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.

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975 comments Add your comment

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

BAMA dude

Not the way I see it. Take the AJ Green investigation. It took months and after UGA declared him ineligible it took 3 more months to render a decision from the NCAA. Why? It took less than 24 hours for a decision from the NCAA on Cam. Something is amiss. Does the rules not apply for “the best” college player in the country?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

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.

They did the whole “declare ineligible” bit as a formality because the NCAA notified them that a violation occurred during his recruitment. Turns out that Cecil and Kenny committed the violation, not Cam, so the NCAA reinstated him without conditions. And you’re right that it’s not a “legal” issue (though Slive is an attorney and you can bet the bylaws were written by lawyers as well), but it can turn into one via lawsuits if they don’t treat everyone fairly. And lastly, none of the school administrators who sit on the NCAA want to set precedents where players at their institutions could be rendered ineligible for this particular infraction, nor should they.

How2fish

December 10th, 2010
1:32 pm

SEC Champs I’m thinking the Daddy shopping Cam is a closed issue, however the FBI deal is ongoing and troubling just by who they are targeting and how deeply connected to Auburn they are. I hope you guys weather this storm, and I hope we beat you by 50 in Athens next season.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:33 pm

Steve, that example is not even close. If Arlo’s son drove him from bank to bank, and told the police that he didn’t realize his dad was attempting to rob them, then perhaps that would fit.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
1:33 pm

Steve, get your point, but if I had the money in my hand, but dropped it going out the door while my son was waiting in the get away car thinking I went in to make a deposit, then neither of us is innocent.

bitter "LARRY MUNSON"

December 10th, 2010
1:33 pm

TRADE alburn to the ACC for DUKE???? that secret money man at alburn will be exposed soon, all snakes come out of there holes after winter!!!!!!!!!!!! integerity will win out in the end. PS just let alburn football slide futher south out into the gulf and be at home with all the crude sh— !!!!

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
1:35 pm

Tony...

December 10th, 2010
1:36 pm

Does anybody really care about the Heisman anymore? The meaning of the award and it application separated long ago.. I dont think anyone really cares, except those who vote on it.. and those who have a chance to get it..

BILL CLINTON

December 10th, 2010
1:37 pm

I did NOT have sexual relations with that woman!

HEISMAN TROPHY IS THE REAL SCAM!

December 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

HEISMAN TROPHY IS THE REAL SCAM!

December 10th, 2010
11:13 am
The Heisman trophy is the biggest dud of an award given in all of sports. The trophy is supposed to go to the “most oustanding college player” for that season. In years past, the award has been given to many who were not the best for that saeson. Ron Dayne won the award based on his career stats at Wisconsin, not on his performance that season. Also, unless your team is playing in a BCS AQ conference, you are given very little chance from the start. It’s just like the BCS and the polls. It is all a popularity contest. The frontrunners are named before the season even begins. Also, it overlooks the defensive players in the game on almost all occasions. When was the last time a D lineman, LB,CB or safety were even considered a frontrunner? It is a sham! The award means little to nothing anymore…

AJ Green

December 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

I didn’t sell my jersey…..It was my Daddy……I didn’t know anything about it!…..I did things the RIGHT way!

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:40 pm

ARDawg, someone from the NCAA stated in the press that they consider cases on urgency based on the situation. Basically, the NCAA had already done their investigation by the time Aubie declared him ineligible. In fact, the NCAA’s findings are why they declared him ineligible to begin with, making the whole bit a formality and just keeping with procedure. In the AJ case UGA sat him while the investigation was ongoing- this was UGA’s choice and they made the right call. If he had played then they’d have had to vacate the one win they got without him and would thus be bowl ineligible. Auburn’s compliance department obviously felt secure that Cam would be OK in all this so they let him play through the investigation. Looks like they were right. Good thing or else they’d have vacated wins.

wolfman

December 10th, 2010
1:41 pm

He said in the interview that he and his father had never discussed the issue, even after it became public. Can ANYONE believe that?????????????

George Bush

December 10th, 2010
1:42 pm

Most of you are basing your opinions on the same things you use to vote. It is all a game designed to further enrich the good ole boys in power.The NCAA is a Money thing just like American politics is a money and power thing. If you want to be counted you have to get in that game and play it. If you have too much integrity…then don’t..The sooner the rank and file people in this country realize that they will be so much better off. Knowing and accepting how something works makes all the difference…..vote repub !!

