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

Dr. Love

November 10th, 2010
8:29 am

Why is Newton “untouchable” to the AJC? If he were a UGA player, yall would be fanning the flames (see A. J. Green, Ealey, King, etc.).

OkefenokeeDawg

November 10th, 2010
8:32 am

Bama Ran #2,

Haha! It’s sure fitting that you are “welcoming” Auburn to probation. Bama’s the poster-child of NCAA probation. Bet Bama has been “on probation” more years than “off probation” in the last 15 years . . .

Whoa, slow down, plus a memory

November 10th, 2010
8:32 am

A post here starts with ” he is likely guilty of something” and folks, in the USA, we don’t go with stuff like that. Just the opposite it is in the USA …………. innocent UNTIL proved guilty. Come on folks. Let the sytem play out.

UGA man here. I hope that we can do another UGA/Aubrun replica game ala 1970. The AJC Sunday headline back then was “Folks came to Auburn wondering where they would go ( TOP bowls ) and left wondering where UGA had been. UGA entered that game around 4-5. Sound familiar??? The alumni AND the UGA students ( one I was ) wanted Vince Dooley fired ……..BEFORE the game.

UGA that day ran the ball and ran the ball and ran the ball AND with a second team QB Paul Gilbert of Athens. They had Hesiman hopeful Pat Sullivan ( I really admired him and still do ) and wide out Terry Beasley and a great tight end.UGA won that day in Auburn like 38-21.

Class of 1971 & 73

Coach Mark "Helen Hunt Look a like" Rick

November 10th, 2010
8:32 am

Now do you see why we didn’t recruit this thug? We would rather have upstanding citizens like Christian LeMay. Uh….hold on a minute on that one please.

King Gator

November 10th, 2010
8:35 am

Coach Grantham just seen making “check please” sign in response to Cam Newton not choking vs UGA.

3rdN8

November 10th, 2010
8:36 am

OkefenokeeDawg

We seem to thrive on probation. But I have noticed that our WRs are slowed up a little by those ankle things.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:38 am

I’m yawning……………………I’m yawning some more……………………Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……..Great commercial……

merculf

November 10th, 2010
8:38 am

IS anyone looking into Cam’s initial recruitment to UF? If all of this is true than surely it didn’t start AFTER he left UF.How much did UF pay to get him to begin with? There has to be a pattern right? Can’t change..pardon the expression.. the stripes on a Tiger.

OkefenokeeDawg

November 10th, 2010
8:38 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”
*********************************************
JB,

You’re exactly right. If there was a sniff of a pay-to-play story at UGA, the AJC would hire Bernstein and Woodward to come down and write an expose on it.

Anybody other than UGA, we’ll ignore it.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:40 am

Back to the game…….My Dawgs will edge up to help with the run, Cam will pull up and stop and “flip” the Ball 60 yards to a wide open receiver for 6…………..That’s the nightmare I keep having

Coach Mark "Helen Hunt Look a like" Rick

November 10th, 2010
8:40 am

mercough, he went there because most teams were recruiting him as a TE. How much did UGA pay to get AJ? It didnt start with the jersey did it?

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
8:41 am

Really interesting the Joe Shad report that aired on ESPN. Looks to me like the witch hunt might be getting close to the witch-Rev Newton appears to be involved more that first noted according to the Shad reports. This appears to be getting ugly for AU.

UGA recruiting coordinator

November 10th, 2010
8:42 am

Guess how much money we gave for Christian LeMays daddy’s church for renovation?

Big D

November 10th, 2010
8:42 am

As others have pointed out why did the SEC office sit on the story? This appears to be rotten and while you are pointing fingers how about the media. I saw you on ESPN yesterday mentioning sources but you did not name them. My opinion anyone in the media that repeats, and you did, a source said should be made to give the source or shut up. Now let the FBI look into it and media shut up.

Robert

November 10th, 2010
8:43 am

Where there’s smoke, there’s Meyer.

DawginLex

November 10th, 2010
8:43 am

Funny thing is Newton or Chizik never said that Newton didn’t cheat at Florida. Newton skated around it. Chizik just talked about his time at Auburn.

