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

Snake Plissken

December 2nd, 2010
5:48 pm

Mr. College Football my one eye…you need to get into politics

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
5:56 pm

JPTigers

December 2nd, 2010
3:44 pm
“5IML Where have I missed the facts? Albert Means got paid 200k to go to the University Of Alabama…..THAT IS A FACT!! ”

JPTigers,

Actually that is not a FACT as you ignorantly assert. Albert Means never got a penny so clearly you have not a damn clue as to what the hell you are talking about. His high school coach demanded 200k from a bama booster to steer him to Bama.

According to the records the NCAA and FBI believe that the Bama booster -the infamous Logan Young- had paid the high school coach somewhere in the neighborhood of 10k to 20k due to cash withdrawals that the Young had made. Even then they can’t even prove that the money was given to the high school coach- they just believe it happened as I believe. Young was a dirty booster who had always tried to get involved in the football program and he ended up ruining it for several years- just as several prominent AU boosters will probably end up ruining the AU program for years to come.

Interestingly Means was quite upset about being betrayed and being bought and sold like chattel. He became depressed, withdrew from school and transferred to Memphis and was out of football a year later. Don’t you find it the least bit curious that Cam, unlike Albert Means, is in such bright spirits even after being sold out and betrayed by his own dad? Of course if he was in on it he wouldn’t be upset at all. Just something to think about.

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
5:58 pm

And of course we all just dreamed the comment from an MSU coach/recruiter that Cam Newton called and was emotional as he told the coach that he would not be coming to MSU AND that “the money was just too much”. Either the MSU coach or Cam Newton lied about that phone call!!!

Tide Rising

December 2nd, 2010
6:01 pm

Beach Dawg

December 2nd, 2010
4:39 pm
“Hey, if Cam say he didn’t know, Cam didn’t know. He has a demonstrated record of being Honest Abe despite stealing a laptop and being caught cheating at UF.”

Damn if that wasn’t funny. A demonstrated record of honesty by Cash “honest abe” Newton

TrishaDishaWarEagle

December 2nd, 2010
6:07 pm

@We rent players Inc …show some proof of that conversation..phone log, transcript, text…tape

until then, just innuendo, and innuendo is not a valid reason to deny eligibility.

Thus endeth the lesson…

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:09 pm

BAMA dude The NCAA is bad enough but the SEC is downright evil. Mike Slive is totally useless and only cares about propping up, protecting, and pimping for the SEC. It appears to me that he drug his feet as long as he could before he WAS FORCED by MSU to finally submit this story to the NCAA.

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:11 pm

TrishaDishaWarEagle Go teach your bs elsewhere. Go back and read my email- it was widely reported that Cam had the conversation with an MSU coach and was emotional as he told him that he would not be coming to MSU; that the money was just too much. I did not write that comment but I read it numerous times. Now either the MSU was lying; OR Cam Newton knew very well what had taken place.

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:12 pm

The MSU coach.

NCAA COPS

December 2nd, 2010
6:13 pm

Trisha,

Enjoy your one and done year in the sun. Cam was the sole difference in AU being 7-5 vs 12-0. He will either go pro or be declared ineligible when the NCAA finishes their investigation. Then you can go back to the mediocrity for which you are known. Oh, and if you do win it all your title will be either vacated or permanently tainted. No rational, reasonable person believes Cash didn’t know what his daddy was up to. And BTW, we’re not done with our investigation by any means. These things take time and you can rest assured we will be coming for you. And I have a feeling you and every other AU fan knows it.

NCAA COPS

December 2nd, 2010
6:16 pm

we rent players,

Its also a fact that if you review the various recruiting transcripts that Cam was 100% committed and MSU bound. He was a lock for MSU and said so on numerous occasions. Right up till about a month before signing day. Something happened to change his mind. Wonder what that something was.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:19 pm

Me and Cam don’t know what yall are talking about. I picked Auburn for my son because they pay better than MSU. But don’t tell Cam, he is the only one in the world who doesn’t know..wink,wink… War Tigers!!!

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:22 pm

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:03 pm
The whole “they just set a new precedent” doesn’t fly…because NO MONEY changed hands…if a parent is that stupid to throw it out there without any money, they need more help than NCAA could give ‘em…

You UGA fans just don’t get it….if they would have ruled him ineligible, then that would have set the precedent the other way….follow me here…as a booster of, let’s say Ga Tech, I could go to Ohio State Univ and say that I am representing Aaron Murray and he wants $200k to transfer to your school, you say no, and then I blow the whistle and say that I have records of offering Aaron Murray to Ohio State for $200k and the NCAA needs to declare him ineligible…do you see what kind of Wild, Wild West we would have with boosters/fans/bogus recruiters trying to get star players from their rivals declared ineligible?? The NCAA doesn’t differentiate between family, friend, agent, etc. in the solicitation, so if they ruled Cam ineligible, then “let the phone calls and offers begin” to any of your favorite rival to get your rival’s QB ruled ineligible….it ain’t happenin…may be hard for you Dawgs to follow, but there it is..exactly why he wasn’t ruled ineligible…now live with it you babies…never seen such whining in my life…..

