Why the NCAA got it right in the Cameron Newton case

There are a lot of people in Athens, Ga., Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Los Angeles, Calif. who are going to get mad at this statement. But here it goes:

Based on what  its investigators have determined, the NCAA got it right with Wednesday’s ruling on Cameron Newton.

Early Wednesday afternoon the NCAA announced that Auburn’s quarterback was eligible to play immediately. That statement became necessary because on Monday the NCAA determined that a violation of amateurism rules occured when Newton’s father had conversations with a former Mississippi State player about a possible pay-for-play scheme. The NCAA informed Auburn of this and the school, as it must, declared Newton ineligible on Tuesday (How they kept that secret is amazing). Auburn petitioned the NCAA to reinstate Newton as soon as possible. The NCAA  committee that determines these types of things granted that reinstatement on Wednesday.

That was the process.

The NCAA enforcement staff has been investigating this case since last summer. Here are their findings as of Monday:

**–Newton’s father and the owner of a scouting service (various media reports have identified this man as former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers) had conversations about a possible play-for-pay deal for the son’s services.

**–Cameron Newton had no knowledge his father’s actions.

**–Neither Auburn University nor anyone representing its athletics interests had any involvement in or was aware of the activity between Cecil Newton and Kenny Rogers.

That’s it.

Now if you’re a Georgia fan and you saw A.J. Green lose four games for selling a jersey, you think there is a double standard. Same at Alabama, where Marcell Dareus sat two games for accepting travel expenses to attend that infamous agent’s party in South Florida. At USC they are wondering why they got hammered. From the Trojans’ perspective Reggie Bush’s parents had their hands out just like Cecil Newton. All Cecil Newton got was limited access to the Auburn football program in the future. Big deal.

They are thinking that a high-profile player (Newton) and a high-profile league (SEC) got a pass from the NCAA  just three days before a high-profile team (Auburn) played in a high-profile game (SEC championship) that was worth a lot of money to everyone concerned. This also had to get tidied up because the Heisman Trophy is going to be presented a week from Saturday (Dec. 11) and how uncomfortable would it be for the winner not to talk to the media?

I get all that. In the internet age nothing just happens anymore. Nobody just looks at a set of facts and makes a decision. It is always part of a vast conspiracy to keep the rich and powerful in their positions of wealth and power and to keep somebody else down. There are always larger forces at work.

There is a big difference between the three cases above and the Newton case. In those cases there was a finding of FACT that money and extra benefits actually changed hands. Green admitted he received $1,000 for the jersey (whether or not that should be a violation is a different argument). Dareus admitted that somebody paid his way to South Florida. It took a four years but the the NCAA proved, to its satisfaction, that almost $300,000 in benefits went to Bush or his parents.

In the Newton case, the father solicted money either directly or indirectly in his conversations with Rogers and, at this point, there is no evidence that money or extra benefits ever changed hands.

Now a lot of you are simply not going to believe that the kid did not know what the father was up to. A lot of you refuse to believe that Cecil Newton and his contact only solicted money from one school (Mississippi State) which said no. A lot of you believe this ruling  just opens the door for parents to sell their sons to the highest bidder–as long as they keep their talented sons in the dark. I can’t tell you how many people told me on Wednesday that this was a “slippery slope.”

Maybe it is. But remember that a slippery slope can slide both ways. If the NCAA punished School A because a father solicted money from School B (and no money changed hands and school A didn’t even know the solicitation took place), now you have another slippery slope where the possibilities are endless. If I’m a recruiter at school B and lost a recruit to school A, when the head coach starts chewing on my butt I can just put it out there that the parent solicited money from me and get school A in trouble and take the heat off me.

The fact is that on Wednesday the NCAA issued a very narrow ruling in an area where there is a gap in its legislation. We know that the mere solicitation is a violation of amateurism rules, which is why Auburn had to suspend Newton on Tuesday. An NCAA representative told me the knowledge, or the lack thereof, of the athlete is a “mitigating factor” in whether or not the athlete is eventually reinstated.

But can you punish a school that is not involved in that solicitation simply because the athlete chose that school? Do you at least have to have evidence that the school did something wrong?  Eventually, the NCAA will have to get some clarity on this issue.

Now could the facts on the ground change? Could there be evidence uncovered in the future that contradicts the current findings of the NCAA enforcement staff? Of course.

But the NCAA can only make its ruling based on what it knows today. Because of the unique nature of this case, the NCAA owed it to everybody involved to get some kind of resolution if it was possible. Thus, Newton is eligible to play on Saturday against South Carolina.

One more thing. A number of you sent me this rule from the SEC’s bylaws:

 
14.01.3.3. Financial Aid. If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or
any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in
addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete
may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student-athlete
shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of
his/her college career.