BIRDDAWGONE

November 10th, 2010
8:45 am

I never understood why an SEC fan would want another SEC school to go on Probation or get investigated by the NCAA, it just makes your conference look bad.
I wish reporters at the AJC were held to the same standards that you are preaching.

[...] Conventional Wisdom says it’s time for Mike Slive to lay down the law in the Newton matter.  No, not about rogue boosters offering recruits [...]

ga gator

November 10th, 2010
8:45 am

DawginLex, his time at AU is the only thing that is relevant. If the stories are true about him leaving UF because of cheating, he paid is pentence in JC and the only thing that is relevant is the recruitment at AU.

Dawgs2010

November 10th, 2010
8:46 am

Tony, please take your mouth off of Newton’s butt. I know Tebow isn’t around for you suck up to, but come on. Newton is a low-life thug and the Auburn needs to be punished for something. If AJ Green gets four games for selling a jersey what about Newton?

Personally I think you, TONY, are a fat piece of garbage and hope you drop dead on live television.

Family

November 10th, 2010
8:47 am

@ rokdawg

Hey moron, do a little bit of research before you post all of those ALLEGATIONS.
1. Newton never STOLE a laptop, he was guilty of buying stolen property, which was a laptop, and than throwing it out the window upon being questioned. Big difference. He Definitely wasnot a choir boy and a saint at Florida, but get your accusations right.

2. The ALLEGATIONS are that he cheated at Florida. Which very well might be true, and truthfully wouldnt shock me if they were. However, LaMichael James at Oregon was CONVICTED two years ago for choking and beating up his girlfriend. You don’t see ESPN and Fox Sports telling that story do you? Because Urban Creyer and his lil sissy boy Dan Mullen arent pumping that to them. Don’t know about you, but I’ll take cheating on a few tests/papers (which we all did) over an assault conviction on a female any day.

3. Again, allegations. If and when someone shows me telephone records and or financial statements reflecting these ALLEGATIONS, then I will agree with and support the hammer that comes down on Newton and Auburn. But until that day, the stars are too well aligned as to what all of this is, a smear campaign.

I believe in God, family, friends, and Auburn……….and love it!

War Eagle

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:47 am

Well, there’s only one thing left to do. AU needs to bench the young man until cleared . …….ha ha ha hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…… LMAO…………… Why doesn’t the SEC man up and pull him until cleared……Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……..Because they want a SEC in the big Game also…….All kidding aside, let’s all hope there is nothing to this, …but……..if true…………..AU is in deep you know what

Roaddawg80

November 10th, 2010
8:48 am

SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT-

Last week you make a story about Grantham that was blown way out of proportion by you and called for him to be FIRED!

and…

This week you are saying this is a non story and there is NOW evidence in hand and you once again are calling for someone who leaked information to be fired. Talk about being power hungary!

That is why you are now lumped with all the other great AJC sports writers! How pathetic!

The voice from on High

November 10th, 2010
8:50 am

Dawgs2010

You forgot to mention that AJ IS A LIAR FOR DENYING THAT HE DID ANYTHING WRONG. Obviously Richt didnt believe him or he would have played.

ratherBgambling

November 10th, 2010
8:50 am

Great article Tony.

I find it a bit of a stretch that Cam could ask for 200K before he did anything on the field. He could get 200K now, not then.

mcdaviddawg

November 10th, 2010
8:50 am

While I love SEC football, this can go wherever it needs to. With at least two qtr backs in the league coming from situations where they had to leave there previous schools, the picture the SEC is not pretty. If we don’t want these kind of stories than the football teams need to act like they represent their attached institution. In fact many consider the colleges as invasions into their world. Let the chips fall where they may.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
8:50 am

@KEEPING IN REAL!!!!!

Cecil Jr. has been put forward by Cecil Sr. as the source of the church remodeling funds. It is true that Cecil Jr. “plays” in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean that he is wealthy. He was not drafted. He was signed by Jacksonville in April of 2009 as an undrafted free agent. He was then cut from the team in September and he re-signed with Jax the next day as member of the team’s practice squad. He was subsequently promoted to the active roster in December of 2009.

