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

OkefenokeeDawg

November 10th, 2010
9:36 am

“Haters, When you meet Cam Newton on Auburns campus he is quick with a smile and a handshake.”
***************************
By all accounts, so was Reggie bush . . .

Yet another GT idiot

November 10th, 2010
9:36 am

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.

You must think getting a bj from a student and stealing someones property are the same. You must be an idiot.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
9:36 am

@JB

Why are you implying that the University of Alabama has anything to do with this story? Whatever the facts are, it is obvious that this whole affair revolves around Florida,Mississippi State and Auburn.

As the allegations continue to mount, it is obvious that much more is known about this situation than has yet been revealed. In hindsight, there are many problems with the Cam Newton rehabilitation story that was generated by the Auburn PR Department last Spring after Newton signed with Auburn.

The first unexplained anomaly was the manner in which Cam left Florida. The Newtons said that he “chose” to leave after Tebow decided to remain for his Senior season. Then it was revealed that Cam had already resigned from Florida well before Tim Tebow ever made that decision. Why did the Newtons lie about this?

The allegations about academic problems should not have been revealed by anyone employed by the University of Florida, and yet (as has been pointed out by several posters) the source for this story could well have been a friend or teammate of Cam’s. If the story were not true, then why didn’t Cam explicitly deny the charges during his press conference yesterday, rather than refusing to comment? We are left to believe that Cam only left Florida because Urban Meyer didn’t think that he had the talent to play for the Gators. I’m not buying Urban’s preference for Brantley based upon athletic ability alone. That dog just don’t hunt. I can respect Meyer’s decision to let sleeping dogs lie and allow the kid a second chance at a Junior College. Had he stayed at Blinn, all of his previous problems at Florida would have been a non-story. But his Dad knew that a career at Blinn (even with a National Championship) wouldn’t garner Cam a first round NFL contract.

The next big anomaly was the sudden, late decision to go to Auburn, after Cam had all but committed to MSU. It is true that Auburn has a better football pedigree than MSU, historically speaking, but in 2010, the programs were on fairly equal footing. MSU was on the rise with Coach Mullen taking over the program and Auburn was still in the process of putting together the pieces of their football program after Tuberville’s chaotic exit. The head-to-head match-up between these teams implies that MSU would have beaten Auburn with Cam Newton on the opposite sideline.

Did MSU pay for Newton’s services and get shafted? I dunno. Did Auburn (not the institution, but a booster) pay for Newton’s services? Again, I dunno. I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that Auburn committed no recruiting violations related to Cam Newton, but if any shopping was going on, then Cam is ineligible — even if he personally had no knowledge of the shopping.

Auburn fans argue that the timing of this story is suspect. I’m more inclined to believe that the writers merely wanted all of their ducks in a row before they exposed the story to the public. I can see why the SEC would want to sweep this story under the rug, but it’s out now and I only expect more to be revealed in the coming days and weeks. Too many things just don’t add up.

McDawg

November 10th, 2010
9:38 am

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
9:39 am

I obviously don’t know what will come of all this, but the FBI getting involves definitely turns up the heat on the story. I don’t see this ending well at this point.

FAQS

November 10th, 2010
9:39 am

Idiot doesn’t know more and more sources are coming out with the same story….hahah

Just another ‘anti Auburn’ conspiracy…

Dirty Dawg

November 10th, 2010
9:39 am

I don’t know what the truth of any of this is and neither does anybody else posting here. What I do believe is that some of the ‘motivations’ that Barnhardt listed in the middle of his piece seem reasonably legitimate and I’m not surprised that people that may, indeed, know something feel that the world should know the truth – and I don’t mean distortions of the truth like we just experienced during this political campaign.

