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

Saint Simons

November 10th, 2010
7:16 am

(((( 34 – 31 ))))

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

UgaLeeDawg

November 10th, 2010
7:19 am

Where there is smoke there is fire. I see a lot of smoke Tony. I bet this distracts AU this week. Seems like a parking fine not paid isn’t the worst thing to deal with or a jersey sale. I hope it isn’t true for College Football’s sake but if true then deal with cleanly and smack some heads for this. Good job to MSU for reporting this.

kingman32

November 10th, 2010
7:19 am

I SECOND this

kingman32

November 10th, 2010
7:20 am

Okay I THIRD it

pete foley

November 10th, 2010
7:21 am

Great blog, Tony. This soap opera has more twists and turns than Cirque du Soleil! Hope you’re well, my friend. – Pete.

MURPHY

November 10th, 2010
7:24 am

Anyone else catch the ESPN show last night on Marcus Dupree-The 30 for30 Special? Wow these coaches and asst coaches would do or give just about anything to sign a top recruit. Great show on how some colleges did it in the old days.Talk about paying players,they paid alot of money and gifts to Marcus Dupree.Seems like it still goes on today.Maybe not to that extreme? Maybe so.

Dawg_Mike

November 10th, 2010
7:27 am

This might just wind up as an unspeakable human tragedy.

Dawg_Mike

November 10th, 2010
7:28 am

SS- you really need to get a life and by the way, this isnt the UGA blog. Idiot.

Bill

November 10th, 2010
7:28 am

geez…you media are so predictable. Where is the media outcry for this unbelievably crooked policy by the SEC of only allowing its member institutions to report violations to the SEC office, allowing the SEC office to bury the information at all possible. The SEC is as crooked as it has always been, and why the NCAA allows the SEC office to intercept information about violations by its members and bury that info is beyond me.
There is one main reason why SEC schools are dominant. They cheat. And everyone knows it.

ga gator

November 10th, 2010
7:30 am

Good story Tony, agreed 100%.

Joe Pa

November 10th, 2010
7:31 am

What a shock! It’s another slimy story out of the SEC, this one a three-ring circus with Florida; Mississippi State and Auburn all involved.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

November 10th, 2010
7:31 am

It seems to me that a disgruntled someone affiliated with an SEC school (most likely Bama or UF in my estimation because they have the most to gain [or not lose, in UF's case] from a potential Newton removal) but NOT acting ON BEHALF OF said school leaked this information to cost either Newton the Heisman, his eligibility or both.

Slive should put the hammer down in this instance. Auburn and the NCAA have known about these allegations for months, but they go viral as soon as Newton has the Heisman and a potential BCS Championship appearance in sight? The timing’s just too perfect for a smear campaign.

If I were the Cam Newton, and these allegations AREN’T TRUE and STILL cost me the Heisman, I’d sue whoever started these rumors (particularly the ones about academic cheating and potential expulsion) for defamation of character. If that wouldn’t be a slam-dunk case, I dunno what would be.

Either way, as a Georgia Bulldog, I hope Newton’s acquitted of these allegations. I also hope we beat Auburn by three scores on Saturday, but we’ll see how that works out.

:-D

SWGADAWG

November 10th, 2010
7:36 am

Yep…time to shut down the whistleblowers and let the company handle it.

What is that dog licking?

November 10th, 2010
7:36 am

Now the Feds are involved, possible laundering money through someone’s church. Yeah this just took a major step forward. The NCAA just lost control of this thing. As far as the information about him cheating/plagarizing/stealing etc…. I’m willing to bet the entire team team at UF knew about it, as well as several hundred college students close to the football team. You do realize the the football players talk to each other right? They also have drinking buddies, girlfriends (in UF’s case several boyfriends), etc… They all discuss this stuff. Could have come from anywhere.

Drive By Dawg

November 10th, 2010
7:37 am

Barnhart – you are a total joke. I’m ashamed to say you’re a UGA alum. How you have turned your meager “talents” into a career is a mystery to me and many others. Bottom line is this – Mike Slive should be worried – VERY worried – about the cover-up his office tried to author in regards to Cameron Newton and Auburn University. My guess is Mike Slive will be sitting in his own “Come to Jesus” meeting in the near future…

Tony Barnart – making a career of stating the obvious since whenever he started.

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:38 am

All good points Tony, But at the end of the Day, I worried about my Dawgs, who will appear in a hyped up National TV Game, who have not done well in this arena the last 3 years, who lately come out flat, not ready to play in these big games. That’s what I’m worried about. Saturday is BIG for Georgia. We can get some respect back as a National program, or we lay an egg and continue to be a once proud program in decline. I not worried about Cam. I’m worried about MY University and my Dawgs on display for the world to see.

