 10th, 2010
8:05 am

Didn’t Newton get run for stealing a notebook at UF? Supposedly he also had 10+ trafic violations in Gainesville, plus the cheating allegations. Isn’t the Heisman supposedly also about integrity – or have we dumbed this down too?

Roaddawg80

November 10th, 2010
8:05 am

Tony,

You have made a A$$ out of yourself the last couple of weeks!

First, you say “Here is what we know: The NCAA is investigating whether or not rules were violated in the recruitment of Newton.”

That’s it.

Second you go on accusing a coach or institute and say that Mr. Slive should put his foot down. Basically go after these coaches and once again you want to fire someone(talk about a powere problem you have).

But yet just like the investigation all you know is that SOMEONE leaked information.

THATS IT!

You of all people should know that when the media gets a hold of something a bunch of stuff is going to come out. Trust me there will be more.

VERY DOUBLE STANDARDS DON’T YOU THINK! Your pathetic!

Bill king is a...............

November 10th, 2010
8:05 am

I know why UGA cant win now……we actually suspend our players and kick them off the team now for some of the stuff that Newton has done. Lets start with the 13 TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS. Hell, we have a couple of kids who get stopped with a suspended license and most of you humps say RICHT has lost control of the program and he needs to be fired. Look at this junk that Newton did…..13 traffic violations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHere’s the public outcry tht Meyer should be fired??? And godforbid these academic allegations are actually true……and Meyer himself didnt kick Newton off the team. what the hell does that say about MR? IT says UGA is playing by a different set of rules than the rest of the SEC. All teams should be playing by same rules. GO DAWGS

Dog in TN

November 10th, 2010
8:05 am

What does it say when the talk is about slimy allegations and not football? This story is nothing but unproved allegations. All those getting their exercise jumping to conclusions yet to be proven, get on the couch and rest. Let’s talk football.

John

November 10th, 2010
8:06 am

Tony, this crap has been going on for DECADES!! When it come out, the media feigns shock and disbelief. What a joke! You, yourself KNOW all the dirty details of Herchel Walker’s recruitment. You also know how bad Vince Dooley cheated….hell, he had enough cars purchased for his recruits to keep Detroit running full-time.

Instead of focusing on this particular story, why don’t you go back thru the years and describe all the cheating that went on (and still go on) at your alma mater.

Mr College Football is a hypocrit. Just like the rest of your ilk at the AUC.

Joe

November 10th, 2010
8:07 am

If it is Auburn and they are winning you know they are cheating. Remember you can’t spell AUtistic without AU.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:07 am

I, as a Dawg fan, hope none of this is true, win or lose Saturday. I’m Georgia first, SEC second.
I don’t want our conference to have this black eye……

Gen Neyland

November 10th, 2010
8:07 am

Investigative Reporting Lesson 34 : When rumors can’t be substantiated, just go with the rumors. That’ll keep a story running for many, many news cycles and the fish will eat it up. Think of all the fun we’ll have and to top it off, it sells..!

Boise Dawg

November 10th, 2010
8:07 am

I was feeling sorry for Newton yesterday, but must admit on further reflection, I am not anymore. It seems pretty clear the academic fraud story is true, or mostly true, otherwise he could have been completely denying and threatening legal action against Fox Sports. While I still hope they find the source of the leak and that person at the very least loses their job, I don’t feel the least bit sorry for Newton. It appears he ran from his problems and didn’t face the consequences of his cheating at Florida. Well he is now….. through the humiliation in the media.

m

November 10th, 2010
8:07 am

Tony, mr. sec homer gomer, how many felonies does Cam have to commit before it affects your Heisman vote?

By the way, your blind support of the BS-bcs makes you an idiot….and IDIOT.

We need a 16 team playoff….and we need it NOW.

cattle dawg

November 10th, 2010
8:07 am

The new Cam Newton allegations open the 8 am sportsenter.

Bill king is a...............

