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

Auburn Fan 1

December 12th, 2010
5:27 pm

Mike P….
Well said. I can tell you have been reading many of the same reports on both sides of this issue that I have. Its amazing how many statements of I heard and I believe, but how few statements of an actual named source are used in all the hate.

Everyone else…
The fact is what Cecil Newton did was wrong. The NCAA said so, Auburn said so, and Cam even said so on CBS. While this should be punished, it’s Cecil who should be punished. The process required the NCAA to investigate and decide if a rule had been broken. They did. Then after that, the school must rule that student ineligable. AU did. Then the school has to apply to have the student reinstated. AU did. Then the NCAA has to decide what the student himself received, and how much was he personally responsible. Then they decide on an appropriate punishment. In this case they believed Cam had no knowledge whatsoever in the foolishness of his father, and gained nothing from it, and so they immediately reinstated him. They chose not to punish him for the sins of his father. That is fair. Cam worked with the investigators and not against them as in the Reggie Bush case, and if we learned anything from Dez Bryant, it is the one thing the NCAA wants and rewards more than anything else is when they are told the truth.
Should Cecil be punished? Yes. The problem is, the only thing the NCAA can do is to the student and not the parent. We probably have more laws in this land than we need, but in this case, the only thing that will truly be a deterent is criminal charges. The guilty parties must be the ones who are punished. Not the Cam Newtons of the future whose parents, coaches, or mentors use them for their own selfish wants.
In the end, the NCAA did the right thing by Cam. If the rules are not changed, and things or laws put in place to prevent it in the future this will happen again. I hope the next student is also treated fairly, even his he’s a bammer or a dawg. I also hope the rules are put in place to protect the student and punish the individuals who take advantage of their abilities.

tonybarnhartisamoron

December 12th, 2010
6:18 pm

Didnt you just a few weeks ago, talk about how TERRIBLE it was for newton and his father to be apart of such a thing???? your a freaking moron tony barnhart, how you even get national exposure blows me away with your southern twangy accent.. your fat and out of shape and its comical you are on national television at times? You should be working at Dunkin Donuts.. not a college football expert, guess we all should apply for jobs. What a JOKE.

lovethaSEC

December 12th, 2010
6:23 pm

Hope every fan saw the show on ESPN last night (30-30). It was about SMU back in the 70’s and 80’s. How that program went from a loser to a winner in 1 or 2 seasons. THEY BOUGHT PLAYERS. And after they were given a light punishment and warned, they continued the same cheating ways with recruits. And it was obvious to everyone. They were given the “death penality”. No football for 2 seasons (I think). Alot of sports people said it was too strict. I think not. If the NCAA does’t keep a close watch on this type thing it will flair up again. The problem ALWAYS stems from some overblown ego Alumni. We know then typw, “JUST WIN BABY”.

JdawgT

December 12th, 2010
7:37 pm

To ALL Auburn fans I’ll stop talking about Cam if you’ll stop talking !

SEC Fact FInder

December 12th, 2010
7:43 pm

Enter your comments here

Scam and the cash n carry offense!

December 12th, 2010
7:43 pm

If ya aint cheatin ya aint tryin!

SEC Fact FInder

December 12th, 2010
7:48 pm

Will Muschamp will announce Major Applewhite as his Offensive Coordinator on Monday.

Gus Malzhan will be name new Head Football Coach at Vanderbilt as early as Monday afternoon and the salary is a whopping 2 million dollars. Vanderbilt finally stepped up to the plate and is going to put a coach on the sidelines who will put fans in the seat and make Vanderbilt relevant again. It may take Malzhan a couple of years to make a dent, but he will need bring in his players, a defensive coordinator and a strength and conditioning coach.

The SEC East is going to get alot tougher in the coming years. Great hires by both schools.

SEC Fact FInder

December 12th, 2010
7:48 pm

should have type “named” head footbal coach..

Old Dawg Fan

December 12th, 2010
8:10 pm

How did Tony get a vote anyway???

Scam and the cash n carry offense!

December 12th, 2010
8:17 pm

I had not a clue what my dad was doing! Not a clue! My good character- stolen laptops, 3 instances of academic fraud leading to imminent expulsion from school- never mind all that. I had no idea. You believe me of course? Right?

MikeP

December 12th, 2010
9:10 pm

cam and the cash n carry offense!
December 12th, 2010
8:17 pm
“I had not a clue what my dad was doing! Not a clue! My good character- stolen laptops, 3 instances of academic fraud leading to imminent expulsion from school- never mind all that. I had no idea. You believe me of course? Right?”