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
1:42 pm

Driving Ms Dooley Again with the “everybody’s doing it”. defense. Please be more original next time. Semantics and parsing comments – lots of those on here lately. As usual.

misterwax

December 10th, 2010
1:43 pm

Tony,

“obstained” ??? WTF? When I met you a few years ago up in Athens, I would have never thought a UGA Grad would mistake the O for the A on the keyboard…. OUCH!!!

Go Jackets, at least we can spell.

Steve

December 10th, 2010
1:43 pm

Agree, BAMA dude…but the reason it may matter to some…is that most are assuming his father initiated it…therefore was shopping his son. I tend to believe that most want to condemn the father and therefore the son..which is a major leap. Let me propose a hypothetical conversation….btw NCAA and Mr Newton.
Q: Mr Newton, were you in a hotel room on x date with Mr X, and Mr Y?
A: Yes
Q: Who initiated the meeting?
A: They asked me to meet them to discuss Cam’s recruiting?
Q: Was money or gifts for Cam signing with MSU discussed?
A: Yes

and one can go on from there. Of course, MSU most likely would have a different version. Just this conversation, could have Mr newton is the wrong place, wrong time. So, technically he was wrong, but not neccesarily the initiating party.

I really struggle with the timeline…MSU continued to recruit him AFTER the hotel conversation?? I am really not trying to dump on MSU, but I cannot understand..IF Newton initiated this conversation, and MSU was absolutely NO..why continue to recruit. Why not immediately tell NCAA (did not tell until Jan, after he signed with Auburn)?

Joe Bob

December 10th, 2010
1:43 pm

Yeah, it’s UGA and Bammers on this blog stating that EVERYONE is against Cam and AU. That’s total BS and the Heisman voting will prove it. I wonder why the bammers and the leg humpers are so upset? Could it be that they’re still smarting from their loss to AU? Yes, indeed!

It must really hurt for you jealous fans from other schools to see Cam and Auburn reach the pinnacle of achievement in football. War Damn Eagle!

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
1:44 pm

Hey Bill Clinton, define “Sexual Relations”.

Shut It Down

December 10th, 2010
1:44 pm

JEALOUS! Get over it already. UGA was sub par this year. Bammers are mad because they were predicted to be a lock to repeat and didn’t. Cam Newton and Auburn played the best football of anyone in the conference and in the country so all the haters can EAT IT! Go ahead and whine some more, we have a Heisman and a Crystal Football to go and get. War Eagle!

tc

December 10th, 2010
1:45 pm

Tony, Are you a democrat?

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
1:46 pm

misterwax,

I see you can spell? How do you spell Domination? It must have UGA in it for a Techie to spell it!

1-9 in last 10 against the Dawgs!

Corch Myer

December 10th, 2010
1:46 pm

SEC- the no snitch conference!!!

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:48 pm

dawgster
If he is found to be guilty of anything at this point (after being cleared by the NCAA) it would be detrimental to all of college football

BAMA dude
Then why declare him ineligible at all? It makes no sense to the layman. Obviously the NCAA see AU could win the NC and Cam win the Heisman. It would appear that it coincides with Cecil’s admission more than with the NCAA’s investigation.

This thing smells really bad. The one with the most on the line is the NCAA. I’ll don the tinfoil hat with that statement. Cam and AU have the NCAA by the short hairs. AJ Green, Marceus and the rest do not. That my friend is the difference

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:48 pm

Cam Newton and Auburn played the best football of anyone in the conference and in the country so all the haters can EAT IT! Go ahead and whine some more, we have a Heisman and a Crystal Football to go and get.

He says, sitting in the corner kicking his feet and shaking his head violently as he plugs his ears with his fingers…

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
1:48 pm

There are different levels of guilt
1. Circumstantial and logical evidence pointing to his guilt(good enough for me)
2. Physical evidence (good enough for the NCAA and courts)
3. All the evidence in the world (still not good enough for Auburn fans)

Right now we are at level 1

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:49 pm

This thing smells really bad. The one with the most on the line is the NCAA. I’ll don the tinfoil hat with that statement. Cam and AU have the NCAA by the short hairs. AJ Green, Marceus and the rest do not. That my friend is the difference.

