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

UGADawg83

December 10th, 2010
8:36 am

Cam getting the award is just as disgusting as OJ having a vote.

PMC

December 10th, 2010
8:37 am

If “integrity” is important the NCAA is going to have to shut itself down along with the majority of the Heisman trust.

John

December 10th, 2010
8:37 am

Those writers who refused to vote for him out of their “feelings” should have their ballots voided and their Heisman voting privileges stripped from them. If I were their newspaper editor or publisher, I would fire them too because they have demonstrated blatant bias and prejudice and have sghown they don’t have the credentials or judgment to be sports writer or editor. He is the best player in the country and there has not been any hint of any misconduct in recruiting tied to him or Auburn University. We didn’t punish Mark Ingram in 2009 when his dad was in prison for committing a crime. Why should Cam Newton be punished for his father’s actions when Cam Newton knew nothing about it?

DawginLex

December 10th, 2010
8:38 am

Kentucky QB Mike Hartline arrested at 3 am this morning for public drunkenness and resisting arrest.

He is out of the bowl game.

Does this make UK “thug U”?

:) :) :)

John

December 10th, 2010
8:39 am

ATL is TigerTown I agree that most people hate on Cam because he may have destroyed their team but there to say his character is above reproach is absurd. He threw a laptop out of the window. He bought a laptop for $100 that was worth a $1000 he says the price “it was really too good to be true.” He then threw it out the window. He knew what was up. This is not a kid above reproach. The cheating rumors are another problem. The key is they are rumors. To say he is above reproach is absurd. To say generally he is a good kid could be arguable. To be above reproach is someone like Tim Tebow not Cam Newton.

Dawg_Mike

December 10th, 2010
8:39 am

“Greenbacks for Cam ”

I am Cam !
Cam I am!
Cam don’t have no greenbacks. Damn!

Did you take them, Cam-I-am?
Did you take
Greenbacks for Cam ?

I did not take them!
Cam-I-am!
I did not take
Greenbacks for Cam .

Did you take them
Here or there?

I would not take them
here or there.
I would not take them
anywhere.
I did not take
Greenbacks for Cam .
I did not take them.
Cam-I-am!

Did you take them
On the Plain?
Did you take them
From Jimmy Rane?

I did not take them
On the Plain.
I did not take them
From Jimmy Rane.
I did not take
Greenbacks for Cam .
I did not take them!
Cam-I-am!

Did you take from
Lowder? Dye?
Or any Auburn alumni?

Not from Lowder.
Not from Dye.
Not from Auburn alumni.
Not from Rane
Or on the Plain.
No dough did Cam-I-am obtain!

I did not take them.
Cam-I-am!
I did not take those greenbacks.
Damn!

You did not take them.
So you say.
But Cecil.
Did he make them pay?

Cecil? Yes! It’s like you say!
Reverend Cecil made them pay!
Reverend Cecil ran the scam.
He passed the plate for Cam-I-am.

He took from Lowder.
And from Dye.
From several Auburn alumni.
He took from Rane
Out on the Plain.
Two hundred thou! Let’s have champagne!

Cecil ran the pay-for-play.
And Cam knew nothing. Zip. No way.
He’s cool with NC double-AA.

I am Cam . Cam I am!
Bring my Heisman.
What a sham.

Alphare

December 10th, 2010
8:39 am

Newton was suspended, and there is a violation.

Auburn might not know it, Newton might not know it (I seriously doubt) doesn’t mean much.

If the rule writers were smart enough, this line should be in the book: if any blood relatives pimp for an college athlete, the athlete is to be suspended at least 2 games.

I am surprised there is no such rule because the dumb people with NCAA.

Auburn just got lucky there.

Dawg Fan

December 10th, 2010
8:40 am

Truly a wasted vote. Here is person who was stopped 12 times by police while in Florida, another time arrested for stealing a laptop, caught cheating 3 times in school, then tells everyone that he had no idea his father whom he claims he is extremely close to, and also a player agent who he is captured in a photo with at Miss St., never told him he was beeing shoped for money. Why would anyone believe anything that came of Cam Newtons mouth? Eventually it will all come out and Auburn will be stripped of everything and the Heisman will be returned again.

