Why Cam Newton got my vote for the Heisman Trophy

In our post-game of the SEC championship Saturday night, my CBS colleague Tim Brando said that his Heisman vote was going to Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. He said he was casting the vote “reluctantly” because he wished he knew more facts about the controversial case involving Newton’s father, Cecil, and the extent to which the father may have solicited money in the son’s recruitment.

I’ve read others who have written that they won’t vote for Newton because the father, according to the NCAA, had committed a rules violation by discussing a play-for-pay deal for the son. The NCAA  ultimately decided that the violation did not rise to the level of suspending Cam Newton. A lot of people, including four BCS conference commissioners (ACC, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big 12) publicly expressed disagreement with that ruling. SEC commissioner Mike Slive and incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert have defended the ruling based on the evidence and based on the the NCAA rules, which don’t have a by-law to address this specific case. We can safely say that one will be written in the future.

I respect those people who disagree with the ruling. But if they believe that Newton is the best player in college football this season–and at this point there is little debate on that–I would hope that they obstained from voting as their form of protest. Because if you feel Newton is the best player and you vote for somebody else because of how this case FEELS, that is not fair to the kid or fair to the process.

Now do I wish I knew more? Do I wish all of my questions had been answered? Sure. There is an uncomfortable feeling that more information could come out down the road on this case. Based on what the NCAA said last week this case is still open. Could we still have a Reggie Bush situation? It’s possible.

But I just don’t think we get to make decisions of these kinds based on our FEELINGS. Or at least we shouldn’t. We have to base them on FACTS. And the facts are that the NCAA has looked into this case and determined that Cameron Newton had no knowledge of what his father was doing and that Auburn University, where the son attends school, also had no knowledge of or participated in such talks. You can chose not to believe those findings. That is certainly your right. A year or two from now you could be proven right.

But which is worse:

A) Giving Newton the trophy and then having to take it back when the facts on the ground change? Or

B) Punishing him before all the facts are determined only to discover there is no evidence of cheating? You can go back and say you’re sorry but what good does that do?

I’ll take column A. It won’t be any fun going through another Heisman giveback if it happens. But at least there was a process that had to be followed. If that happens, as embarrassing as it would be, at least the decision was based on facts instead of how people felt about the process.

A guy came up to me the other day and told me he couldn’t vote for Newton because “I know what the facts say but it just LOOKS bad!”

I told him this was not “Dancing With The Stars” where you can vote against Bristol Palin because you don’t like her mother’s politics. Please tell me that the discourse on college football’s biggest award is being conducted on a higher level.

Anway, here is my Heisman ballot, submitted on Sunday:

1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn:  The first player in SEC history to rush for over 1,000 yards (1,409) and pass for over 2,000 yards (3,998). He ran for 20 touchdowns and threw for 28 more. He even caught a touchdown pass.

2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: Led the nation in rushing with 1,682 yards (152.91 ypg) despite missing one game on suspension. He scored 21 touchdowns rushing.

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Completed  71.01 percent of his passes for 3,506 yards, 33 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Last season Moore threw 39 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. In three years Moore is 38-2 as Boise’s starting quarterback.

The Heisman ballot only has three slots but here are four more I would have added:

4. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Virginia Tech: Taylor has been magnificent this season and if the Hokies had not started 0-2 he would have gotten stronger consideration for the Heisman. Taylor threw for 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions and was the driving force behind Virginia Tech’s 11-game winning streak.

5. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State: This guy is a freak of nature just like Calvin Johnson was for Georgia Tech. He had 102 catches for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns. He led Division I-A  in receptions per game (9.27) and receiving yards per game (151.36).

6. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: This guy will be the No. 1 quarterback  taken in the NFL Draft. He led the Pac-10 in total offense with 438 yards rushing and 3,051 passing. He averaged 8.72 per offensive play. He’s a big reason Stanford is 11-1 and going to the Orange Bowl.

7. Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada: He is the West Coast version of Cam Newton. Kaepernick was No. 9 in the nation in total offense with 1,184 rushing and another 2,830 passing. He ran for 20 touchdowns and passed for 21 more.

So who did I leave out?

Have a good weekend.

Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

975 comments Add your comment

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

Driving Ms Dooley,

Alot of fans are against Auburn-not just Dawg fans.I am not one of the haters.Im a UGA fan first then a SEC fan second.Heck I even pulled for UT this year whick I never have done.I cant pull against a Dooley.Dont classify all these haters as Dawg fans because you are wrong in doing so.Auburn and Cam as I stated earlier proved they are the best on the field not in the media!

ol' balls coach

December 10th, 2010
12:59 pm

To hear “Must Read” tell it – I don’t see how any other teams in the SEC ever get decent players. Surely no 4 or 5 star would go to Bama, UF or anywhere otehr than Auburn based on the theory put forth by Must Read. Sorry, but thats a stretch.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
12:59 pm

@ Uncle Ned – the article you just posted uses an LSU blog post full of complete and utter BS as it’s primary source, but thanks for playing.

The Truth Will Out

December 10th, 2010
1:00 pm

@Driving Ms Dooley

If you’re a Vol fan, then I’m TrishaDishaWarEagle — and you know that’s not true!

;-)

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:01 pm

ol’ balls coach,

Hmmm-who did Lattimore play for this year? Aubarn? I get your point.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:01 pm

Dont classify all these haters as Dawg fans because you are wrong in doing so.

Dang right. I’m an Auburn “hater” with every fiber of my being.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:02 pm

@ Dr. Love – Malzhan and Nutt did not get along at all. I think Malzhan’s record this year speaks for itself. Of course it doesn’t hurt having Cam Newton plus 24 seniors and probably the best overall offensive line in the country. I suspect that Auburn will be 7-5 or 8-4 next year with all those seniors graduating and guys like Cam and Fairley headed to the pros.

Malzhan has been offered $3milllion to coach Vandy, according to the Nashville paper – apparently they find something worthwhile there.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:02 pm

Bama dude, I am talking about about Bylaw 12.3.3. It was broken. Auburn is on record declaring that. Cam Newton’s own school declared him ineligible by NCAA rules. The establishing of intent was purely subjective, not by rule.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:03 pm

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:30 pm

Joe Bob,

Im a Dawg and I think Cam should be the Heisman winner.I support what he and Au have done on the field.Off the field I have seen no proof of wrong doing. Save your UGA Fan remarks for the ones that you are sure are DUMB & DELUSIONAL! Im pretty sure SOME Auburn fans fit this catagory as well.

MURPH

Joe Bob would fit the delusional fan statement

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:03 pm

BAMA dude,

Sorry forgot the Bammers. Hoe foolish of me to do so. lol

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:03 pm

ARdawg,

Amen he does.

The Truth Will Out

December 10th, 2010
1:03 pm

@SEC Champs

Vandy would be a step up from Auburn. At least they lose clean.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:05 pm

The Truth Will Out,

Yes Vandy loses clean-Auburn doesnt lose.

dawgster

December 10th, 2010
1:05 pm

Trey..have to agree with you about integrity…it seems that is being overlooked, and i’m not talking about this year, i’m talking about his road to Au…The award if he wins just, and i expect he will just lost some of the prestige that it stood for..If you want to make the case that its only about the best football player, then no doubt Cam is the winnerr, but i thought the award had more meaning to it than that and i know you can’t predict how these winners will carry themselves in the future, but i can’t recall another player winning the award when as much info had been discovered before the award was given as there has been about Newton…but as of now the NCAA has declared him eligible, so you have to accept it, but what does that really say about the awared itself now…

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:06 pm

@ The Truth – I don’t remember Auburn losing any games this season. I remember lovely statistics like 49-31 and 28-27.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:06 pm

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:02 pm
Bama dude, I am talking about about Bylaw 12.3.3. It was broken. Auburn is on record declaring that. Cam Newton’s own school declared him ineligible by NCAA rules. The establishing of intent was purely subjective, not by rule.

Disagree. The key is “represent for compensation.” In this instance Cecil wasn’t representing Cam, he was pimping him. The difference? When you represent someone, they authorize you to do so and get the money while you get a fee for your services. In this instance, per the evidence, Cecil was to be getting money unbeknownst to Cam. Also, there is no evidence of compensation here in any form since no deal happened.