Well, that and the fact that AJ and Marcell, y’know, actually GOT stuff.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:51 pm

Please someone, anyone, name one instance where the NCAA urgently ruled on anything in 24 hours?

Corch Myer

December 10th, 2010
1:51 pm

When was Cam telling the truth- to SI when he said that his father made the Auburn decision? Or to Fowler when he said HE made the decision- NOT his father??? He just forgot?? You think??? He also originally told Fowler that HE talked with no one at MSU – when Fowler followed up about communication with MSU he then said he called Mullen after the decision.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
1:51 pm

Steve,

again good points on your hypothetical conversation. Taking it one step further, if I’m Mullen and I see a Florida area code calling, I’m ansering on the first ring. 1) becasue it’s a dream job. 2)if something smells in Starkville, now’s the time to be upwardly mobile. Or geographically speaking: laterally mobile.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:51 pm

dude, CAM NEWTON was ths amateur. His father is not covered under any NCAA guidelines. A violation of Cam Newton’s amateur status occured. NOBODY is denying that. It doesnt matter if somebody else committed the voilation. It occured. CAM NEWTON is the only entity that matters. His status was the issue. The rules apply to him, not his father. You are talking about consequesnces, and punishment and fairness. That’s an entirely different matter. His punishment was “your family has some restrictions going forward”, and the ability to play in the football game was “reinstated”. Same as AJ, and darius.

TMZ on at 7:30 comcast channel 804

December 10th, 2010
1:52 pm

Hey guys…read the rule book…then get back to me why Camera is not ineligible.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:52 pm

BAMA dude
They got stuff and admitted it

You have information Cam or Cecil didn’t get stuff?

D@mn

December 10th, 2010
1:52 pm

The Tide and Gators were never this arrogant.That may be another reason so many people are hating the Tigers.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:53 pm

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:51 pm
Please someone, anyone, name one instance where the NCAA urgently ruled on anything in 24 hours?

You’re missing the point. Again, Cam played while the NCAA investigated. AJ, Marcell, et al didn’t. Their investigation was concluded, allowing them to rule immediately.

Corch Myer

December 10th, 2010
1:53 pm

ARdawg Can you remember the last time they came out with a CYA release so soon after their original pronouncement?

MADDOG

December 10th, 2010
1:53 pm

Please, can we get a Georgia fan on here that knows how to spell?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:52 pm
BAMA dude
They got stuff and admitted it

You have information Cam or Cecil didn’t get stuff?

Yep. I have their word and no evidence to the contrary.

TMZ on at 7:30 comcast channel 804

December 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

Corch Myer: Good points. Cam is a damn liar, just like his daddy, and au supporters.

TMZ on at 7:30 comcast channel 804

December 10th, 2010
1:55 pm

I have Cam’s word he would not cheat in school too. The guy is a scum bag. ADMIT IT.

404

December 10th, 2010
1:56 pm

If you Scam Newton fans have the guts,
jsut read this article regarding
Pastor Newton’s church:

Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/24/sports/ncaafootball/24newton.html?_r=1

Oh, and be sure to pay close attention to the sentence:

“Ms. Blandburg, the church’s Chief Financial Officer, said the congregation was relieved to have the repairs completed but would not say how they were able to pay for them.”

So, the CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, cant say just exactly HOW they were able to pay for ten of thousands of dollars in repairs in 2010, that the church had been UNABLE to pay for the 4 previous years.

Like I said: Money ALWAYS leaves a trail. And this money-trail and Scam Newton WILL eventually be exposed for the frauds they are.

Auburn knows its exposed. Thats why they went thru they charade of suspending Scam Newton. Auburn knows theyre going to get burned bad ly by all of this. Suspending Scam was a mea culpa admission of guilt.

It gives Auburn an alibi to say “Hey, we suspended him…just as soon as we found out. (Right after the Bama game)

Face it Auburn fans, NC Trophy o rnot, Heisman or not,
Auburn is going to pay VERY dearly for all this.

And, Scam will have washed his hands of all of this.