Mike

November 10th, 2010
7:40 am

Cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Auburn goes down before they get to Hotlanta

Suches Dawg

November 10th, 2010
7:41 am

Good article, Tony. The landscape of NCAA FB has changed to allegations of cheating, suspensions, fines, and awaiting the NCAA hammer to come down. Remember when we just enjoyed college football ? Seems like a long time ago. Football is now morphing into another shady element of our corrupt society. Very sad.

m

November 10th, 2010
7:42 am

The sec sucks and so do you Tony.

You are just trying to cover up something that is rotten to the core.

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:43 am

I agree with the blogger @7:36 about the info at UF…..You can’t keep this stuff in a bottle…..If 5 or 6 teammates knew, a 1,000 people knew…..

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:45 am

Suches Dawg….I disagree….I think 95% of Schools AND coach’s do everything they can to follow the rules……I think cheating does go on, but I don’t think it’s out there as much as we think…..

SatchelBuzz

November 10th, 2010
7:45 am

JB,…not that big of game for ugag. You’re season is over,..the ship has sailed.

THWG!

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:47 am

m…………………How’s the greatest football coach and team in the world doing these days, and how much money did you spend on ” There’s a new Sheriff in Town” posters that are now worthless ? LOL

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:49 am

Satcz,,,,,,,,,,At least ours sailed and didn’t sink………..LOL

Atlanta Gator

November 10th, 2010
7:50 am

Beast from the East

November 10th, 2010
7:50 am

Tony,
The “leak” could have come form anywhere. This “rumor” was circualting in Gainesville when Cam got in trouble and decided to leave. It could have been any player, grad assistant, student, etc. I even read someone yesterday alleging that McGarity leaked the story this week to distract Auburn. Crazy! I don’t think any of the coaches are involved. They are too worried about their own problems to be “leaking” stories to Fox news.

Stephen Dawg

November 10th, 2010
7:50 am

Get all of your comments in now Saint Simons. We won’t be hearing much from you after November 27.

Bragging about another team’s victory over your hated rival is kind of like bragging about someone else’s girlfriend. Except, in this case, you are our bitch.

Boise Dawg

November 10th, 2010
7:51 am

Tony,

Pure speculation on my part…. but based on some of these reports and leaks, including another bombshell ESPN started running with last night (Newtons admitted to Miss. St. it would take cash to sign)…. that all this information was reported to the SEC back in January. The impression I have been getting from reading articles is the SEC sat on their hands and didn’t act on any of this information until the summer. This is likely completely inaccurate, but that is how the story is spinning to me.

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:52 am

Beast, good morning……..The only leak Cam will see and hear about Saturday will be our Defense….LOL

MontyP

November 10th, 2010
7:52 am

Tony – good job of trying to blame the coaches for leaking this information without one bit of information to support your assumption. How about taking a closer look at the medias role (including you) in all of this information surfacing about Cam Newton. Did you ever think of that?

Beast from the East

November 10th, 2010
7:53 am

JB,
You guys are just going to have to outscore them. I predict 55-54 in double overtime! LOL!

The view from on High

November 10th, 2010
7:54 am

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=5786315

The media is just as complicit in this as anyone who leaked information. The media’s view is they throw $hit against the wall and whatever sticks is fact.

Georgia

November 10th, 2010
7:54 am

Why are you so concern about allbarn? They have been put on probation time after time and it looks like it could happen again.

Beast from the East

November 10th, 2010
7:55 am

MontyP,
The media is never to blame. They just report the “facts”, without any evidence to support them. An “unnamed source” seems to be the basis for most stories.

Chris WDE

November 10th, 2010
7:55 am

Best Article this season Tony.

War Cam Eagle!

ga gator

November 10th, 2010
7:55 am

Good comment Stephen Dawg, how is your blog doing?

bob

November 10th, 2010
7:56 am

These kids leave their knees, necks and shoulders on the fields every weekend. Many will limp and feel the pain the rest of their lives. The schools make $10 of millions of tax free dollars each year off them. And the kids are put in 21st century public stockades on national TV for making a kids mistake. They are not allowed to work, yet are not given gas money. But they get free schooling. Well so could anyone with the Hope scholarship. But most these kids want to play football not be students. So get off their backs Tony. It is just a game.

rokdawg

November 10th, 2010
7:56 am

Tony:

We know Newton stole a computer … a felony. We now have information that he cheated three times while at Florida, including turing in a paper written by another student, and a another paper he pulled off of the internet. That is academic fraud, or plagarism.

And now we have two Miss. St. recruiters alleging there was a pay to play scheme run by Newton’s father.

One felony confirmed. Three cheats alleged. One massive pay for play scheme alleged.

If you lose four games for selling one of your used jersies for $1,000, what do you get if all of the Newton stuff is true?

