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

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:25 pm

Gary “You did not win it on the field” I don’t what u were watching this year but are absolutely clueless. No amount of character assassination and false allegations can take away what Cam has accomplished on the field this year. The powers that be say he is eligible and that AU has done nothing wrong. Quit crying over your spanking this year and look forward to having another 10 thUGA’s arrested next season. War Eagle!!

Cam Newton

December 2nd, 2010
2:26 pm

[...] >> Patrick Rishe, Forbes: Newton’s story runs parallel to Bush, Bonds, Rodriguez >> Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal Constitution: Why the NCAA got the decision right >> William C. Rhoden, N.Y. Times: NCAA made the right [...]

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:27 pm

5IML Nuffin he went to GT they can’t afford to pay players over there lol

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:28 pm

rwo,

Are you really that stupid? Bama controls the SEC? If that were true we wouldn’t have been body slammed with the 2nd worst probation ever handed down in 2002 you dolt?

As for the Julio incident that man that paid for a short day fishing trip was a man whom Julio had known for years. He was disabled and Julio had been helping him for several summers getting him into and out of fishing boats at the marina Julio worked at.

Last the disabled man and his family were all Auburn fans you imbecile. His son attends AU and his whole family are AU fans. The name of his business is Eagle supply as in war eagle. What manner of an idiot are you?

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:28 pm

rwo,

But BAMA runs the SEC and Cecil tried to sell Cam to MSU. Sounds like the omnipotent BAMA would have declared him months ago.

You should like a paranoid imbecile. Let’s change the subject to save you from embarrassing yourself further.

Ben Dukes

December 2nd, 2010
2:28 pm

It’s always been “Just don’t get caught.” It’s that way ON THE FIELD, too. On every play, there is holding….just don’t get caught. On almost every pass play there is a variation of “interference”…just don’t get caught. Want to hit the quarterback a little late? Do it…just don’t get caught.

This is no different.

Society is the same way. Want to drive 95 in 55? Just don’t get caught. Want to run around on your wife? Do it – just don’t get caught.

It’s the world we live in, and football is no different. People like to sanctify this sport, but there is absolutely no reason to. It is a game played by people who don’t know better and a business run by a greedy establishment who should. Sounds like every other industry to me.

Mike Slime

December 2nd, 2010
2:30 pm

Can anybody tell me what the heck this means?

“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.”

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:31 pm

JP,

You’re right that the school couldn’t afford to pay for Jr. But he went to Tennessee State, not Georgia Tech.

rwo

December 2nd, 2010
2:32 pm

Tide Rising,

Bama’s violations were so outlandish that they could not cover them up try as they might. Spin the Julio thing how you wish, we all know better. How about the Cadillac Escalades he and the other bama player showed up in? I guess that old disabled AU fan paid for them as well.

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:33 pm

O ok my bad. Still looking for Bell’s water-damaged phone but I can’t seem to find it. Right after I shake these black helicopters and find the second gunman on the grassy knoll….

DH

December 2nd, 2010
2:33 pm

James, those are some strong allegations. Can you provide proof?

NCAA rules Newton eligible

December 2nd, 2010
2:33 pm

[...] >> Patrick Rishe, Forbes: Newton’s story runs parallel to Bush, Bonds, Rodriguez >> Tony Barnhart, Atlanta Journal Constitution: Why the NCAA got the decision right >> William C. Rhoden, N.Y. Times: NCAA made the right [...]

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:34 pm

JPTigers,

Apparently you like to play fast and loose with the facts yourself. Cam’s brother anticipated playing with the Jags. He never did. He was cut and was on the practice squad for the jags which pays about 30k per year- hardly enough income to qualify for a 50k loan. And if that were true as to him getting the money for the loan then why doesn’t the church just say so instead of refusing to say where it came from? And as for Cam he was all Miss State the whole way through numerous statements and then changed his mind in the last month. Wonder why???

rwo

December 2nd, 2010
2:36 pm

51ML,

Talk about an imbecile if you just go look in the mirror you’ll come face to face with one. Talk about paranoid all you’ve done is attempt to sland, try and convict a player and a school when you know nothing about the matter. It is apparent that you can’t accept the facts or accept getting your butt kicked on the field.

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:36 pm

rwo,

So you’re saying that Julio taking a fishing trip paid for by someone he knew in high school is much worse than a father trying to sell his son to Mississippi State?

Cobb Dawg

December 2nd, 2010
2:39 pm

I guess if Cecil Newton was in any other business except “Pastoring”, it would be open and shut. But perhaps the NCAA is afraid to look at the records, or didn’t have the power. I still think that justice will prevail. You can’t be as dirty for as long as AU has and keep smiling (pun intended).