I checked with the SEC and the rule above does not apply in the Newton case. That’s because the key passage is: “AGREES to receive, directly or indirectly.” In this case there is evidence that Cecil Newton, directly or indirectly, SOLICITED extra benefits. There is no evidence, at this point, that there was an agreement (such as a handshake agreement) by one party to pay and another party to receive an extra benefit.

If it is ever proven that Cecil Newton agreed to receive money instead of just talking about it, then we have a whole new ball game. But until that day comes, the NCAA has to apply the rules as written. Stuff like this is why the NCAA bylaws look like a copy of the Manhattan phone book. Those rules are going to have to grow in order to account for this case. And until it does, the kid gets to play.

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872 comments Add your comment

wordy

December 2nd, 2010
12:19 pm

Non sequitur. Twisted ‘logic.’

By your ‘reckoning’ the Portland Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony bomber should not be prosecuted because there was no bomb.

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
12:20 pm

Then Rogers says “I have text messages” but ” Oh my phone was water damaged”. He might as well have said “My dog ate my homework”lol All u have to is contact your phone provider & they keep records of all your messages! What a lying scumbag, his credibility is what caused this whole”case” to blow up in ESPN’s face!! Heck dude is being investigated by the NFLPA right now for illegally posing as an agent….Crook!

Problem

December 2nd, 2010
12:20 pm

You are part of the whole college football problem. “Mr. College Football”. It use to be great but now its just the same nonsense every year.. So are you for a playoff or not because every week you are on a different side. Also, players like Cam Newton and their fathers are prime examples of what kids think..do what you want and get away with it…as long as it makes money.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:21 pm

wordy

December 2nd, 2010
12:19 pm
Non sequitur. Twisted ‘logic.’

By your ‘reckoning’ the Portland Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony bomber should not be prosecuted because there was no bomb.

He won’t be charged the same. It’s kinda like attempted murder; the game changes if the victim actually dies.

Old Timer

December 2nd, 2010
12:22 pm

Bama Dud, I think you missed my point.

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
12:23 pm

Driving,

In the past, the parents and the student-athlete were treated as one person. Until yesterday, student-athletes (and sometimes schools) were held accountable the misdeeds of parents. That all changed yesterday.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:23 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
12:20 pm
Then Rogers says “I have text messages” but ” Oh my phone was water damaged”. He might as well have said “My dog ate my homework”lol All u have to is contact your phone provider & they keep records of all your messages!

Nope, nope, and nope.

Bell’s phone was water damaged, not Kenny’s. That came out because Bell said Kenny was lying about talking to him. Cecil and Kenny both did a horrible job covering up their shenanigans. And call your cell provider to get retrieve your own text messages. Know what they’ll tell you? Get a subpoena. I know this firsthand.

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:24 pm

When the rumors are finally resolved and are proved false, the ones who started the rumors i.e. Rogers, should be severely punished; that goes for any schools involved as well

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:25 pm

Old Timer

December 2nd, 2010
12:22 pm
Bama Dud, I think you missed my point.

Nah, I got it. You’re an ACC whiner, I was just humoring you. Run along now.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:25 pm

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:24 pm
When the rumors are finally resolved and are proved false, the ones who started the rumors i.e. Rogers, should be severely punished; that goes for any schools involved as well

What rumors? The facts are that Cecil and Kenny admit to shopping Cam without Cam’s knowledge.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:27 pm

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
12:23 pm
Driving,

In the past, the parents and the student-athlete were treated as one person. Until yesterday, student-athletes (and sometimes schools) were held accountable the misdeeds of parents. That all changed yesterday.

Egg Zack Lee

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:27 pm

I mean where Cam himself and AU are involved.

Old Timer

December 2nd, 2010
12:27 pm

Let’s say the FBI releases a statement this afternoon that they have hard evidence of a money trasfer from a Miss St. alumni to Cecil Newton.

How long do you think it would take for Auburn’s sports marketing dept. to issue a statement that Cam knew nothing about it?

How long would it take for the SEC office and lawyers to issue a statement that it is not a violation of SEC and NCAA rules?

And how long do you think would it take our local media Ho, Mr. College Football Apologist, to defend it?

Driving Ms Dooley

December 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
12:20 pm
Then Rogers says “I have text messages” but ” Oh my phone was water damaged”. He might as well have said “My dog ate my homework”lol All u have to is contact your phone provider & they keep records of all your messages! What a lying scumbag, his credibility is what caused this whole”case” to blow up in ESPN’s face!! Heck dude is being investigated by the NFLPA right now for illegally posing as an agent….Crook!

Nailed it. Missy State folks got madder and madder as Cam started piling up stats. Finally they started pointing fingers and some of those fingers were crooked. They reported it to the NCAA long ago. Then they decided to let ESPN be the judge and jury.