Dumbo

December 10th, 2010
8:40 am

I’d vote Cecil Newton for Heisman

DawginLex

December 10th, 2010
8:41 am

I hope enough people have the guts to vote for someone else.

To say that this whole thing doesn’t smeel bad is like turning your head and pretending it didn’t happen.

It did happen.

Cecil Newton solicited his son to play intercollegiate athletics.

His son should not receive any awards.

If you want to say his team and school had nothing to do with it, fine. But don’t give an individual award to Newton.

Mike

December 10th, 2010
8:41 am

Newton will win the Heisman Saturday night. He will not have it in 2 years. He and his family have no integrity or character.

Ed

December 10th, 2010
8:41 am

It is just sad that we are even having this discussion. I just wonder how many “Cams” are out there. Sure tarnishes the luster of college football and everything that makes it special. I am sad.

TallyDawg

December 10th, 2010
8:41 am

Barnhart is a tool for the NCAA and SEC. He is no better than Cecil Newton.

DawginLex

December 10th, 2010
8:41 am

smell, not smeel although smeel might be a better pronunciation

NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!!

December 10th, 2010
8:42 am

NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!! NERDS!!! 42-34!!! 73-72!!!

SEC_Analyst

December 10th, 2010
8:43 am

Slippery Slope !!,

It’s been explained. The NCAA gave Auburn cover by allowing them to declare Cam ineligible, all the while promising that he would be reinstated the very next day.

Now, when the investigation is “completed”, Auburn will be declared free from liability, because they followed NCAA procedures. The NCAA will announce that their bylaws contained an unfortunate loophole and that they will modify the text of the bylaws to correct the “mistake”. If the news media eventually forces the NCAA to admit that Cam was ineligible for the 2010 season by revealing facts that Auburn, the SEC and the NCAA would prefer to leave under the rug, then Auburn will face no sanctions aside from vacating wins from their “magical season”. Asterisks will be placed in the record books and we will all just pretend that this whole sordid affair never happened.

Alphare

December 10th, 2010
8:44 am

John, you said “Why should Cam Newton be punished for his father’s actions when Cam Newton knew nothing about it?”

How do you know Cam Newton knew nothing about it? can you shed some light on it? a lot of voters want to know more about it so that they can cast their votes with peace of mind.

VDawg

December 10th, 2010
8:44 am

Peyton”Throw it to the other team” Manning didn’t get the Heisman because he wasn’t the right choice.

lllkjiuhuiguyg

December 10th, 2010
8:45 am

dip

December 10th, 2010
8:46 am

From the Heisman trust
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust ensures the continuation and integrity of this award. The Trust, furthermore, has a charitable mission to support amateur athletics and to provide greater opportunities to the youth of our country. Our goal through these charitable endeavors is for the Heisman Trophy to symbolize the fostering of a sense of community responsibility and service to our youth, especially those disadvantaged or afflicted. All assets of the Trust beyond the expense of maintaining the annual presentation of the Heisman Memorial Trophy are reserved for such charitable causes. The Trustees, who all serve pro bono, are guided by a devotion to college football and are committed to community service and the valued tradition which the Trophy represents
Integrity – didn’t Cam get kicked out of Florida because he either stole a laptop or bought a stolen laptop and threw it out the window when he was confronted by police? Didn’t Cam get caught cheating 3 times as a college athelete? I am not even going to mention dear old dad shopping him.
Give him the award as the best college football player but he has NO integrity. Tony you and ESPN are what is becoming so wrong with college football and society – you turn a blind eye to character because of popularity.

colorado and kentucky

December 10th, 2010
8:46 am

whine….. nad lickers whine…..rule breakers….criminals, 11 arrests, 6 wins, so for 10 wins there will be 18 arrests? I do believe that UCF if rolling up the newspaper for your bowl. And Bosie puts up 100 on your ’saintly’ pups. U better get back to your madden 2011 to see the pups in a championship, that is, IF U can work it with all the ‘cheats’.

slippery slope

December 10th, 2010
8:46 am

The pursuit of excellence with ……… INTEGRITY.