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:39 pm

TR,

Cam’s brother, Cecil Jr., was activated by the Jaguars for the final two games of last season but never actually played in a game. Sounds to me that he would have millions (not just $200K) to throw around.

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm

rwo,

Once again you prove what an imbecile you are. Spin the Julio thing? What is there to spin? It was thoroughly investigated by the NCAA and there was nothing there. Is there something wrong with taking a short fishing trip with a man you’ve known through several years whose family happens to be fans of your biggest rival? For Pete’s sake the man’s son is at AU as we speak you idiot.

Cadillac escalade? Nice try in mixing fiction with fact. That was an off color joke that a coach Clemson made in reference to the past Bama troubles in the early 2000s with boosters involved. The Clemson coach had to apologize and plainly stated that it was a bad joke made in poor taste. Once again I have to ask “Are you just stupid?”.

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm

rwo,

At this point, it’s not about Aub. Per the rules, Cam is ineligible to play anywhere in the SEC because of his father’s actions:

“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.”

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm

Was the damage repaired before Cam signed or not? According to church records it was! So… the money could not have possibly come from AU correct?? You are the one lying through your teeth because you are desperate to keep your “dynasty” from slipping away to your arch-rival. Any neutral observer can see that mullet!! “The church refuses to say where it came from”?? Where did u get that nugget; ESPN?? LMAO Ya’ll are so desperate right now I love it! How does that crow taste?

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:43 pm

5IML,

Then he would have made 2 games pro rata of the rookie salary and after taxes probably wouldn’t have had the money to pay for the church repairs. I believe he didn’t make the Jags team at all this year and his fledgling pro career was over before it started.

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:45 pm

TR,

I was being facetious.

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
2:46 pm

JP,

So there was no way for Cecil to actually get the money until the moment Cam signed?

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:46 pm

JPTigers,

It is possible that the church was repaird before Cam signed but what the hell does that prove? It just means money was paid upfront before Cam signed. The NYTimes article on the situation also states that the church is refusing to state where the money came from. They asked and the church refused to say. Simple as that.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
2:48 pm

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm
rwo,

Once again you prove what an imbecile you are. Spin the Julio thing? What is there to spin? It was thoroughly investigated by the NCAA and there was nothing there.

Assuming you’re talking about the fishing trip, there was a minor infraction requiring Julio to reimburse the cost of the trip in order to regain eligibility. But, like this case with Auburn, Bama’s program was never in jeopardy- only Julio’s eligibility.

But why are you fighting with the petulant little Aubie who can’t even string his own thoughts together, let alone argue against yours?

Grantland Rice

December 2nd, 2010
2:48 pm

JPTigers

Enough of the name calling and juvenile conduct, please.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
2:50 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm
Was the damage repaired before Cam signed or not? According to church records it was! So… the money could not have possibly come from AU correct?? You are the one lying through your teeth because you are desperate to keep your “dynasty” from slipping away to your arch-rival.

No issues there. Aubie is toast next season. Think Texas or UGA circa 2010.

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:50 pm

5IML,

I kinda knew that. The rookie salary I think is 350k and 2 games worth of play would have equated to 44k before taxes, agent’s cut, living expenses, etc. And I don’t think anyone can reasonable see a loan officer giving a loan based on the possiblility of a marginal player making a roster spot on an NFL team. This guy wasn’t exactly a marquee player.

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
2:51 pm

5IML, unbelievably, Slive said he didn’t think the spirit of that bylaw applied here.

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
2:52 pm

Bama dude,

You’re right. I probably shouldn’t argue with this idiot rwo. I believe I will never refrain to my own bit of advice- “Never argue with an idiot. He will only drag you down to his level and then beat you with experience”. What can I say? I argued with an idiot.

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:53 pm

Would u pay someone before they signed? There would be no way to hold you to that commitment! He could have taken the money from MSU and signed with AU anyway. It’s not like a contract would be drawn up in a PFP scheme. But then again Bammers should know because it’s business as usual over there LMAO

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
2:56 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
2:53 pm
Would u pay someone before they signed? There would be no way to hold you to that commitment!

Google Albert Means, JP. Those people were paid a little summim for every official visit. You are naive son.

Grantland Rice

December 2nd, 2010
3:00 pm

The minimum NFL player salary for a new player is $310,000, increased from $295,000 in 2009. Two games (out of a 16 game season) = $38,750. Unsure how (or if) signing bonuses are handled for a two game season.