Enjoy Shreveport Dawg fans, the Red Cherry Hotel there is really nice…you talk about mediocrity? How does 6-6 taste? And try to beat one team, just ONE team this year, that has a winning record…maybe you’ll get Central Florida in the bowl game….has to suck to be a Dawg fan these days!!!

Scam

December 2nd, 2010
6:23 pm

If it looks like a duck (stolen lap top), quacks like a duck (repeated cheating on college papers and traffic violations), and waddles like a duck (”Reverend” father “solicits” but doesn’t “accept” funds), it’s not a dog (Scam knew “nothing”). You can cut all the fine legal hairs you want to, but it doesn’t get rid of the stink of this slimy situation. Those with common sense (most around the nation not associated with Auburn) know better. The rest are trying to sell newspapers or internet articles (Tony B), TV shows, and radio programs. Auburn and Scam Newton got away with one, but in a very OJ Simpsonesque manner. Just because you’re found “not guilty” doesn’t mean you’re “innocent.” The NCAA has only proven, yet again, that it is a joke of inconsistency and inequity when it comes to enforcement of even obvious issues.

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:27 pm

And BTW, all you that are saying “it was widely reported that Cam said this or that”…give me a break, reported by who, bloggers??? After MSU opened up the story, what do you expect to hear from a MSU coach, that they were in violation?? (And losing to Colorado, really? Colorado? come on man, at least represent the SEC, that’s embarrassing)…Ouch!

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:27 pm

Let’s remember that Barnhart is nothing but an SEC shill. I enjoy his comments but generally they are totally self-serving for ONLY the SEC. I am an SEC fan and love to watch the games every week. BUT the SEC is not the only conference that matters. Barnhart has been pumping the question all year as it progressed: can Bama get into the NC with one loss?; with 2 losses? And now he restarts the bidding with “can Auburn get into the NC game with a loss to SC in the SECCG”. For me the answer is DEFINTELY NO- not if there are 2 undefeated teams in the country.
But keep on pimping Tony.

The Truth

December 2nd, 2010
6:28 pm

*** Stars Fell on Auburn Alabama ***

Well… Asterisks look sorta like stars.

bank walker

December 2nd, 2010
6:28 pm

These Aubies are dumb as a sack of rocks, bunch of Jerry’s kids. It pains me to read some of your twists and turns about this whole situation.

Tony, I thought you were better than this. You are just as much of the problem as the NZAA and Slime. You just want to make the money. We all know CBS wouldn’t have allowed you to write what was logical. People like you Slime and the NZAA are what’s wrong with this country, but you guys are showing kids that it’s alright, just to make a dollar. You were raised better than that Tone. Stop being a PU$$.

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:31 pm

aualum87 Why don’t you go and listen to Pat Haden’s comments today on the NCAA telling uSC that the parents/player were in essence the same person/entity. There was no distinction between the parent and child/player.

Cam Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:31 pm

That’s right baby!

I’m a ***STAR*** player.

Don’t hate on me. Hate the game baby. Hate the game.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:33 pm

I did not inhale

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:33 pm

aualum87 These comments were not by bloggers- they wre a part of the continuing saga as it unfolded with comments attributed to an MSU coach/recruiter.

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:33 pm

@we rent players, who cares what Pat Haden said? I don’t give a rat’s a** what Pat Haden said because MONEY CHANGED HANDS at USC, so it’s a totally different situation…Haden is just mad cuz USC is going to suck for the next 10 years and he’ll get fired….

I am a minister

December 2nd, 2010
6:34 pm

My name is Cecil Newton. I am a minister of the gospel. Did you know that the gospel means good news? Here’s the good news of the day: I only solicited funds. I never agreed to take them. By the way, if you’re interested, maybe you would like to solicit a relationship with Jesus. That doesn’t mean that you agree to accept him, by the way. Just give it a good solicitation and see if he says yes. Then you can change your mind later if you change your mind.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:34 pm

Cam I done told you quit talkin before somebody figures us out. You ruin this for me and you gonna get a switchin boy.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:36 pm

@ I am a minister…… Stop playin on the computer Pat Dye

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:36 pm

@we rent players–”they were a part of the continuing saga as it unfolded with comments attributed to an MSU coach/recruiter.”…oh really, attributed by who….show some proof that it wasn’t overheard by a third party to the friend of another third party….provide SOME documentation, ANY documentation (or a link to the article) that says that the MSU coach said that..

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:36 pm

aualum87 Well it sure points out that the NCAA is talking out of both sides of their mouth in these situations. I am not talking about a money trail or lack thereof here. I’m talking about the distinction that the NCAA has made regarding evidence of Cam’s knowledge of the PFP talks.

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:38 pm

And please don’t say to look at the article by Joe Schad or Thayer Evans….give me a break….by the way, has anyone heard from Thayer Evans or is he already fired and working for TMZ now?

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:40 pm

aualum87 Go back and plow your back 40 plowboy. I don’t have to show you crap- you idiots have denied anything ever happened from the get go- but now you can’t deny it any longer. The written comments are out there but you don’t want to read them. You hope to God that he didn’t know.You probably deny that Auburn has been on major probation 7 times- 7 TIMES. The second most penalized school in the NCAA. Would we be surprised if Auburn was cheating again??? HELL NO!!!