As for the SEC and Tony’s comment about it not happening elsewhere…not sure what he meant by that either given the Reggie Bush mess and that Mezoli – or whatever his name is – guy that’s now at Ole Miss…or all the crap that the ACC has had to endure – North Carolina, FSU, Miami – you name it. The thing that gets me is that too many of these kids get to thinking that their crap doesn’t stink and that they can cut corners and even break the law and get away with it….and then after some passing of time – or in the case of Mezoli, no passing of time – can resume their careers as if nothing happened. Here’s Ole Miss gong out of its way to get a proven QB into school that had been kicked out of Oregon for another ‘lap-top’ episode…SEC schools rationalized that young Cam Newton, regardless of his past transgressions and because he was an unbelievable athlete, was a new man and worthy of a scholarship offer…and now I hear that still more SEC schools have decided that Zack Mettlenburger’s (sp?) little channeling of Big Ben by sexually assaulting a coed at Valdosta State, and lying about it, but has had a terrific year in JC somewhere in Kansas, is now also ‘forgiven’ (sound familiar?) and they’d love to have him come ‘throw’ for them. To me, that’s where the issue lies. Schools that haven’t as yet met their ‘embarrassment’ quota over kid’s behavior that rationalize their way into situations like this. Auburn, if you knew this stuff and convinced yourselves that the risk was worth it, then you deserve whatever happens when the ‘truth outs’…if you didn’t, then your compliance people have let you down…regardless, I hope it all works out and I hope the young man plays out the season and I hope Georgia beats ‘em this Saturday and Alabama later on and LSU loses to Florida or South Carolina in the SEC Championship and TCU or Boise State plays Oregon in the NC game. Maybe that’ll force the ‘powers’ to make some more changes in deciding how the NC should be determined.

JB

November 10th, 2010
9:39 am

Cam Watch @9:36……Tell me please where I posted anything about Bama this AM…..There is another JB on here who signs off at the bottom with HBTD….every time….

murfdawg

November 10th, 2010
9:40 am

Isn’t it interesting that all this comes out after Bama gets beat by USC and LSU and they are out of the MNC conversation. Isn’t it interesting that all this comes out after Ingram is not even a whisper in the Heisman conversation. Who is always jealous of anything that little brother Aubie does? Not MSU, not UF, not UGA. Slive needs to look out his window toward Tuscaloosa.

Gatorhater

November 10th, 2010
9:40 am

Tony,
It did happen in the PacTen with Reggie Bush. Let’s hope the NCAA moves more swiftly this time around. I agree the whole thing is suspect and the release of the academic performance records/alleged cheating, for this student is shameful.
It would probably be a good idea for Slive to get involved. Hopefully, he would also hold those found to be guilty, responsible.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
9:40 am

WDE,

I dont think his personality has been questioned here.I thinks its cool the way interacts with the fan’s.He is a very likeable guy.I seem to have the opinion most of these issue were caused by his father.This opinion is just from the media reports I have read.

GT Nerd

November 10th, 2010
9:41 am

You mean, getting a bj is legal?

Mike

November 10th, 2010
9:42 am

I agree with rokdawg: Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. Come on NCAA, put this to bed quickly before the crap slinging gets any worse.

murfdog

November 10th, 2010
9:43 am

murfdawg

November 10th, 2010
9:40 am
Isn’t it interesting that all this comes out after Bama gets beat by USC and LSU and they are out of the MNC conversation….

Ahh. No.

Investigation has been ongoing for weeks. Keep trying to deflect from the ‘pay for play’ player…

Jim

November 10th, 2010
9:44 am

The Newtons will not sue anyone, not now or ever. They will never EVER bring this case to a courtroom. I can guarantee you that. Not sure what Barnhart has at stake here, why he is so adamant about purporting the “Cam is such an innocent victim” side of this….could be the CBS affiliation since Verne and Gary pretty much deified Newton on TV each Saturday. But, you can say that laws were broken etc…but I can promise you this: The Newtons will never put this story in a courtroom. So you can call this slander, violation of federal privacy laws, whatever….but the truth is that the Newtons want this to go away as soon as possible. This publicity was never part of the deal.

GT Nerd

November 10th, 2010
9:44 am

GT Nerd

November 10th, 2010
9:41 am
You mean, getting a bj is legal?

If that is so, I won’t have to do it to myself anymore…

Gatorzone

November 10th, 2010
9:45 am

TallyDawg, your name would not be Jason/David would it?

SEC LEAST

November 10th, 2010
9:46 am

Hey Tony, do you get a vote in what will replace the SEC championships this year?

With all the cheating and the laughable play of the teams in the SEC Least, I hear they are considering an All-U-Can-Eat Fried Fish contest with Fat Phil as promoter and judge. That would at least give rocky top something to finally cheer about and would be more entertaining than the Monster Truck or Gun&Knife shows they are considering.

Joe Bob Thibodaux

November 10th, 2010
9:46 am

THANK YOU MR. COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

CAM is the best college football player in the nation at this time, so he attracts distractors. He seems to have made some mistakes earlier in life, but the past is the past, and his time at BLINN, Texas, should release him from his past transgressions. He wasn’t prosecuted.

I suppport CAM for Heisman. He should not be presumed anything. If allegations were anything, then these AJC blogs could prevent anyone from playing football.

THIS IS AMERICA.

GO LSU TIGERS!