Integrity is a concept of consisitency of actions, values, measures, principles, and outcomes.
In ethics, integrity is regarded as the quality of having an intuitive sense of honesty and truthfulness in regard to the motivations for one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.

dt4c

December 10th, 2010
8:46 am

I certainly think the title “Mr. College Football” should be relinquished because you no longer support amateur sports. You and everyone else knows that Scam knew. He admitted it when he told MSU! That is what started the whole uncovering of the mess. Are you calling the MSU coaching staff liars? I just find the whole thing repulsive.

cattledawg

December 10th, 2010
8:46 am

Tony, you and all others who vote for Cam should lose your vote. Its a joke that the year after Reggie Bush. A year after they put in an INTEGRITY clause. Cam is who will win the trophy. A complete joke.

BG

December 10th, 2010
8:49 am

Tony, The truth about Cam will come out and he will have to return the trophy. So,You just wasted your vote on him!

FalconUGAFan

December 10th, 2010
8:49 am

Good… maybe now people will realize that this isn’t an UGA-led conspiracy. Sure we opinions just like everyone else, but some agree with you and some don’t. Of course..I don’t doubt it…everyone likes to blame UGA fans for everything.

Dawgs2010

December 10th, 2010
8:50 am

Tony,

I hope your fat arse drops dead over the Christmas break.

Bama Fan #2

December 10th, 2010
8:51 am

Cam Newton is the best college football player by far in 2010 but to be the heisman tophy
and Auburn’s SEC title is a COMPLETE JOKE!! His father tried to sell to the highest
bidder and that is totally wrong just like when Logan Young gave 200,000 dollars for
Albert Means in 2000!! RTR

bank walker

December 10th, 2010
8:51 am

The heisman is a joke and so is barnhart. Barnhart is just a puppet for CBS, and he won’t dare say what he really thinks, like the rest of us. Newton is a great athlete, but he hasn’t an ounce of integrity and neither does the chumps that vote for him. It’s all about the money and you, Slive and the NZAA are ruining college football. DO NOT WATCH THE HEISTMAN PRESENTATION!

Patrick

December 10th, 2010
8:54 am

The NCAA has become a joke, and the Heisman will be a joke as well if Newton wins. He’s been the best player on the field, but the Heisman is also intended to award honor and integrity… and both of those are huge question marks for Cam Newton.

meh

December 10th, 2010
8:54 am

I don’t care what the NCAA said. There is no way that Cam Newton didn’t know what his father was doing. Not if there as close as Cam acts like they are. And if you honestly believe that Cam was clueless than you sir are clueless.

jacksonville

December 10th, 2010
8:56 am

You could see it in his eyes last night. He isnt telling the whole truth.

If you dont want to tell the kid your sorry after the award has been taken from him, what is your explaination to the kid who comes in second and he wont be recognized for his accomplishments.

So times you have to make hard choices in the life, to punish some and reward others.

Not an auburn fan, but ironic how 2004 they had the best team and got passed by a cheater, then 2010 they had the cheater and will have their NC taken away. The irony staggers the mind.

JSNEAD

December 10th, 2010
8:56 am

I strongly believe that if Cam was a mighty-whitey boy we would not be having this discussion. But because he is black, we got a silly discussion. He very well deserves the honor and should receive it. Shopping around goes on all-day everyday (black or white) in the game, so get over it. Let his father get paid for his son’s talent. RACE is playing a big role in the dumd idiots decision making…THEY SUCK;)