404

December 10th, 2010
1:06 pm

Barnhart = SEC W-h-o-r-e

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

404 = SEC wannabe.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

404,

You must be an ACC w-h-o-r-e?

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:08 pm

FOR THE RECORD

I am not a Cam or AU hater. Cam has earned the Heisman on the field. To accomplish what he has done on the field and in the SEC (no less) is quite a feat/accomplishment.

However, There is a lot of smoke here on his integrity. Hopefully there is no fire and it is the haterz that have done this but, with Cecil in the picture I am finding that to be doubtful.

It would be a shame that one as talented as Cam be led astray by others, his own father included that might taint his Heisman trophy. A crying shame. Of course there are other allegations during his time at Florida that would cast more shadow

icallbs

December 10th, 2010
1:09 pm

The kid from Stanford will be a better pro and would be more than a worthy choice when considering the complete criteria for the Heisman. But, character matters less and less in society so Newton is a shoe-in.

404

December 10th, 2010
1:09 pm

Anyone else remeber when Tebow didnt even appear on Heisman ballots out West, a couple of years ago.

No one should be surprised if Andrew Luck wins when the ACC, BIG10, BIG10, and PAC10 all vote as a block against the SEC and Scam Newton.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:10 pm

ARdawg,

Im shocked Cecil wont be attending the Heisman ceremony. If that was my son-no way in HEll Im missing that!

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:11 pm

Murph, there’s also no way in hell you’d have done what Cecil did to have to make that decision.

How2fish

December 10th, 2010
1:11 pm

For the record I think Cam is the best player this year in college football period. I for now have not seen anything that leads me to believe Auburn has done anything wrong in recruiting the young man…I also see why some folks would have a problem voting for him for the Heisman but I think he wins it and it won’t be close. I won’t howl with glee if this FBI investigation brings out info that costs Auburn dearly. And make no mistake at this point ONLY Auburn stands to suffer going forward Cam will be in the NFL and swimming in cash but neither I nor most of the fans in the SEC will shed many tears for Auburn if it does..I hope it doesn’t happen I love college football and this would damage it nationally and the SEC specifically .

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:11 pm

404,

Luck is a great Q.B-But in no way,shape or form can he out play Cam.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:12 pm

@ 404 – Newton is projected to win up to 70% of the ballots. It’s likely to be the biggest landslide in history. Those in the media out there pontificating about what they will or won’t do with their vote because they are taking some moral stand would, if the kid was local, do as Barnhart has done and look at the facts that are available right now and vote accordingly.

I totally agree that there is regional and probably conference bias when it comes to voting, but when a player is as dominant and has as much impact on his team’s season as Newton did, he’s a shoo-in.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:14 pm

MURPH

I don’t think I could miss it either, “especially” if I knew my son was innocent and earned it (which imho, he did)

Cecil not going reeks of something, what I don’t know or won’t speculate

404

December 10th, 2010
1:15 pm

Poor SEC trolls. Just cant seem to handle the TRUTH.

Money ALWAYS leaves a trail.

And before next football season begins,
ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the Truth about Scam Newton
will see the public light.

And the Scam Newton money-trail fraud will be exposed.

It took 4 years, but teh severe depth of the Reggie Busg fradu was epxose and it turned out to be MUCH WORSE than originally suspected.

In the not too distant future, Scam and auburn will be exposed too.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
1:16 pm

Bama Dude,
I think he knew his dad was shopping him–yes. Will that ever be proven–very doubtful.

But can you imagine the distractions and the hate that this guy has endured while performing the way he has? I think its amazing that he didn’t choke up at some point.

As far as the laptop and the cheating allegations go. on the laptop, the charges were dropped. The cheating allegations are allegations.

There are guys playing in the SEC with DUIs on their record. With arrests for all sorts of things including resisting arrest and assault. For everyone to call him a scum bag is just piling on in my book.

Again, athletes aren’t choir boys. Especially SEC athletes. Cams offenses don’t even rank up there with other eligible players.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:16 pm

@ How2Fish – thank you for not lighting a torch and picking up a pitchfork to storm the Plains. Most of the blabber from other SEC fans is that Auburn is going down, is going to get the death penalty, lose accreditation, etc. If they think this will somehow help their school or the SEC should Auburn have done something so horrible to warrant such a penalty, they are seriously mistaken.