November 10th, 2010
8:08 am

Mowreck…………..AMEN brother

Don

November 10th, 2010
8:08 am

It’s odd that AJ Green get suspended for selling a jersey for $1200 on E-Bay, yet Cam Newton gets off for allegedly accpetign $200,000!!!! This is starting to look like someone’s out for Georgia, and wants Auburn to win out their games. Remember the LSU calls by the ref’s that got the whole ref crew suspended last season? This one, cosiderin Cam Newton isn’t suspended yet, is simply revolting. Soeone, very high up, is anti-Georgia, and pro-LSU, pro-Auburn.

Cletus

November 10th, 2010
8:08 am

Tony, I’m amazed at how quickly you and your radio talk show buddies have trashed the media for reporting this story about Cam Newton. Aren’t you, uh, a member of the media yourself? As a journalist — if you still consider yourself to be one — you should know better than anyone that there could be a story here. Before you state so definitively that Newton is completely innocent and did nothing wrong, perhaps you should do a little reporting to see what the facts are. Remember, Richard Nixon also claimed he wasn’t a crook.

Bill king is a...............

November 10th, 2010
8:08 am

at Mowreck…..AMEN Brother

VINI

November 10th, 2010
8:09 am

Enter your comments here

Joe

November 10th, 2010
8:10 am

Dooley was and is as honest a man as there can be, Walker had a great car because he worked at a car dealer for years before he went to Georgia.

Don

November 10th, 2010
8:10 am

Richt kicked Mettenberger off the team, and that cost hm 4 games. Auburn’s coaches and the SEC just look the other way when it comes to Cam Newton.

Cam Corleone

November 10th, 2010
8:11 am

Like in The Godfather, the heads of the families need to come to the table together and settle their differences. Killing season must be ended. This Cam Newtown bloodbath can’t be tolerated. It’s just bad business for everyone. You say this about me and my kid, don’t I have to turn around and say something bad about you and your kid? Of course, you do.

As a conference, however, you have to concern yourselves with the greater good of the group. You just can’t have everyone running around whacking each other, declaring open season on each other. They’ll all surely got their revenge on each other, but the business of each and every school and the conference will suffer, and likely very severely.

VININGSDAWG

November 10th, 2010
8:11 am

We better watch they way we taunt, rumor is there another Dawg in trouble. And this isn’t small.

All of these who think this will distract Auburn, I worry the opposite, this will make them pissed off.

Lum

November 10th, 2010
8:12 am

God, our sense of standards, ethics, and morals has disappeared. So, it’s okay to cheat, lie, and steal, as long as you are out of high school? That’s the new way of life, is it?

dap01

November 10th, 2010
8:13 am

Did anyone actually think that Cam Newton had a spotless background?

Don

November 10th, 2010
8:13 am

Tony,

You’re missing the point. Like when you tried to defend Saban’s attack on sports agents, instead of going after the player who accepted the money.

Same deal here. You’re going after the administrator who leaked the information, instead of going after the player, who Schad’s multiple sources is reporting demanded more money than scholarship.

cAM nEWTON, IF THESE STORIES HAVE EVEN A GRAIN OF TRUTH, IF HE ACCEPTED $1 MORE THAN A SCHOLRSHIP, LIKE aj, HE NEEDS TO BE SUSPENDED IMMEDIATELY.

Somebody needs to figure out where his dad got all that money to repair his church.

Hershel

November 10th, 2010
8:14 am

VINI

November 10th, 2010
8:09 am
Enter your comments here OK VINI you must have fat fingers.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:14 am

No one in the SEC get’s scrutinized like Georgia because of 4 writers at this paper. Georgia will have a player stopped for a suspended D. Lic or a past due traffic fine, and this paper will do 10 stories on it and 10 blogs and then the wire services pick it up from them …..and it’s crap. Why isn’t Tim Tucker or Bradley on their way to Mississippi this morning to interview the accuser’s of this pay for play story. Now, that would be a story.

Jan Kemps ghost

November 10th, 2010
8:16 am

Since when do Dawgs of all people get off on talking about integrity?

