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

Vu Du Huong

November 10th, 2010
10:41 am

I’ve read and re read your article several times Tony and always end up scratching my head from being bewildered and confused. It appears your bottom line is this: If Cam cheats, thats his business/ no big deal and If anyone tells it then he should be punished. It sure makes good fotter to stir up bloggers but I hope and trust you really didn’t mean it.

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
10:41 am

AltamahaDawg

November 10th, 2010
10:39 am
Who is about to see his “best in the history of college football, back to back NC” team not even win thier conference division?

Who called this team the best ever? Last year wasn’t even the best Bama team ever. Personally, I’d have to say the 2001 Miami Hurricanes had the best squad. Hard to argue with six first round picks in the next draft.

npgator

November 10th, 2010
10:41 am

Some of you people are just plain idiots! By the way WHO CARES – Rainey had no charges placed against him when it was said and done. just because the state of Georgia football is soooooooo PATHETIC you try to implicate every other program. Sorry but Florida has nothing to do with this ever growning train wreck called Cam Newton.

G8R GRAD

November 10th, 2010
10:42 am

Bama dude:
It looks like I’m in good company with Altamaha Dog, too!

;-)

Driving Ms Dooley

November 10th, 2010
10:44 am

Cam Watch,

I agree with
“You don’t need to lie if you have nothing to hide”

People don’t understand that if somebody really needs money, as Cecil clearly does, and someone hands them $200k, there is no way the guy takes the money and buries it in his back yard. This guy is still poor. He hasn’t made a single purchase. His church still hasn’t been repaired. There is no sign of the money because there WAS NO MONEY TAKEN.

And then everybody starts to pile on the crap. I’m sure an old girlfriend is going to appear holding a baby up to the camara soon. Why not? At this point Cam Haters will believe anything, and ESPN will report it.

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
10:44 am

Sorry but Florida has nothing to do with this ever growning train wreck called Cam Newton.

I wouldn’t go THAT far seeing as how he did play there and left under interesting circumstances, but it doesn’t seem that they would be implicated in any hanky panky.

Mike

November 10th, 2010
10:44 am

How do you know someone leaked a story? Couldn’t it be a kid who Cam tried to cheat off?

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
10:45 am

@Jeff

The dark days at Alabama stemmed from a situation not unlike the current drama unfolding at Auburn. A booster, outside of the control of the institution, paid crooked High School football coaches in Memphis to direct a player to Alabama.

It is not fair to the Universities to be held liable for the actions of people outside of the institution, but that is how these issues are resolved by the NCAA — fair or not. Meanwhile, the actual culprits are usually rewarded for their actions after they leave college to play for the NFL.

This makes it all the more important for the Universities to avoid even the implication of impropriety when recruiting players. It appears that Auburn knew enough about Cam’s history to understand the risk of allowing him onto the team. They took a gamble on Cam and it has paid off — so far.

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
10:45 am

Driving Ms Dooley

November 10th, 2010
10:44 am
Cam Watch,

I agree with
“You don’t need to lie if you have nothing to hide”

People don’t understand that if somebody really needs money, as Cecil clearly does, and someone hands them $200k, there is no way the guy takes the money and buries it in his back yard.

Again, people never think beyond the surface. Maybe he didn’t get $200k. Maybe he got the $40k that was reportedly needed to fix up the church.

Far East Godfather

November 10th, 2010
10:46 am

Well Mr. College Football, someone read your bizarre article this morning and left a decapitated goat on the street.

miles

November 10th, 2010
10:46 am

Are the Auburn fans still going to shamefully try and defend Cam Newton yet again today? It’s becoming more and more evident with each passing 24 hours that Auburn is guilty of committing a HUGE crime with this thug. Given the Tigers history of cheating, and the arrogant denials by the AD and coach, the NCAA might deal them the death penalty when this is all said and done.

Melodie

November 10th, 2010
10:47 am

I say Roll Dogs, Roll!

Booyah

November 10th, 2010
10:50 am

Wow – could you miss the actual story by a wider margin Tony? Cam Newton and the SEC are getting exposed for what they are why you cry foul. WAHHHHH!!!!

Jack

November 10th, 2010
10:52 am

imo, all this smells like a Bobby Lowder payola scheme and that an Alabama representative leaked the story.

Dudleydoright

November 10th, 2010
10:53 am

Fox Sports needs to reveal their sources to the SEC, if not, the public.