I believe worst case scenario for Auburn at this point is that it turns out there is evidence that Cam knew what Cecil and Kenny Rogers were up to, and he’s declared retroactively ineligible for this season and Auburn has to vacate the wins. That would suck but at the same time, however he wound up at Auburn, he didn’t cheat once the ball was kicked off.

How2fish

December 10th, 2010
1:17 pm

I’m thinking Daddy Newton would pay 180,000 bucks to be able to be at the Heisman ceremony tomorrow evening…ironic isn’t it? A few months from now that will be chump change for Cam.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:18 pm

How2fish

I agree with you, somewhat.

I think Tony Barnhart is a media ‘Ho and is projecting his orders that Cam should win the Heisman. Barnhart also condoned the NCAA’s clearing of Cam so quickly and behind closed doors. I do not take umbrage with Cam and his accomplishments but the NCAA’s, AU’s and Barnharts actions is smelling of some sort of butt coverage cover up. It’s almost as if Cam and AU “HAS TO” win. Something is inherently wrong with that

Brian

December 10th, 2010
1:20 pm

The Heisman goes to the best college player in the country..CAM NEWTON IS THE BEST COLLEGE PLAYER IN THE COUNTRY..ENOUGH SAID..all of you talking character and morals..WELL JUDGES sorry he is human and your say so means nothing and as PMC said its not your or our job to investigate cases. One more thing he didnt get expelled from Florida, hell if Tebow wouldve left early the things he did would have been swept under the mat and he wouldve shined at Florida..but you know when it rains it pours glad CAM has on his rain coat for you HATERS!!

DwayneL

December 10th, 2010
1:20 pm

What happened to innocent until proven guilty?? I think he voted correctly.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
1:21 pm

BAMA dude, using your logic, if I walk into a bank present a gun and a note asking for money, but for some reason I don’t leave with the money, I am not guilty of armed robbery?

bitter "dawg fan"

December 10th, 2010
1:21 pm

money may be the rule to all evil, that being said, INTEGERITY and MONEY have no place in the same sentence yaaaw, the allbuuurrrrn with there high light machine against oregon is just to much money to pass up over a integerity issue. and how much money is lost due to the hated RACE CARD which would have come flying out had scam been put on the bench, live just aint fair so just chose not to watch allburrn like me. they will be plenty of quality bowl games this year, PS this is how the NCAA will handel all cases in the future that might cost them 50 million if properly addressed, so the average ball fan only option is “JUST REFUSS TO WATCH OR SUPPORT ALBURN FOOTBALL

Steve

December 10th, 2010
1:22 pm

would like one of you “experts” to answer these simple question (and please with intelligent responses..not your hate and jealously)

1) how does one explain the situation that finds Cam’s father in a hotel room with two MSU coaches? Who initiated this meeting? very important point i believe.
2) who brought MSU booster Mr. Bell into the conversation? I think we can trust Mr Newton did not know Mr Bell, so clearly his involvement was initiated by MSU. There was no written agent agreement with Rodgers, or that would have been produced. And yet, Mr Rodgers contacted Mr. Bond (former MSU player), who supposedly contacted Mr Bell…Bond and Bell are clearly MSU supporters/officials. How does MSU justify on one hand..”We dismissed it” vs the above chain of contact?

My point is this, their clearly was discussion held that appear to be a potential violation…but where is the proof who initated this conversation..suspect NCAA could not determine, which left them with a “he said, she said”. From there, they would investigate the money trail..clearly to date, they have not found one..perhaps one will turn up, but from all accounts that we have, the Newtons have been forthcoming with all of their finacial records. clearly, from all accounts, Auburn has been fully cooperating.

At this point, the NCAA is left with simply stating,
a) a conversation btw MSU and Mr Newton took place, but we cannot determine who INITIATED the discussion.
b) we find no money exchanged hands
c) we find no Auburn participation
This left NCAA to determine that Mr Newton was in violation, whether the “shopper” or the customer, and that was wrong. So contact Auburn to give the findings, Auburn declares him ineligible, and this submits for reinstatement. NCAA reinstatement panel had no hard, solid evidence to know who initated the discussion, or that CAM was a participate. Seeing no hint of “acceptance” or “offer”…what did they legitimately have to punish Cam Newton?