SecBeast

December 10th, 2010
8:57 am

Cam is not an admitted cheater or theif. He bought a stolen laptop and he panicked when investigators showed up. He threw the laptop out of a window and he lied about his wrong-doings. Yes, this was bad judgement and he also was punished for it- 3 years ago. As for the academic cheating allegations they may or may not be true. If they are true then the question needs to be posed to the University of Florida- “Why did you release his transcript and make him eligible to transfer?” He was never expelled from the University of Florida and he was granted eligibility to transfer, with credit for courses taken. He was eligible to transfer to Blynn junior college and he was eligible to transfer to Auburn. Either the allegations are not valid or Florida chose not to follow their own established protocol for cheating violations. All of these allegations relate to events that are 2-3 years old. He was eligible to transfer to Auburn, he was eligible to play football, and the NCAA has ruled that he is still eligible. The Heisman voters should cast their votes as they feel is appropriate. I am in total agreement with this article- according to the facts we have today, Cam is eligible for the Heisman.

GeorgiaDuck

December 10th, 2010
8:57 am

Tony,

As an Oregon alum, I have to admit that Cam Newton’s on field performance is Heisman worthy.

Elliot Garcia

December 10th, 2010
8:58 am

Too bad your vote will be vacated in a couple of years Tony….

Buckeye

December 10th, 2010
8:59 am

Dawg Mike,

Hey Dude. Get a life. Spend some time with your wife and kids…..Geez.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
9:01 am

I’d vote for him as the best player in college football. I see no problem for him waking away with that trophy. But I would adorn it with a set of mule blinders.

bank walker

December 10th, 2010
9:01 am

JSnead….get your stupid butt back on fries and leave race out of it, you big dummy. This isn’t about race. Your father should have caught you in a rag!

Some Things Never Change

December 10th, 2010
9:01 am

Auburn’s Undefeated Seasons:

1957 – 10-0 National Champions* (NCAA Probation)

1993 – 11-0 No Television, No Bowls, No Championships* (NCAA Probation)

2004 – 13-0 Sociology-gate for academically ineligible JUCO transfers triggered by Jet-gate in 2003 (SACS Probation)

2010 – 13-0 SEC Champions* (Cam-gate – Ongoing NCAA Investigation)

In Lee County, you can’t say “undefeated season” without saying “probation”.

Blue

December 10th, 2010
9:03 am

You left out Robinson from Michigan. They have probably the worst defense I have possibly EVER seen from a D1 team, but if you saw him play, he definitely should be in that group.

Also, as to your “not fair” comment; grow up…life is not fair.

Tom

December 10th, 2010
9:05 am

GA Punter asks Cam for an autograph.

“Excuse me, Daddy….can I have your autograph?”

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/19/20101210/img/psp-correction-college-fb-a-81a80cc46992.html

cptzzggyy

December 10th, 2010
9:06 am

Newton should be glad that he went to Auburn & not UGA. If the 13 moving traffic violations he committed during his brief time at UF had been committed while attending UGA, he would have been suspended for most of the season.

wins-by-a-link

December 10th, 2010
9:07 am

Sorry, No Heisman for Cam, Excellent football player but lacks integrity ( stolen laptop, cheating on test), Too many clouds hanging over this whole process, I’m sure money probably changed hands wheather Cam was aware or not does not matter, Looks like the old saying of ” A father’s sins will be visited on his son” applys here.

Diaspointed in Mike Slive

December 10th, 2010
9:07 am

The fact is Cam became ineligible for the entire season once Cecil solicited the plan,it is plainly stated in the SEC and NCAA rules. Whether he went to AU is irrelevant, the moment the solicitation occurred he became ineligible.

North Avenue Ned

December 10th, 2010
9:08 am

I thought you AJC guys wre prohibited friom voting. You a PC?

LTB

December 10th, 2010
9:08 am

He certainly deserves the award based on his statistics. I just wish he were a little more humble about his situation instead of being a hot dog on the sidelines during AND after the game.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
9:09 am

Dawg ike, I thought it was funny man. Buckeye is just trying to say, Go be a good Daddy, like Cecil.

STRETCH

December 10th, 2010
9:09 am

Ok, YOU CAN REMOVE HIM FROM THE FRONT PAGE NOW!

Some Folks are Above the Rules

December 10th, 2010
9:10 am

Get used to it people. It’s the world we live in.