Jan Kemps ghost

November 10th, 2010
8:17 am

JB you must have forgot about Caleb King blackmailing the girl he owed money to. Oh well, when it is about the dogs (Odell Thurman) we tend to look the other way.

KEEPING IN REAL!!!!!

November 10th, 2010
8:17 am

Where there is smoke there is fire??? The only smoke I see is that someone tried to sell Newton’s services to MSU thats it period. At this point thats all we know….If your a puppy fan you pray to GOD this is a distracts because yall SUCK!!!! Someone above wrote Seems like a parking fine not paid isn’t the worst thing to deal with or a jersey sale you left out a AD WITH RED PANIES (not his wife’s) BETWEEN HIS LEGS PULLED OVER AND GETTING A DUI. then you added I hope it isn’t true for College Football’s sake, BS you hope it’s true and so does alot of other people, if you hoped it was’nt true you wouldn’t have wrote what you did on this blog. My question is what if its not true?

Left to Right

November 10th, 2010
8:18 am

Tony,

Don’t you feel like an idiot now?

How did you get scooped by the New York Times and ESPN? Did you really think they would go with a story like this without solid sourcing? Your obfuscating and excuse making for those involved looks worse and worse as your spin is being rapidly overtaken by emerging information. Quit now while you’re way behind.

Don

November 10th, 2010
8:18 am

NY TIMES, credible source, says Cam Newton left Florida, not because he wouldn’t start against Tebow, but because he cheated academically.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/10/sports/ncaafootball/10auburn.html

Jan Kemps ghost

November 10th, 2010
8:19 am

The only reason that humpers care is because they are playing the Plainsmen. It was the same with Rainey. They complained about Rainey as soon as he became eligiable. I bet if they had beaten Florida, they would be pulling for Rainey to score TD’s this week against Carolina. UGA=Hypocrits.

Michael G.

November 10th, 2010
8:19 am

Tony, why are you going out of your way trying to say there is not a story here, when there obviously is one? Joe Schad of espn is now reporting that the camerons (namly cecil newton) personally sought out cash for his son to play football, and referred inquiries to a “third-party”.

Last week we heard Cam was being pimped out by a “third party”, and now we know it was being done with the knowledge and approval of daddy newton.

Tony, why are you staking you journalistic integrity in trying to claim this is not a story? Are you now willing to admit your mistakes in misreading this situation?

True DAWG

November 10th, 2010
8:19 am

tony you are suggesting sweeping things under the rug buddy!!!!! So what if he cheated-he left fL story closed- but if someone knows that information and wants to tell it its his business- your suggesting the good ole boy cover up system. This is America! We dont like cover-ups!

GTJeff

November 10th, 2010
8:19 am

“What is this, high school?”

No its the SEC. More like middle school.

bdawg

November 10th, 2010
8:20 am

Tony,
I agree on all accounts of coaches leaking private records. That is nothing but a smear campaign and should be dealt with severly. However on the pay for my services allegation, it seems to be some serious smoke coming from the Newton’s. As a dawg supporter, I have been able to get to know some key players around Herschel’s recruitment. I will say there is/was a lot we don’t want hear. This happens, its not good but it does. Watch the 30-30 show on espn about Marcus Dupree, it was very informative into recruiting. The investigation into Cam Newton is in overdrive. There are more allegations every day that it continues. It may just be that, allegations. I hope this turns out well for all partys involved, the SEC, Auburn and the Newtons. Good luck Tigers, see you Saturday. GOOOO DAWGS!!!!!