JBT

Dawg Gonnit

November 10th, 2010
9:46 am

So USC received a slap on the wrist and Reggie Bush had to return the Heisman how many years after the actual infractions occurred? And in that situation, the whole world KNEW his family got paid. If there is any kind of money trail to Cam’s family, nothing is going to come of it any time soon. Let’s play ball, end the season and move on. I for one want to see if the Dawgs can beat Auburn with Cam. If we don’t I hope Cam and Auburn win out. Go Dawgs!!

Bama12

November 10th, 2010
9:47 am

Cam should have known the famous Auburn statement from Sixty Minutes Keep it down home CUZ!!!

Alpha Dawg

November 10th, 2010
9:47 am

Tony,
What federal privacy law are you referring to? I’m not aware of any law that criminalizes leaking information about someone cheating.

JB

November 10th, 2010
9:47 am

Georgia, at 5-5, has no dog in this hunt except to try and salvage a horrible season. If we were say 9-1, there would be lot’s on the table. I do know there are 3 teams in the SEC who are pulling for the DAWGS BIG TIME this weekend……

Georgia

November 10th, 2010
9:47 am

m… your a complete phag.

Duh'Quan Poohkraine

November 10th, 2010
9:48 am

Notice that Florida was involved in both instances! What a scum bag program they run down there… PATHETIC.

GT Nerd

November 10th, 2010
9:48 am

Georgia

November 10th, 2010
9:47 am
m… your a complete phag.

I know, but is giving yourself a bj illegal?

takedowndawg

November 10th, 2010
9:49 am

Bill, so what you are saying is when an SEC team dominates an ACC team in an inter conference game, we are paying off the referees? That type of logic is very little league on your part. Face it, the coaches in the SEC are among the best in the nation as are its athletes. Look how other conferences have faired against the SEC in the past 10-15 years(with very few exceptions). Ohio State for example. They dominate their conference, year after year, but fall far short when facing an SEC opponent. They have the nations largest student enrollment and largest athletic budget to work with. Their budget dwarfs most 1A school’s budget with the exception of Florida and USC/CA. An yet the SEC has their number. You wonder why the SEC has so many teams that DON’T go undefeated within conference; there is a reason for that. The level of competition is the primary reason both on a coaching level and player level. Sure, Bill, the SEC cheats!!!! Sure, you are on the right track!!! Please Bill, think a little deeper. I believe that you can.

Snack Shack

November 10th, 2010
9:49 am

Help me to understand….you’ve written a story condemning an unknown person who “leaked” information to a media person, who, in turn wrote a story about this unsupported information….is that right? Now you advocate a “come to Jesus” meeting orchestrated by the SEC Commissioner…to include, who? Media people, who started the process from the beginning? BS!
I use to have a semblence of respect for your sports knowledge and writings, sir, but you lost me forever with the article you wrote about Grantham. You’re just like the rest of the media…and lawyers…will do anything to further your income.

GT Nerd

November 10th, 2010
9:50 am

Duh’Quan Poohkraine

November 10th, 2010
9:48 am
Notice that Florida was involved in both instances! What a scum bag program they run down there… PATHETIC.

And you were not suprised when the proud UF played a felon against UGA? Then the gator fans try to compare a felony to a speeding ticket.

Another Dawg

November 10th, 2010
9:50 am

And here I thought Barnhart had figured something out on his own. Oh well.

Here’s the real scoop on breaking federal law: the Birmingham US Attorney’s office is launching an investigation into fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy. At the very least, Newton is going to wind up inelligible. If he dodges that bullet, he’ll have to lie to federal investigators (a little charge called perjury.)

And there are likely hundreds of people who had knowledge of Cam Newton’s academic dishonesty; no one leaked records, they leaked rumors. Want to know how you know it’s all true? How mum was his snake father was when asked about it? “I wasn’t there.” Hilarious.

Snoop Dawg

November 10th, 2010
9:51 am

Barnhardt…federal laws dont cover rumors coming from athletes and students…just happens the rumor was true. But all Newts prior history should be taken into account for the Heisman. He’s not a role-model.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
9:51 am

@JB

References to Bear Bryant and to Nick Saban’s salary strike me as implication that Bama is somehow involved in this story. Alabama has had their own problems in the past, but this story doesn’t involve Bear Bryant, Nick Saban or the University of Alabama.

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 !

Amelia Island

November 10th, 2010
9:51 am

)))) 51-7 (((((

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

FAQs

November 10th, 2010
9:51 am

To the other person posting as FAQS, nice originality.