JOE SCHAD THE SCAB.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:29 pm

Old Timer, he would be immediately ineligible and Missy State would be in serious trouble. No defense for that.

Tony, dont belive wht you hear; check it out first. Journalism 101...

December 2nd, 2010
12:31 pm

Solicitation equals the manifestation of intent. Check that with any of your law schools in Georgia, and the myriad Courts that have ruled directly on that issue. Legal interpretation is directly against what you say you were told in distinguishing that Bylaw.

As a side note, if it were any other way and what the SEC offered was accurate, then solicitation of an undercover agent for any type of illegal benefit (prostitution, drugs whatever) would not be illegal because the “lack of a handshake agreement” which could never happen in the absence of entrappment would negate. Very sad that they fed you that line, and even more sad you bought it and disenimated it.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 2nd, 2010
12:33 pm

Someone is watching too much Law and Order

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:33 pm

i might add that Kenny Rogers would be too.

ARdawg

December 2nd, 2010
12:34 pm

So here’s the “deal” and just another thing Tony “the Goober” Barnhart has conveniently avoided

Auburn declared Cam ineligible. Two days later the NCAA has declared Cam eligible.This basically puts AU in the clear not matter what may or may not come out later as to Cam’s innocents or guilt. The NCAA is stating Cam is okay to play and regardless of what may happen later or come to light later AU will not be responsible because that onus now rests on the NCAA.

Who among us see’s a problem with that? Does this mean that even if Cam knew his father was pimping him to Missy St. AU can not be punished even if they knew? I say yes. The only thing that would save AU’s bacon here is “if” they did not pay Cam nor was solicited to pay Cam.

AU is in the clear, Cam will be gone in 6 weeks and any more fall out will be on the SEC, NCAA and Slive. Does anyone think there will be some?

Driving Ms Dooley

December 2nd, 2010
12:35 pm

This case is closed. I’m going to find a football blog that talks about football. Good luck detectives.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:36 pm

ARDawg, new evidence would change everything. Say it came out that Lowder paid Cecil. Auburn would absolutely have sanctions.

Aubies, I did not say I think that happened.

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:36 pm

All I can say is I’m glad that no apparent THUGA fans are on here know. Because they would be trying to get Fairley locked up with Newton for ’sault n’ battry on Aaron Murray.

gcs

December 2nd, 2010
12:38 pm

Tony,

You forgot Chapel Hill. UNC has been sitting around all year waiting on NCAA rulings and were forced to sit many players out of precaution which has ruined what should have been a brilliant season.

But everything is put on hold to push Auburn through the system. If the NCAA has been investigating since summer as you say, why didn’t they tell Auburn they might want to sit Cam they way they did to UNC, Alabama, South Carolina etc.?

Furthermore, you CANNOT tell me the NCAA did not coach Auburn on what was coming and what to do. I am sure they told them that rules were broken and that they should rule Cam ineligible and to petition for immediate reinstatement. It was too smooth.

As you said: “How they kept that secret is amazing”. This is how: they were told what to do. Keep your mouth shut and we will get you through this. There is something rotten in Indianapolis and Mark Emmert is doing nothing.

If you do not believe favoritism is going on here, you are too naive to be covering the NCAA.

.

Blog Security

December 2nd, 2010
12:39 pm

aubie#1,

nick is our every day Tech Idiot Blogger. He will post under many names today and contribute nothing to the conversation He will post needless remarks and insults.This is an everyday occurance on the blogs.Just ignore him.

Old Timer

December 2nd, 2010
12:40 pm

Bama Dud, Watch what happens, because it’s about to.

Auburn issues statement Cam didn’t know.

SEC lawyer’s up that Cecil never “agreed” to receive the money. Technically not a rules violation.

NCAA issues statment that Cam is eligible but case is not closed.

Our local media Ho, writes another piece of crap that they got it right.

Don4654

December 2nd, 2010
12:40 pm

Did anyone notice the statement by the NCAA that said”There is not sufficient evidence at this time that Auburn or Cam Newton did anything”?Does anyone know what sufficient might mean in this instance?

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

I know what he is, just couldn’t resist the jab:)

ARdawg

December 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

BAMA dude

You may be right but, I don’t think so my friend. AU is basically getting a get out of jail free card if, they’re involvement stops at the Missy St solicitation and they did not pay the good Reverend or Cam. However, if AU was only solicited and did not pay, they are out of the loop because they declared him ineligible. They are now clean. The current allegations is what the NCAA has cleared him of. But do you think it will matter to Cam or Cecil in 6 weeks?

AltamahaDawg

December 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

Tony, I wonder if I walked up to an NCAA official and ASKED his wife to have sex with me, if he would ponder as to if that actually constitues me AGREEING to have sex with his wife, before he punches me in the face?

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:42 pm

SEC lawyer’s up that Cecil never “agreed” to receive the money. Technically not a rules violation.