Triff

November 10th, 2010
10:53 am

@ miles,

You are correct. What’s making this worse are all the Auburn officials and people in positions of power vehemently denying that there is anything wrong and continuing to put this kid on the field every Saturday. They are probably assuming if they bench him during the investigation that it would appear to show guilt, but in the long run their defiance might actually be what ultimately destroys their football program.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
10:54 am

@Driving Ms Dooley

You’re wrong. There is documentation of the church repairs being done. The city of Newnan was threatening to condemn the building otherwise. Cecil Newton Sr. claims that he got the money from his older son, Cecil Jr. If that is the case, then it should be easy enough to prove that such a financial transaction took place between his son and the church. Such a donation would have been tax deductible. There would be clear and concise records of such a financial transaction.

Even if shopping Cam’s services did occur, there is no need to tie the resulting funds to the church repairs. There is no need for the shopping to have resulted in any payment, for that matter. The shopping alone is a violation of NCAA rules for amateur eligibility.

Tommy Tuberville

November 10th, 2010
10:54 am

BAWAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!

G8R GRAD

November 10th, 2010
10:54 am

“imo, all this smells like a Bobby Lowder payola scheme and that an Alabama representative leaked the story.”

Now Jack’s piling on!
The scandal’s gaining momentum!

:-D

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
10:54 am

Mike

November 10th, 2010
10:44 am
How do you know someone leaked a story? Couldn’t it be a kid who Cam tried to cheat jerk off?

Now THAT would be a news story…

producewiz

November 10th, 2010
10:55 am

what can Slive put his foot down on. No facts, just rumor after rumor and most of it coming from MSU sources. Their track record lot to be desired long before this incident.

G8R GRAD

November 10th, 2010
10:55 am

That’s it!
Brilliant!
Tubbs is behind all this!

:-D

Auburn fan

November 10th, 2010
10:56 am

Well….I sure have enjoyed having a football team. I guess now I’ll have to bite the bullet and start pulling for the Tide inbreds. What a life.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
10:57 am

@producewiz

Too bad Auburn didn’t leave well enough alone and let Cam be MSU’s problem, eh?

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
10:57 am

Dem Bammers is jus tryin’ to brang down this fine institution, jus like always, Pawwwl. You no dat boy ain’t done nuthin wrong and neither has Auburn. It’s awl just one big o’l con-speee-ra-see Pawwwl.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 10th, 2010
10:57 am

To What? from your 10:10 posting regarding:

“This is a big deal. If he wanted to be paid to sign with a school…he should absolutely get in trouble”

So you’re saying that Cam wanted to be paid? First of all, Cam is separated from this by three people. Do you have any idea how sleazy Agents are? The only thing sleazier are Runners for Agents. Now, try to think like a sleazy wannabe agent–Kenny Rogers. How am I gonna make money off of this Cam guy? My guess is, if somebody would have paid him the money, THEN he would have approached Cecil and said, “Hey Cecil, I can get you $50k if you send him to Miss St.” Well nobody paid this guy and Cecil may or may not have ever been told of his actions.

So quit acting like Cam was standing on a street corner asking for money. This stuff was reported. The trail ends there. Cam is kid/man who has had some lapses in judgement and thats it. This whole media frenzy sickening.

You don’t have to beleive everything ESPN reports. Especially when they say that Cam “MAY HAVE TAKEN MONEY” Total speculation

lol!!!

November 10th, 2010
10:57 am

Funny stuff Tommy Tuberville, very funny!!

GatorBoy

November 10th, 2010
10:58 am

That AU would rather its season rest on beating UGA rather than UA has to be insulting to Dawg fans and that if AU does so, it renders the Iron Bowl (and UA) irrelevent has to be insulting to Tide fans, . . .

Tiger Dawg

November 10th, 2010
10:58 am

Really? I agree with some of the above. One student athlete messes up and doesn’t pay a fine and he gets pulled out for 2 games. There is a lot of smoke (look what happened to #8) He was never at the agent party and the ’smoke’ cost him and UGA 4 games. This is all a load of crap, and the SEC and other power conferences should break away from the NCAA as you suggested on your show and do it the right way. Pay the players, have a play off and get rid of this mickey mouse stuff!

GaDawgs7

November 10th, 2010
10:59 am

Gatorzone,
LOL I guess whatever works. Its just funny sometimes as to what our priorities are. How’s Cam’s driving record? lol

GatorBoy

November 10th, 2010
10:59 am

Jus’ sayin’

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
11:00 am

Driving Ms Dooley, have you seen Joe Schad’s report? He very much implies that Cam and Cecil were fully aware of the pay for play dealings and that the reporters have more info than they are releasing at this point.

Where are the Aubarn bloggers?

November 10th, 2010
11:00 am

It’s interesting that there are a handful of Auburn bloggers here now after we had to listen to many drivel the last few weeks.

Where are you?