And yes – more and more “sources” are coming out. I have 800 friends that will come out soon and support the fact that AJ Greene signed for a $500,000 payday. I can get hundreds of “sources” too.

Rob

November 10th, 2010
9:52 am

Great post, Tony. You hit the nail on the head.

RJ

November 10th, 2010
9:52 am

Tony
If Cam cheated 2 years ago then it shows him and his dad might be cheating now with his signing with Auburn.With every coming out of Miss St lets let the NCAA investigate.While it may be aginst the law to leak info it also shows he might have cheated before so why not cheat now too.

lewisiii@gmail.com

November 10th, 2010
9:55 am

Tony, honestly I don’t think Mike Slive survives this. Based on what’s been released so far, it appears the SEC was notified of recruiting issues early in 2010, whether by MSU, Auburn or both. The SEC permitted Auburn to do it’s own investigation and didn’t pass the info on to the NCAA. Surprise, Auburn finds no wrongdoing and Cam stays eligible and plays.

Either more info leaked out, or Meyer/Mullen/someone is upset the allegations didn’t go anywhere and contacts the NCAA and this thing starts heating up again. Slive said his first priority was to ensure no schools were on probation. I guess he wanted to sweep this under the rug.

It means nothing for Auburn’s AD or coaches to repeat “Cam is eligible”. They did their own investigation. NCAA is digging deeper, and they don’t need a hell of a lot of proof or admissions from Coaches to be convinced something happened. See USC.

Auburn will burn.

scary

November 10th, 2010
9:55 am

got a word for ya Tony, nobody is afraid of you, you don’t run anything and you do not have the authority….the Lawyer up part was pretty comical though…

DawginLex

November 10th, 2010
9:56 am

Revised SEC standings if Newton is declared ineligible

LSU 9-0
Arkansas 8-1
KY 6-4
MSU 8-1
Ole miss 5-4

UGA might have to play Auburn with an eligible QB. They would be the only team to do so thus far. Just our luck.

Les Miles is behind all of this.

DawginLex

November 10th, 2010
9:57 am

And south Carolina is now 7-2

Get Real Tony

November 10th, 2010
10:00 am

Tony, there are plenty of stories that aren’t relevant to a student athletes eligibility. Do you want them all gone? Your own employer, the AJC, frequently writes anything possible about UGA players’ university discipline. You didn’t get upset at that.

jumbeauxtiger

November 10th, 2010
10:01 am

Bamadude,

You said the FBI is involved. Where did you see that at as I must have missed it.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
10:03 am

Gatorzone

November 10th, 2010
10:03 am

Snack Shack

November 10th, 2010
9:49 am
Help me to understand….you’ve written a story condemning an unknown person who “leaked” information to a media person, who, in turn wrote a story about this unsupported information….is that right? Now you advocate a “come to Jesus” meeting orchestrated by the SEC Commissioner…to include, who? Media people, who started the process from the beginning? BS!

My thoughts EXACTLY!

What a Hack!

JASon

November 10th, 2010
10:04 am

“But if the story is true, somebody just broke federal privacy laws in releasing that information.”

But that’s not going to stop you from writing about it. You media people are the scum of the earth.

What?

November 10th, 2010
10:04 am

Attention bob at 7:56…Please spare me the comparisons of College Football to slavery. It is not like College Football coaches board the Amistad, sail to Africa, capture, and bring the players over here at gunpoint. Sweet lord man. Do you not think that these players lives are improved by playing college football–even if they don’t make it to the NFL?

You should be embarrassed for making such a comment. WTF is wrong with you anyway?

RJ

November 10th, 2010
10:04 am

Enter your comments here

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
10:06 am

DawginLex,

What a mess this will be if they wait untill next year to act on any wrong doing.Could cost some of Auburn,s opponents alot of money if it’s not straightend out soon.

Don

November 10th, 2010
10:06 am

When I was a young boy during World War II the army used to come on the street where my uncle lived and they used artificial smoke and would smoke up the neighborhood. It was a practice session and the smoke was not caused by fire but by artificial means. So where there is smoke there is not always a fire and those who think that are pretty immature and childish. I believe this is all a smoke screen to try to get in the heads of the Auburn football players. It will not work because of the coaching staff at Auburn. They are good at their job and will stay the path. Dream on Bama and GA fans but the freight train is coming.

The Grinch

November 10th, 2010
10:06 am

Kind of makes all the nonsense in yesterday’s blogs about how Mark Richt screwed up by recruiting Newton as a TE seem rather irrelevant, now doesn’t it?