He is not a multi-million dollar player. His expenses probably consume the lion’s share of his salary. There are higher paid NFL players who are currently in dire financial straits.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:51 am

Maybe we’ll get some more stories about Grantham this week doing a choke sign to a kicker……..Boy, that a story the SEC ought to look into…….Geez

justwow$$$

November 10th, 2010
8:51 am

Agree with Big D @ 8:42 This even looks like the SEC office is dirty.God lord this may get ugly,ugly!!!

bamafan

November 10th, 2010
8:51 am

Folks – the federal privacy laws regarding student records do not apply to persons who have this information and gained it outside of their official duties. All that is required is for someone with no duty of care to have knowledge that Cam Newton was in trouble academically. This can happen with a leak from someone with a duty to not do so or it can come from a friend who knew that Cam Newton was facing academic sanctions. The fact that this info is now apparently public knowledge does not mean that there was a leak and does not mean that there is a violation of law. Tony – beginning to lose patience with you: First, Grantham needs a fine for his stupidity (an azz chewing was in order but who knows whether Mark Richt would do it?) and now you have indicted folks in Florida for illegal leaks of protected student information when the only evidence is that the information is now in the public domain. Remember, Mike Slive is a lawyer and you aren’t. I wouldn’t go to an auto mechanic for an illness and I sure wouldn’t see a sportwriter/blogger for a legal problem.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:52 am

Any odds on him not playing Saturday?

jumbeauxtiger

November 10th, 2010
8:53 am

Good article Tony. I find it hard to believe that any coaches would have confirmed the cheating incidents. That would be dumb on their part. I would imagine they are busy anyway getting ready for the Gators’ biggest game of the season. Like other posters have said, there is no tellling how many other people knew about this.

I don’t think anything that Newton did at Florida has any relevance now. However the pay for play accusations do. I have a feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Sam

November 10th, 2010
8:53 am

WOW!

Did I read one of you SEC blowhards saw “time to shut the whistleblowers down”??

I for one think that Cam Newton is totally devoid of integrity and do not feel bad for him that all of this is coming out. The SEC doesn’t need to keep its people quiet and in line, it NEEDS TO STOP CHEATING!

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
8:54 am

JB,

To late to sit Cam now. Let him play.If he is found guilty it will cost AU Football 10 games anyway.Ride it out and see what happens.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:54 am

well said Bamafan

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
8:54 am

IF… and I emphasize IF because we don’t know yet, these latest allegations are true and have been known since January then we won’t be hearing from Auburn for quite awhile. This would be the ultimate pathetic little brother move- big brother just won a MNC and is getting all the attention so we’ll grab this laptop thievin’, school cheatin’, bribe acceptin’ QB and play him during the investigation, all for one year of glory. Seriously- if this is true and Auburn knew before the season but played him anyway, how can you look at it as anything else?

3rdN8

November 10th, 2010
8:54 am

I hate stories like this. It is bad for Newton, Auburn, the SEC, and College football. But apparently this is not going away.

Here’s the dilema Auburn faces:

– Bama was slammed by the NCCA when a car dealer (Bama booster) in Memphis payed some high school coaches to assist in the recruitment of a player named Albert Means.

- Texas A&M was slammed by the NCCA when it turned out that a Dallas car dealer was found to have paid four A&M players for summer jobs, when they actually show up for work.

- The University of Washington was slammed by the NCCA when it turned out that a Seatle car dealer made a loan to a senior Washington QB, using his future NFL contract as collateral.

If I were Auburn, I’d be checking into car dealers.

ratherBgambling

November 10th, 2010
8:55 am

Family-

You want to talk about allegations? Meyer has denied any involvement, you and other Gator haters are spewing this ALLEGATION…………..hypocrites

Urban Myer

November 10th, 2010
8:56 am

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s Myer.
******************************
You better watch you mouth, boy! “You and me will going at it!”

I’m a baaaaaad man!

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5025822&source=ESPNUHeadlines

Gen Neyland

November 10th, 2010
8:57 am

Roaddawg80 : RE : Grantham. I read FINED, not FIRED. Did I miss something there or did you..? If I did, my bad.