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:00 pm

Yeah lol when u google Albert Means the first thing that comes up is “Alabama recruiting scandal”!! Nice way to make your point by incriminating your own team LMAO That was a good one tho. It says “One of the decades top college recruiting scandals” What school did he sign with? Nuff said

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:02 pm

He got 30 k from boosters but the OTHER 170k (The bulk of the cash) came AFTER Means signed with the Tide lol

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
3:03 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:00 pm
Yeah lol when u google Albert Means the first thing that comes up is “Alabama recruiting scandal”!! Nice way to make your point by incriminating your own team LMAO That was a good one tho. It says “One of the decades top college recruiting scandals” What school did he sign with? Nuff said

Y’know, I tried to give you some credit. I guess you are an idiot after all. Point is, those folks got money from Kentucky, UGA, and Alabama that we know of.

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:04 pm

Enter your comments here

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
3:05 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:02 pm
He got 30 k from boosters but the OTHER 170k (The bulk of the cash) came AFTER Means signed with the Tide lol

Guess how much Cecil needed to fix the church?

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:06 pm

But like I said the bulk of the cash was not delivered until he signed his Letter of Intent….Right??

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
3:08 pm

Of course the “bulk” of it was. So what? From what I read 30-40k is all he needed to fix the church. Look, I ain’t saying anybody from Aubie paid him, but your assertion that his having the church fixed before signing proves they didn’t is asinine.

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:08 pm

Keep raking the muck and scraping the bottom of the barrel while we look forward to playing for the SEC title…..love the smell of desperation from a mullet ROTFL

BAMA dude

December 2nd, 2010
3:13 pm

Whatever dude. Like I said yesterday, you aren’t bright enough to debate with. Carry on.

Auburn Guy

December 2nd, 2010
3:13 pm

Good try, Tony, but trying to teach logic to this bunch of jackasses is the proverbial pearls before swine scenario, and I do mean swine in the fullest sense. It’s not the Bama fans who are the problem but the nitwit UGA blowhards who wouldn’t recognize reason and logic if it fell off a tree and hit them upside their thick skulls. Your people, Tony, your people. Yeah, I know, I know, Cam’s daddy MAY or MAY NOT have done something questionable, I get it. But, the relationship between Cam and Auburn has been under scrutiny for many months now, well before the season even started, and nothing, NOTHING, has been found to invalidate that relationship between school and player. I also get it that it just absolutely chaps the Bullpuppies behinds that Auburn was smart enough to check all of this out BEFORE the season started to make sure that nothing was amiss and that that is why Auburn has been so confident these last few weeks. Auburn knew that no improprieties had been committed on their end and that Cam’s eligibility was secure, otherwise they would never had played him. I know you can’t deal with or accept that, ugga people, but that’s the way it is. To you it’s all a great and grand conspiracy and I hate to break it to you but that fire just ain’t burnin’. You can pee in your red panties as long as you like but it won’t change anything. You had a lousy year. Your team waayyyy underperformed and Auburn kicked your butts this year. Auburn’s going to win the NC this year, Cam’s going to win the Heisman, and guess what? They’re going to keep those trophies forever because nothing is going to happen to take them away. No sanctions, no probation, no death penalty, nothing. Get over it, get over it, get over it…..GET….OVER….IT!!!!!

Of course, you won’t, and that really pleases us. Have a happy in your face War Eagle!

5IML

December 2nd, 2010
3:14 pm

JP is being delusion and ignoring the very facts he stated a moments ago.

It’s okay for you to admit you’re either wrong or completely ignorant of the facts.

MURPHY

December 2nd, 2010
3:15 pm

rwo-post at 2:25

You were refering to Ingram is presume? That’s a little much for a comment.

Grantland Rice

December 2nd, 2010
3:15 pm

Auburn Guy

Please cease with the juvenile name calling. Thank you and good luck Saturday.

DanJ

December 2nd, 2010
3:18 pm

Dooley the Vol: I infer from your cheap shot that, so far, you have not contaminated Mississippi State University by going there. I fervently hope that you will keep it that way.

truther

December 2nd, 2010
3:19 pm

The Newtons (father and son) both wreak of a bad odor, no matter how it is spinned. Auburn people have sold their collective soul. The symbol of Auburn is not the tiger, or the eagle, or Sanford Hall, or Jordan-Hare Stadium, but now. appropriately, a roll of toliet paper, and not that hanging on a tree limb at Toomer’s Corner.

DTanna

December 2nd, 2010
3:23 pm

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!!

December 2nd, 2010
3:25 pm

WHAT WE HAVE HEAR IS A FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE!!! WE ALSO TONY HAVE A DOUBLE STANDARD GAME THAT COMMISH SLIME HAS PLAYED!!! THAT STANDARD IS THE SAME ONE THAT BILLY CLINTON PLATED YEAR’S AGO & THAT WOULD BE…………IT’S ACCORDING TO WHAT YOUR DEFINITION OF IS……. IS!!