But in the end, Auburn will have DESERVED it.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:56 pm

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
1:51 pm
dude, CAM NEWTON was ths amateur. His father is not covered under any NCAA guidelines. A violation of Cam Newton’s amateur status occured.

Not true. An NCAA recruiting violation occurred. The NCAA determined that an eligibility violation didn’t. Two different committees, two different issues.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
1:57 pm

To the folks saying how come it took SO LONG for the NCAA to rule on AJ Green but just a day on Cam Newton? Well, if rather than relying on blogs and talk radio you actually studied the facts, MSU reported to the SEC in January of 2010 that something fishy had occurred. They _DELAYED_ until July of 2010 to reveal the details of the situation to the SEC at which point you can bet the NCAA began an investigation. Auburn also began an internal investigation at this time because they certainly did not want to play a player who was ineligible (ask Bama and Gene Stallings how that works out). Because someone (Urban Meyer) decided that he didn’t like the NCAA conducting their investigation in private and revealed it to his good buddies at ESPN and NY Times, the NCAA was forced to rush this investigation. Yes, they have not closed the investigation, but this ruling indicates that they’ve given this a very long hard look and could do not expect to find anything else. It doesn’t mean they quit looking, or ignore pertinent evidence that falls in their laps, but for all practical purposes, barring new evidence, this is pretty much a done deal.

The FBI investigation has to do with political bribery and TARP funds. Yes there are a lot of Bama mullets making fantastical claims about what’s going to happen to Auburn, but please, consider the source when digesting such garbage.

m

December 10th, 2010
1:58 pm

Tony, you are about as pathetic as they come.

You are nothing but a BS–bcs shill, an SEC shill, a sCam Newton shill.

sCam wanted to go to Miss. St. Why did he not go there? Honestly, ask yourself why???

You know why. It is what he told all his friends. He wanted to go to Miss St but the MONEY was too good at Auburn.

Tony, You SUCK.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
1:58 pm

Yep. I have their word and no evidence to the contrary.

There is plenty of evidence just no physical evidence and not enough to convict or rule ineligible (at this time)

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
1:58 pm

I have a vote and I’m voting for Jim Bob Cooter

MADDOG

December 10th, 2010
1:58 pm

Auburn is 13-0 and headed to the national championship, right now favored by 3, with the Heisman trophy winner.

Georgia fans are BITTER because it’s Auburn. They can accept Tennessee winning but they hated that a lot. They can accept Florida winning because they know, as their record versus Florida shows, they’re not as good as Florida. They can accept Alabama winning because Alabama has always won. Alabama is the flagship of the SEC. They can even accept LSU because well that’s the house Saban built. BUT NOT AUBURN! Auburn is supposed to be beneath Georgia. Not towering over Georgia. They can’t believe what they’re watching and they’re so upset that they latch on to the Newton story while everyone else has put it to bed until something changes for exactly the same reason as TB said in this article – a) punish the kid based on no facts or b) award the kid based on the facts.

Everyone would chose B except for Georgia fans, home of Ben Jones who has cheated on the field and lost and AJ Green who cheated off the field and got caught.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
1:59 pm

The FBI investigation has to do with political bribery and TARP funds. Yes there are a lot of Bama mullets making fantastical claims about what’s going to happen to Auburn, but please, consider the source when digesting such garbage.

Yeah, ’cause Colonial Bank’s president didn’t almost cause Auburn to lose accreditation just a few years ago.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
1:59 pm

BAMA dude

Well please explain to me the logic of declaring him ineligible that late into the investigation and that late into the year in the first place. Green and Dareus we declared ineligible during the investigation. Not at the end of it.

I am not faulting Cam and Cecil here. You raised my tinfol hat and HaleBopp conspiracy theories. My only contention here is, something is amiss for the NCAA to have handled this matter in the manner they did.

Do you believe the NCAA told AU to declare him ineligible and we’ll rule immediately? Why else would AU do that at that juncture? If Cam is found guilty the season would have been lost anyway. If you are AU, you weigh your options and do as instructed by the NCAA

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
2:00 pm

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
1:58 pm
Yep. I have their word and no evidence to the contrary.

There is plenty of evidence just no physical evidence and not enough to convict or rule ineligible (at this time)

Really? What evidence? (Hint: things reported by ESPN from “sources” aren’t evidence. Things said to the NCAA are).