Jake

November 10th, 2010
11:00 am

Driving Ms Dooley,

You are aware that there are now reports that Cam had a phone conversation explaining why his dad decided that he go to Auburn, right? Cam himself said the money was too good to pass up. The bottom is about to fall out on this story any day now. Who knows, UGA might get a W by forfeit and won’t even have to bother traveling down there at the speed this is coming to a head.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
11:00 am

@Driving Ms Dooley

Cecil Newton Sr. has admitted to employing the services of Kenny Roger’s “placement program”. I guess that even he knew that you have to tell a little bit of truth… sometimes.

Jake

November 10th, 2010
11:00 am

Anyone seen Trish today??

Cam Newton

November 10th, 2010
11:02 am

I don’t care about any Heisman Trophy and I sure as hell don’t care about the SEC or Auburn University. I’ve gotten exactly what I wanted out of this – the $$$ upfront and the big stage that will allow me to be a high draft pick in the NFL next year. The less time I spend at this cow college, the better. I couldn’t care less if Auburn get’s put on probation for the next 10 years. I got mine’s. Auburn rolled the dice because they didn’t want to be an SEC afterthought for at least one year…now they have to deal with the long-term consequences.

AltamahaDawg

November 10th, 2010
11:03 am

Well, that’s the nature of logic.

And I have always been very jealous of UF’s ability to hide these kinds of things from the public/media misguided view. The fact they could have 2 players get DUI this summer, and nobody would have even known about it, till a Miami newspaper needed a quick fix, is the kind of thing I am hoping McGarity can convince our PC gone overboard University is in everybodies best interest.

The majority of this stuff is “private” if you ask me. It’s at the very least a civil issue, not a football issue. Now if a university wants to decide what puts thier program at harm, or crossses the line of being able to handle internally, great. Obviously there are cases where a playing simply cannot represent your program any further, but it should not be decided in the public forum.

I do think UF mishandled the Rainey deal, though. So it’s not a total lovefest.

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
11:03 am

Pay the players, have a play off and get rid of this mickey mouse stuff!

If that happened then there would only be 20 or so colleges that would ever compete for anything. At least one of Texas, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, and Florida would be in the champ game every year. It would not be the same game.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
11:03 am

@Jake

Trisha is always with us. You just have to figure out which handle she’s using today.

;-)

meh

November 10th, 2010
11:04 am

Slive needs to put one foot down and break the other off in someone’s ass. need to straighten all this mess out before the whole SEC gets tainted.

Driving Ms Dooley

November 10th, 2010
11:04 am

Bama Dude:
Again, people never think beyond the surface. Maybe he didn’t get $200k. Maybe he got the $40k that was reportedly needed to fix up the church.

Same question to you–So wheres the $40 grand? These people are poor. If you gave them $10, it would be obvious. Did you see this church? An old auto parts store with bullet holes in the windows. People want to believe he took the money so they will.

My bet is on the sleazy agent runner trying to scurry up some money first and then approaching Cecil after he takes a 50% cut. This is all we know. A sleazy agent wannabe tried to start some money flowing and it was reported. my money is on the Agent and the fact that after it was reported, he backed off

Kodi Burns

November 10th, 2010
11:06 am

I’ve had most of the reps at QB this week with the first team.

Look out UGA and Bama.

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
11:06 am

@Driving Ms Dooley

Cecil Newton Sr. had a successful career with the Dallas Cowboys. How did he suddenly become so “poor”?

John Galt

November 10th, 2010
11:07 am

This whole mess is sad……sad if he is guilty of this corruption and perhaps even more sad if he’s innocent and he is being slandered unfairly.

Someone needs to get to the bottom of this FAST. If he is guilty, does Auburn risking the forfeiture of a whole season by playing him? If he is innocent, the Heisman, which he appears to have won on the field, may be denied by voters who don’t want to risk another Reggie Bush fiasco.

SAd either way…

GO DAWGS!

Cam Watch

November 10th, 2010
11:08 am

I’m betting that Trisha is driving today.

BG

November 10th, 2010
11:08 am

Cam needs to be suspended right now!! Where there is smoke there is FIRE!!

Wally Butts

November 10th, 2010
11:09 am

Another crappy attempt at writing an article (excuse me “blog”)…You are a disgrace to UGA…How did you become “Mr. College Football”…Go to NYC and stay…

BAMA dude

November 10th, 2010
11:09 am

Oh, and if there is a conspiracy somewhere, maybe it’s ESPN/ABC. Think about it, they televise the BCS. Their champ game contenders:

Oregon: F’n Oregon? Well, guess we’re stuck with ‘em.

Auburn: South Alabama agricultural school? No thanks.

TCU: Dallas-Fort Worth market, some national intrigue (are they good enough?) plus the holy rollers will watch them.

Boise St.: same as TCU but kind of played out. And Idaho? Nah, we already got Oregon.

Who would you want to play Oregon? Easy choice imo.

BG

November 10th, 2010
11:10 am

Cam, Loan a brother a couple thousand. LOL