OK now Old Flamer, I gave you the benfit of the doubt once on my name figuring it was a typo. Obviously not. In any case, the SEC bylaw does not contain the “knowingly” provision and does include family members among those who cannot “receive or agree to receive.” Now go back to North Avenue and cry in your cheerios over the “Dud” season you’re having.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:45 pm

ARDawg, you are way off on that. The infraction that occurred here, and that the NCAA ruled on, was Cecil asking for money behind Cam’s back without Auburn’s knowledge. Evidence that Aubie or Cam knew would change everything. Read the NCAA’s statement and that will be pretty clear.

ARdawg

December 2nd, 2010
12:45 pm

Everybody but the fans of college football (sans Auburn) get what they want if AU wins a NC, Cam wins the Heisman and this CamGate “goes away”

It looks as if they’ll take any means necessary to insure that happens

Blog Security

December 2nd, 2010
12:45 pm

aubie#1,

He just can get over the trams of being 1-9 in last 10 meetings with the Dawgs! lmao

Blog Security

December 2nd, 2010
12:45 pm

DZ

December 2nd, 2010
12:47 pm

QUESTIONS:

* For the brief time that Cam was ineligible was he allowed to participate in practice or team meetings?
* Did he participate in those events?
* If the answer to the top two are “no” and “yes”, isn’t that a violation?

ARdawg

December 2nd, 2010
12:47 pm

Bama dude

Not really, AU has fulfilled their obligation by declaring him ineligible. The NCAA says he can play (in 2 days) That onus is now on the NCAA. If they are wrong, who polices them?

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:48 pm

Blog Security

If your talking about a football record there, which i think you are, it’s incorrect.

Blog Security

December 2nd, 2010
12:49 pm

Please correct me aubie#1

S GA AU FAN

December 2nd, 2010
12:50 pm

Enter your fantasy / whine / what if / conspiracy theory here.

WDE

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
12:50 pm

ARDawg, I don’t have full internet access at work. Just read the NCAA’s statement, specifically the part about new evidence.

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:51 pm

i believe the record is more like 4-6 in the last ten meetings.

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JB

December 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

HELLO. My Name is Gene Chizik. My great Grandfather came here from Russia. I’ve been coaching football for 25 years. Why in the wide wide world of sports did it take me going to Iowa St. and going 5 -19 for me to land a head coaching job at a “name” SEC” school I’ll never know. Out of all who would love this job, they picked me…..Iowa St. was a solid body of work I’ll have to admit.

disgusted

December 2nd, 2010
12:53 pm

Only idoits would think that the son did not have knowledge, Unreal. Look at his history of flawed character. Why don’t you go down to his high school and find out what he is really like. Win at all cost. Integrity in this sport is going out the window

Mindy

December 2nd, 2010
12:54 pm

Of course not, just like he won’t tell her how his dad, despite a “meager house and church” showed up for an ESPN interview with Chris Low, Pat Forde and others, driving a new $60,000 truck

I KNOW you can prove that statement you just made right? I mean you have a link to an article (legitimate araticle not blog) that can back that up right? Right……ummmm….right?

ARdawg

December 2nd, 2010
12:54 pm

Bama dude

It’s conspiracy theory at this juncture but, it smells of a white wash.

Suppose nothing else does other than Cecil solicited and Cam knew it. In 6 weeks it doesn’t matter, does it?

I won’t venture into what AU may or may not have done. If they did do something, revoked get out of jail free card.

As it stands right now with this ruling and the current accusations AU is untouchable

aubie#1

December 2nd, 2010
12:57 pm

i’m adding to miny’s post-

what kind of truck was he driving that cost $60,000 anyway, i think that we would have heard that already on ESPN, not from a blog:P

Observ'n

December 2nd, 2010
12:57 pm

Bama dud

Old Timer’s comments exceed your level of comprehension. Give it up.

And do not even attempt to figure this one out:

“Solicitation equals the manifestation of intent. Check that with any of your law schools in Georgia, and the myriad Courts that have ruled directly on that issue. Legal interpretation is directly against what you say you were told in distinguishing that Bylaw.

As a side note, if it were any other way and what the SEC offered was accurate, then solicitation of an undercover agent for any type of illegal benefit (prostitution, drugs whatever) would not be illegal because the “lack of a handshake agreement” which could never happen in the absence of entrappment would negate. Very sad that they fed you that line, and even more sad you bought it and disenimated it.”

The best remarks posted on this enite blog.

JB

December 2nd, 2010
1:01 pm

*…………………………………….Just letting AU folks get use to that little symbol next to everything about this years team.

B. Scott

December 2nd, 2010
1:03 pm

Tony do you really believe that the Newtons wanted $180K to play at Miss. State but was willing to let him sign with Auburn for nothing? Really?