Again, don’t just throw your hate at me…pls give me logical, well-thought out, reasonable responses.

Btw, I am an Auburn fan..but only because my son attends there…I did not, nor any other SEC school. Really just a CFB fan.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:22 pm

ARdawg you’re getting close to tinfoil hat territory now. The NCAA doesn’t and shouldn’t conduct its business in the public eye. They investigated and found what they found.

People seem to forget who the “NCAA” is. You do realize that the COI and COA are made up of school administrators from around the country, right? This isn’t the KGB here.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:23 pm

Then Auburn was pretty darn stupid for declaring thier own player ineligible.

Here is the problem, you are arguing as if this were a leagal issue. (and othere as if it were a moral issue). It’s not, its a NCAA issue, and that is not subject to normal legal arguments. There no legal standards to be proven about “amateur status” in a made of game of ball. It’s club rules.

2 things:

-I would be willing to bet that if this entire episode were back in the summer, Cam Newton would have been sitting out at least one game, per the NCAA rule, all unfairness acknowledege and accepted. As it has always been.

- when the NCAA revises this particularr set of rules in the nest few months for future clarification, it will NOT favor a higher standard of proof for intent. It will be iron clad. And it would not retroactively worked out well for Newton. Skive has already stated in public that the SEC is going to remove “the gap” his words, in thier rules. I maintain there never was one.

The NCAA might believe they got it right, got it fair, this time. they probbaly did and they were in a really tough spot. But I’m betting that they are not going to even let this be an issue next time to be decided.

404

December 10th, 2010
1:23 pm

Comissioners of the BIG10, BIG12, PAC10, and ACC have all publicly
stated their profound shock and disagreement with the NCAA’s Scam Newton ruling.

Dont be surprised if those ocnferences “rally” their
“voters” to vote for someone else, likely Andrew Luck.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:23 pm

@ bitter “dawg fan” – maybe while the rest of us are enjoying a very entertaining BSU National Championship game you’d like to watch replays of Cam and Nick Fairly neutering your Dawgs.

TMZ on at 7:30 comcast channel 804

December 10th, 2010
1:25 pm

Waste of vote – in my opinion.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

Steve, I can’t see where it matters who initiated the conversation as long as Cam didn’t know about it and no money was paid.

Steve

December 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

Arlo…you would be guilty of “attempted” arm robbery. But, your son, who is a customer of another bank, would not be guilty of “attempted” arm robbery of his bank.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

The Truth Will Out

December 10th, 2010
1:00 pm
@Driving Ms Dooley

If you’re a Vol fan, then I’m TrishaDishaWarEagle — and you know that’s not true!

Ok Trish. You can tell I’m a Vol fan because I despise the Heisman (see Charles Woodson)(Also see: Ryan Leaf is second in the Heisman voting in the West)

So now that it’s out there, Yes, I’m feeling very good about our QB situation for the next 5, count em 5 years.
Tyler Bray averaged 308 per game in his 4 starts. He’s got alot to learn and alot of weight to gain, but we finally have some hope at the money position (Pun intended).
And now our new QB signee, enrolling in January–Justin Worley–was just named Gatorade National Player of the Year.

I know I know, we are not good. But we are certainly trending in the right direction and this time we’re doing it with a little more class than last time (see Lame Kitten-Vunder-Brat)

So I’m feeling good enough to agree with everyone today.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:26 pm

Mr. Skive is the spokesman for Comm. Slive, if you didn’t know that.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
1:29 pm

Steve,

I agree. Well said.

dawgster

December 10th, 2010
1:30 pm

ARdawg..good comments..i agree, don’t look at just this year, but look at his issues at Fla..from what i have read and seen, those are accurate, so i can’t see how you can ignore them…but the voters will. and there is no doubt that he was the best player this season…I’m afraid down the road everything will come out, however the NCAA may not want egg on their face and may not pursue it as they did with USC…This would look terrible for the NCAA if they uncovered something later and the reward had to be pulled again…

Jake

December 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

Is it too late for Johnny Majors to get it. Paul Horning stold it from him.