Solicitation

December 2nd, 2010
6:40 pm

Let me get this straight, so if “solicit” a prostitute, then I haven’t “agreed” to have sex with her. No, I don’t think that’s the way it works. This is a joke of a decision. What’s even more sad is that Auburn fans, blinded by their own loyalty, don’t even realize the irony of winning the battle (eligibility) but losing the war (ethics).

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:41 pm

Solicitation No one has ever confused Auburn with an ethical institution.

HereWeGoAgain

December 2nd, 2010
6:41 pm

Another blog serving as little more than a venue for UGA to whine and complain.

Bulldawgs are beginning to be the laughing-stock of this state. Excessive whining is making Athens look WORSE… not BETTER.

Geeez, move on already.

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:42 pm

Listen, I follow what you’re saying and it totally smells like a rat, but if they suspended Cam based on that, it will be a Wild, Wild West scenario that Tony mentions in the article, where rival boosters will solicit on a player’s behalf just to get him ruled ineligible….

Cecil is shady no doubt, but you never know, and we may never really know, if his Dad threw it out there to see what the response would be, and MSU said “no way” and he backed off…I just can’t figure out why MSU kept recruiting him after that point, knowing that he would be a dangerous recruit if it ever came out…

UGA 6-6 & Liberty Bowl

December 2nd, 2010
6:45 pm

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:47 pm

@we rent players, you don’t have to show anybody anything, but you can just come on here and blurt out BS about this and that…probably another frustrated Dawg fan, unhappy at 6-6, whining about the season, and beside yourself that AU kicked your a**, so enjoy Shreveport, we’ll be in Glendale if you need us….

Little brother got jealous

December 2nd, 2010
6:49 pm

AU was so jealous of big brother Bama that they sold their soul to the Cecil. Anyone who thinks that the Tiger Eagles came out of this thing clean has been smoking some of the Auburn homer weed. I hear it’s some good stuff.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:51 pm

aualum87….Why you trashin me man ? I sold my boy to yall and this is the thanks I get. By the way see you at church and you got some explaining to do talkin about me like that.

Cam Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:51 pm

Don’t matter what people say. One thing I learned at Florida – it only matters what you get caught doing. I learned my lesson the hard way. I ain’t gonna get caught no more.

We rent players Inc

December 2nd, 2010
6:53 pm

aualum87 Are you that ignorant??? I am not a Dawg fan pal. The best outcome for me of the Ga-Aub game would have been if they both lost. I am an FSU graduate- NOT A DAWG fan. You Aubies have become so use to running down Ga fans that you think that is all that reads this blog. Read the comments closely- that are lots of SEC fans on here that are not Ga fans/graduates.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:53 pm

Coach Dye grows homer weed in his garden. Cam likes it. That is why he smiles all of the time. Puff puff pass Pat, how many times I gotta tell you ?

t-bone

December 2nd, 2010
6:55 pm

A. J. Green’s biggest mistake was that he didn’t get his mom or dad to sell the jersey. How could Cecil Newton offer to sell his son’s services without his knowledge? If MSU had accepted the offer how was Cecil supposed to make good on the deal if there was no understanding with his son? Hard to believe that dad had no influence in Cam’s decision where to play. Auburn may not have offered any money but it would not surprise me if some booster didn’t lay out some cash.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:55 pm

Cam, Cam, Cam, ….. What was I gonna say ? That’s good stuff Pat

aualum87

December 2nd, 2010
6:55 pm

I’m sorry guys. You’re right. I just get defensive and lose my temper sometimes when the herpes flare up.

Cecil Newton

December 2nd, 2010
6:57 pm

Hello people, I picked Auburn for Cam, doesn’t anyone remember the press conference….. “It’s Auburn” Now do you remember ?

Einsteindawg

December 2nd, 2010
7:03 pm

Tony, with all due respect, you are full of s$#t. This article was only written to keep your job as Mr. College Football. You should be ashamed of yourself. (I’ll still read your blogs.)

Cam Newton

December 2nd, 2010
7:13 pm

Daddy said Auburn put a smile on his face. That’s all I know.

asterisk

December 2nd, 2010
7:13 pm

Mark McGwire breaking Roger Maris’ homerun record*
Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s homerun record*
Auburn – 2010 SEC champions *

Newton, $cam

December 2nd, 2010
7:13 pm

C’mon Tony, do you really think that may Dad would try to hit Miss. St. up for $180K and then have me sign to play at Auburn for FREE, do you?

We might be classless rule-breakers but we aren’t fools.

William C Smith

December 2nd, 2010
7:25 pm

For those who say Cam Newton had to know about this. Next time a friend of yours tells you his wife or her husband left them for another person.
Tell them they are lying they should have known about the affair.

BULLDAWG BILL

December 2nd, 2010
7:28 pm

If no money changed hands, then how did Cecil get the money to fix up his chruch?

Of course he got paid!!! Don’t be stupid.

Now the recruiters will have to pay off all the parents as well as the high school coaches to get a kid to sign a scholarship.