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
8:58 am

ratherBgambling

November 10th, 2010
8:50 am
Great article Tony.

I find it a bit of a stretch that Cam could ask for 200K before he did anything on the field. He could get 200K now, not then.

Any scout could see that the guy is a beast with the ball in his hands. He was pretty much a unanimous choice for top JUCO recruit.

Bama Fan #2

November 10th, 2010
8:59 am

I hate Auburn just like 9 out 10 bama fans but what really makes me dislike the cow college
is when Saban got the job at Alabama AU fans started Operation Red Dog trying to say that
Bama was buying players in Alabama and giving them Dodge cars. Funny thing the shame
story took a funny ending stopped by the AU athletic dept when they were getting stories
about Auburn boosters PAYING for recruits!! RTR

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:59 am

Money……………..When Dooley,Shug,Bear,Majors coached, they all made about 100K a year, maybe.
You could sign 200 players…..No need to pay…Bear had 25 RB’s on the roster…………..Ahh, the good ole day’s…..75 million dollars in Revenue and 4 mil. dollar coach’s make people do crazy things !

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
9:02 am

BAMA dude,

This Cam thing is getting uglier by the day.Did you happen to see the ESPN 30 ro 30 program on Marcus Dupree last night? Sounds a little like what is going on with Cam at AU right now.

Family

November 10th, 2010
9:04 am

@rather Bgambling
Dude, I could care less about what you cheesy, jort wearing, gold chain, Floridians do. Good for you have a great time with it. Though I cant prove it, just like NO ONE can PROVE any of these allegations against Newton and Auburn, I do believe Urban and Mullen to be behind this.

However, you are correct, this entire situation, at this point, is nothing more than allegations and media drivel.

Gen Neyland

November 10th, 2010
9:04 am

MURPHY : RE your 0854 to JB made me think that if Auburn is successful on the gridiron, it seems some 6 headed beast rears it’s ugly head and takes a bite out of their glory. Gotta be hexed…

TallyDawg

November 10th, 2010
9:05 am

Since when can a college student get caught cheating multiple times (not to mention criminal actions) and merely leave one school and transfer to another without any repercusions or consequences? Do the wrongs just go away if you drop out of your current school and apply at another. Wish I’d known that when I was in school. I was under the mistaken impression that my actions had consequences and were part of my record.

FAQS

November 10th, 2010
9:06 am

Reading the comments from UGA fans this morning, I hope Auburn wins by 700. I hope Cam Newton runs for 400 yards and 11 scores. Actually, I hope Cam Newton reads these comments. I’ve seen him play inspired football – I have yet to see him play angry football.

Oh, by the way, I am an agent and I promised AJ Greene I could get him $500,000 if he signed with Georgia. I’m a source. You can quote me in the papers. And I wrote his midterm. And I paid his parking tickets. And I bought him liquor and hookers. See all that smoke? There just HAS to be fire.

Listen folks, anyone can pick up the phone and claim that he/she has inside knowledge of a scandal. None of the reporters involved have done anything other than quote them in the paper. No research – no identification – no actual FACTS!! The only thing they have to go on is someone saying he claims to have known. The FIRTS story (Bond – Rogers) has already had huge holes poked in it (they never even spoke with each other, totally contradicting what Bond first claimed). The second story – if he cheated on exams at Florida – doesn’t affect Auburn. That could affect hi eligibility at Florida. Once he transferred to Blinn JC, that story was over. Then parking tickets? Seriously? Parking tickets? And now, another “unnamed source” has information that he wanted cash. If you’ve got inside information – come out with it. Produce evidence. Don’t give me more of this he said-she said garbage.

jj

November 10th, 2010
9:06 am

drive by dawg is right…

it really amazes me that if allegations or penalties happen to another team outside the sec then tony loves it, but if its with a darling for the sec he gets livid. tony, you are a hypocrit. pete carroll also said reggie did nothing wrong just like mr gene is spitting out loud. where there is smoke there is fire.

AU bounty hunter

November 10th, 2010
9:08 am

anyone know the whereabouts of Tide Rising? haven’t seen him since he said before last wknd that bama would run the table. the judge wants him to show up and take it like a man.