Time to get your head out of the sand, Tony. This is a program (or two or three) killing scandal. Why not try something novel … like helping us get to the bottom of this ugly, ugly mess. Be a repoter … dig. There is simply too much smoke here for there not to be a fire.

Slive can’t put this mess back in the bottle … only the Newton family and the folks involved in his recruiting can

JB

November 10th, 2010
7:56 am

MontyP….you are correct….The press lives for this….Never mind the young man here…..And if he’s guilty of Something, let the proper people expose it and deal with it. Rumors get blog hits and sell papers…..Ask politicians and Hollywood types……….

Who cares?

November 10th, 2010
7:58 am

The media started this and now are about to bring it all down. Every game this year has been a Cam love fest, with the announcers saying he never did anything wrong at UF. Urban Meyer never kicks anybody off his team unless that player commits a felony. Sometimes a felony charge won’t even do it (see Rainey). We all knew Newton did something bad. With that said, he did his time at junior college and is back and playing well enough to win the Heisman. He may be better than Tebow on the field but let’s not lie about his past.

ATL is TigerTown

November 10th, 2010
7:59 am

Thanks, Tony. You’re spot on with this one. Sorry you have to be subjected to the stupidity that constantly eminates from this blog. I reference m, mike, driveby, bill, ugalee, etc etc etc.
Saint Simons, please go away.
War Eagle!

GP

November 10th, 2010
8:00 am

I disagree with the “it wouldn’t happen in the PAC-10 “reference. And the the Big 10 has slimed it’s way around in the realignment saga and prevention of a true playoff. No one is innocent in this business.

Hershel

November 10th, 2010
8:01 am

I might not have received 200K to play for the humpers, but I sho drove a lot of nice wheels!

Don

November 10th, 2010
8:02 am

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Cam Newton is likely guilty of something illegal. Too many stories going around from credible sources. Joe Schad sayig he has 2 seprate sources that confirmed Cam, and Cam’s DAD, BOTH asked for money above scholarship.

THAT’S what the SEC COMISSIONER needs to investiagate, and WHERE he needs to lay down the law.

I don’t care how talented the kid is, and how much pr he brings to the SEC, if he and his preacher dad are demanding money above the scholarship, Cam Newton needs to bekicked out of college football, immediately.

It was fishy when Cam switched his commitment from MSU to Auburn, according to Joe Schad’s 2 sources, it was all about the money.

the ginger ninja

November 10th, 2010
8:02 am

Love the toiletdrinkers commenting on what school ratted on Scam Newton. Oh it had to be bama, oh it had to be UF, hmmmm…. let’s see Auburn is playing who this weekend??????

ATL is TigerTown

November 10th, 2010
8:03 am

rokdawg doesn’t know sht. Cam Newton DID NOT STEAL a computer. He bought a stolen computer. He made a mistake. He was cleared of the charges. You are not allowed to create your own facts.

JB

November 10th, 2010
8:03 am

Boy, the game Saturday is almost anticlimactic at this point……. Unlike the Tech poster above who said Georgia’s ship has sailed this year. True. But we have a lot on the line . Respect in a big ball game, recruiting, Bowl eligibility, and something to hang our hat on for a bad season,……Other than beating Tech Again for 9 of 10 times. I’m yawning.

cattle dawg

November 10th, 2010
8:03 am

Good bye cam! With the news out this morning , its about to get real, real, ugly. The money was to much.

Dawg Tired

November 10th, 2010
8:03 am

Tony – If, and it is a very big IF, any coaches or staff at UF leaked the academic stuff, your point is well taken. However, the number of people with access to this infomation may be astronomical as other folks on here have indicated.

The bigger issue is what is all over sports talk shows since you wrote your article. Now there are allegations of the Newton family asking for money from some of the schools that recruited Cam. It also is being alleged that at least two employees at Mississippi State were told by Cam’s dad that it “would take more than a scholarship to get Cam.” It is further alleged that this was reported to the SEC back in January of this year. If, and again it is a very big IF, any of this stuff is true, it would appear that both the SEC and Cam could be in trouble.

Needless to say, if any of this money allegation turns out to be true, Auburn is looking at the distinct possibility of having a great season ruined. This is getting uglier by the minute.

How do these allegations affect Cam’s eligibility for future games? These allegations certainly seem to be at least as serious as a kid selling his own property to a sports memorabilia collector – something that certainly had a serious impact on another team’s season.

Bottom line – Let’s see what the NCAA finds here. If the SEC covered this up in any way whatsoever, should Slive should be fired? If the money stuff is true, should Auburn be required to forfeit this season’s victories?

What say ye Tony?

cattle dawg

November 10th, 2010
8:04 am

And Cam lied to the cops and chuncked it out HIS window.