If you believe what you posted there, you are the most ill-informed poster on this blog and that’s really saying something.

Ignorance on a given subject is excusable. When facts are posted in the same thread and you post contradictory falsehoods that’s not ignorance, that’s stupidity.

my name is mike p and i am a loser

December 12th, 2010
9:32 pm

that is all……go vols…..

Sautee Dawg

December 12th, 2010
11:34 pm

Tony if you have to do an article and the topic is WHY I DID SOMETHING!!!
That in itself explains everything, you have doubt and deep down feel a little guilt
and feel like you have to explain yourself and your vote?
The statement “My father has my best interests at heart” and ” I haven’t looked my father in the eye asked him about the money or pay for play”
INTEGRITRY Tony should be at least half of what the Heisman voting is about, about honesty, trustworthy, not how many TD’s you made. What kinda MAN are you? Those things should be considered.
Have a lot of respect for you Tony and no doubt about Newton being the best player. Not Hershel Walker caliber, but the best this season
But do not respect your vote or the cloud that will hang over this years selection.

witko

December 12th, 2010
11:51 pm

Wait a minute, I am scratching my ass. You may as well kiss mine as Cams. Apparently, you guys, the remaining ones, must have never taken a class in logic and certainly have not studied law. Give a serious look at the concept of inference. Occam’s razor may also be worthwhile.

Also, not Cam and Auburn have a certain history and therefore we did not start from zero. If I tell you my lunch was taken on the moon and the next person notes his lunch was taken on Ponce, we do not start from zero. One gets a preference. When one has only 12 brain cells that whole concept is beyond one’s abilities. So, given your kissing of a rather dirty part of Cam’s body, I shall send the mouthwash.

MikeP

December 12th, 2010
11:59 pm

witko, posting while under the influence makes you look rather, uh, discombobulated. Go sober up and try that again.

Occam’s razor says Kenny Rogers and Cecil Newton discussed money. Nobody else except John Bond and “Bill in Destin” knew anything about it.

Jeff

December 13th, 2010
7:11 am

I must have missed it…I know Cammie got the Heisman, but I DIDNT HEAR HOW MUCH HIS DADDY PAID FOR IT????????????????????????????????

MikeP

December 13th, 2010
8:55 am

The fact is, we got away with it. So just shut up! You’re just jealous of our superior ability to cheat!

It’s Great* To Be An Auburn Tiger!

CJK1337

December 13th, 2010
3:57 pm

tony – scam didn’t throw for 3998 yards, only 2589

MikeP

December 13th, 2010
6:06 pm

I see the age 12 and under “post with somebody elses’ name bunch” was awake at 8:55 am this morning.

Newton’s total offense was 3998 yards. 2589 passing and 1409 rushing. SEC’s leading rusher. Most yards ever for an SEC QB. As I recall he gashed several teams with both. He’s fun to watch!

Coach O

December 14th, 2010
7:03 am

Auburn is toast.

wballs1977

December 14th, 2010
9:24 am

Welcome, bitter UGA fans. Alas, you have returned! Thank you for your humbled opinions. Keep spewing your garbage about Heisman integrity and Cam Newton’s guilt (you all would make lousy lawyers) while we skip to Glendale and lock up another trophy in the big case. Your argument that Auburn’s wins and the trophy will be vacated is so tired. On to something new please. What else have you got?

wballs1977

December 14th, 2010
9:28 am

It’s a shame Cecil Netwon never paid any money. So essentially all he did (which was pretty sleazy, sure) was engage in a conversation about it. Where is the cheating? What guilt is there to be had? Explain this to me. What rules did Cameron break? Auburn? Anything? No. UGA, stop with the integrity bit. Look at your school. How many arrests have you had over the last 5 years? Integrity? Big time.

Coach O

December 14th, 2010
12:50 pm

OJ is innocent. The jury said so.

Coach O

December 14th, 2010
12:51 pm

The jury’s still out on Auburn. We’ll know something by 2015.

JHenry

December 16th, 2010
5:42 pm

Who cares what any of you think. The fact is Cam Newton is the best player in college football undeniable. All of you on here spouting off what you feel & think is not worth a hill of beans because none of you know for a fact what happened; not even in the Floriday situation. Just because his father made a mistake doesn’t mean he was aware of what was happening. Did you ever stop to think that his father could have very well made those statements without Cameron’s knowledge. Never once did any of the accusers state that Cam was present when the solicitation was made. From what I’ve seen on the field and off the field of Cameron Newton, he deserves the trophy. All of you on here passing judgement as if you’ve never done anything dubious in your lives. I say, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” What? No takers. I thought so!!