War Probation Eagle

November 10th, 2010
8:21 am

Poor Tony B, forced to defend corruption and cheating (Auburn) just so one of his precious SEC teams gets to play for the BCS title. If it ends up being Oregon vs. TCU, Tony B’s head might explode. Tony B, you better start making your case for a 2-loss Bama team to bypass all of the undefeateds so your good ol’ boys (Slive, Saban, Spurrier) can claim another title for the conference.

logan

November 10th, 2010
8:22 am

ever heard of the southwestern conference? they spent some time recognized as a powerful force in college football, but eventually tore up each others a-holes to the point that the whole confence fell apart due to the dissension between the member institutions. that’s where this is headed, not today, but down the road, if the commish of the sec doesnt take strong action to quell the onslaught of accusations.
im an auburn alum, and if cam or someone associated with cam did accept money or solicited money, then whatever the appropriate penalty is should be enforced. but until these so-called journalists provide the names of their sources to substantiate their allegations, i will choose to believe in cam. and please refrain from discussing academic violations or unpaid parking tickets. i had a slew of parking tickets myself as a student at auburn, and if you attended any university and drove a car, you did too. if cam violated the honor code at Florida, and transferred to avoid being brought before the student committee, it has no bearing as to whether he accepted money or solicited money for his services as a football player. it has everything to do with painting him in a bad light and making it easier for “journalists” to sell their unsubstantiated stories.

Dumb A$$

November 10th, 2010
8:22 am

Well if the NY Times says its true it must be. NOT!

King Gator

November 10th, 2010
8:23 am

AJ Green scratches head and says why’d I do it for $1k… I should have gotten PAID!! Go Gators!

Dooley the Vol

November 10th, 2010
8:23 am

Wow, maybe Kiffy the wonder boy actually did something right. He backed off Cam and signed Simms. I never thought I would be happy with anything the old regime did, or in this case did not do.

SimpleDawg

November 10th, 2010
8:23 am

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if all of the allegations are true…..

There will probably be no resolution to any of this until after the season.

And then the heads will roll……

Paul in RDU

November 10th, 2010
8:24 am

Tony – I am not a big fan of yours, but this column is excellent and is one of your best. Bravo

King Gator

November 10th, 2010
8:25 am

I hope AU wins them all, Cam wins the Hiesman and then during the presentation turns down the trophy and says I took the $$ and I’m going to the NFL and the SEC, NCAA, etc can kiss his 1st round contract butt! Go Gators!

New York Time$

November 10th, 2010
8:26 am

This just breaking: UGA AD Greg McGarrity who was at the University of Florida when Scam Newton was in Gainesville, leaked the information to help the Glorious Bull(S)Dawgs.

Bama Fan #2

November 10th, 2010
8:27 am

$Cam Newton# is going to bury the cow college and I for one will ENJOY every minute of it!!
WELCOME TO PROBATION BOYS!! THANK YOU MSU AND FLORIDA!!

OkefenokeeDawg

November 10th, 2010
8:27 am

I think we know that Cam got caught cheating. He and his coach faced the media yesterday, and Cam wouldn’t talk about it. Obviously, if he hadn’t got caught, he would have said, “it’s a damn lie!”

But, as far as the cheating charges go, like Tony says, so what?

But, if the NCAA finds a money trail to Cam or his family from Auburn or anybody associated to Auburn, this great season will turn into an embarrassment. I hope not.

I hope if Auburn beats UGA, it runs the table and beats Oregon.

KEEPING IN REAL!!!!!

November 10th, 2010
8:27 am

All of you do know that Cams older brother plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars!!! So the money could have come from him!! Just a crazy thought. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that because that doesn’t fit the media’s or all the haters templet…….

ATL is NOT Tiger Town

November 10th, 2010
8:28 am

Below from Andy Staples on CNN.com…. I think there IS some doubt on whether Newton actually stole the laptop, based on the conflicting statements on how much he paid for it. And he wasn’t exactly cleared of the charges, he copped a plea.

“Newton has himself admitted that while a student at Florida in 2008, he threw a stolen laptop out the window of his dorm room when police came to question him about it. Newton has repeatedly denied stealing the laptop, which was taken from an unlocked room in Florida’s Springs Complex dorm. Newton told SI.com in April that he bought the laptop for $120. Later, he told ESPN.com he bought it for “about $500.” Newton entered a pre-trial diversion program that settled the legal matter.”

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andy_staples/11/09/cam-newton-cheating-allegations/index.html?eref=sihp#ixzz14sy1UsTK