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

SuperB

December 10th, 2010
9:43 am

An finally today:

Spellchecker: Blasts Tony for his UGA education and called him “Tone.”

JB: Blasts Clinton. Hey pal, Gore got 500,000 more votes than Bush, Jr. An independent study concluded if the votes had been recounted, Gore would have won Florida by about 28,000 votes. Aren’t you glad the Supreme Court (by a 5-4 vote) stopped the recount? Had it been allowed, we all would have missed out on the Iraq War, ten years in Afghanistan, and the Bush Tax Cuts for the super rich. You also probably don’t remember that Clinton left Bush with a $urplu$.

Steve: Hadn’t Georgia had beaten Auburn 3 straight times before this year.

USC: 56-17?

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
9:43 am

Kyle,

I take you are not an fan of the SEC? Who is your team or conference?

Barnhart the Parrot

December 10th, 2010
9:44 am

“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”

Funniest “FACT” I’ve read in a while. After the season, we will learn this “FACT” is a lie. But then it will not matter. SEC/BCS corruption covered up by parrots like Barnhart.

Dan

December 10th, 2010
9:44 am

I’m still wondering how Auburn and the NCAA slimed their way around their own rules. If someone is seeking money on YOUR behalf, you are therefore ineligible. And to say that Cam had no clue his own father (the same guy he admitted that he left in control of picking his college for him) is beyond absurd.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
9:45 am

If he didn’t know what was going on why not ask your father if he did a pay for play. The reason he doesn’t need to ask is because he already knows.

Notthisyear

December 10th, 2010
9:45 am

This situation is beyond dirty.I always heard you could get away with just about anything in that state.I’m starting to believe it now.

SuperB

December 10th, 2010
9:47 am

VOL in Atlanta: You are absolutely correct. the turning point in the Heisman vote (for Woodson over Manning) occurred four years earlier. that’s when Woodson committed to Michigan and Peyton to Tennessee. had they switched schools, manning would ahv eown in a landslide!

Most post-season awards and the All-America teams are skewed toward the Big 10 and Big 12. The SEC and Pac-10 gets screwed every year– and will this year too.

WesDawg

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

Tony,

Respectfully…..Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Highly probable that the Heisman will be tarnished once again with your vote. Cam Newton IS what is wrong with college football. He got a second chance then his father got caught cashing in and will now run to the pros to avoid being a part of the fallout. The only thing left now is the to prove the direct link that Cam had knowledge of his father’s actions which will come in due time…….but for now it sures smells like pee to most folks.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

Yeah, the Cecil Newton thing is sketchy. As an Auburn fan I won’t pretend that it isn’t possible that more facts will come out.

But before everyone decides all of the sudden that Auburn and its fans are a dirty program- consider what you would do in the same situation. No one, and I mean no one, has come forth with any evidence that he was shopped to Auburn, Oklahoma, or Tennessee during his recruitment.

It’s likely that Cecil knew an up-and-coming MSU program would place a higher value on his son than schools with more resources and stronger rosters. He and a MSU booster tried to broker a deal, and by the very same reports everyone wants to lynch Cammy Cam with, the coaches shut down the proposition and reported it to the NCAA eventually. It only makes sense that Cecil would make Cam commit somewhere else, because you can’t exactly commit to a school you asked money from after they’ve declined.

Auburn fans are in a very confusing spot- we don’t know any more than any of you do. And none of us know as much as the NCAA and the involved parties. All we as Auburn fans can do is marvel at his play on the field, the way he has taken our team to the top, and hope for the best. You’ll see us yelling about “innocent until proven guilty”- because what other choice do we have? And that phrase used to and should mean something.

Present facts have been established and decided on. Does that mean they are 100% the way it happened? No. NCAA’s perspective on amateurism isn’t far removed from slavery. But quit ragging on Auburn fans for standing by him until we have absolute reason to otherwise.

As competing sports fans, we always look for ways (especially on these message boards) to one-up one another, talk some smack, and paint a terrible picture of eachother’s programs.

Just realize that we are fans just the same as you, and that if it was your Aaron Murray, Marcus Lattimore, Tyler Bray, Ahmad Black, Patrick Peterson etc. etc. that were caught up in this God-awful cloudy mess, you would be defending him the exact same way.

No one that’s a fan of the sport wins if this proves to be true. It doesn’t undo the domination on the field we saw, and what value can you really place on being able to talk smack to a fanbase when something they had no control over happens such as this?

I hope that the NCAA ruling is final, and I hope that its true. Unlikely that he didn’t know, yes, but I’d be a lot more upset over this if allegations he actually received money were proven true.

WDE

trooper

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

@ Barnhardt the Parrot,

Isn’t it laughable how all these same media types that were on their soapboxes a month ago saying that “everything being reported is a lie, not a single shred of evidence, Miss. St. is just bitter they didn’t get him, it’s all rumors, etc.” are now forced to admit that EVERYTHING reported regarding Miss. St. was factual, but the LONE aspect of the story that they supposedly can’t confirm, are Cam’s conversations with them himself.

Odd that the only thing that would keep Cam from playing, apparently, is the one piece of evidence that they claim they couldn’t find.

Hmmmm…….

TCUgotrobbedagain

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

Auburn cheated and dont deserve to be in the title game. The Horned Frogs were snowjobbed last year when the big12 added a second on the clock for Texas to go over TCU, the whole system Tony is so full of manure it stinks to high heaven. A defense like TCU puts on the field is going to show the world what they can do against an average Wisconsin team but who gets credit for beating a big10 team.. nobody. The whole idea is to find out who the best team is we need a playoff or get rid of automatic bids to teams like that are not ranked or lost to fcs schools. This hurts the fans so bad and get rid of the bowl tie-ins those teams like BoiseST. Utah, Nevada, Hawaii are good enough to beat SEC schools in the Gator bowl or Capitol 1 bowl, the cotton bowl could have got Boise ST. vs Alabama or LSU are you kidding me? That would be the most talked about game I’m telling Boise ST. is not going away no matter what you BCS jerks do. They are going to reload and try to break the combination to the safe and they are going to break it. TCU has been robbed twice eventhough they lost to Boise St. but so has Oklahoma, Oregon (2), VA TECH, Oregon St., Hawaii, and Fresno St. All teams who beat big10 pansies on a yearly basis. You put Ohio St. on the field with TCU or Boise St. and they will get a drubbing to be remember for a lifetime. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. See ya Tony!!!!!

3rdN8

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

I for one am so sick of the Newton story….Cam, Cecil, Fig, you name it…that I can’t stand much more.

Football is the ultimate “team” sport, and this season has become a story of one player.

I’m a Bama fan, but really feel sorry for all of the AU players who’ve worked their tails off all year, only to be completely overshadowed by this sleazy story.

Gen Neyland

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

IMO, the Heisman Trophy and the Nobel Peace Prize has begun to draw an uncanny parallel.

Said What?

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am

I heard an interview with him today on the radio and Cam claimed, “his father had done nothing wrong.”. Thats weird after he father admited the solicitation of the MSU coachs for a pay day.

I think Cam suffers from “me phobia”. Nothing is wrong if it is done for him.

I think the guy is a bald faced liar.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
9:50 am

So, if some Heisman voters want to withhold their vote based on this fact, that is their prerogative. GO BUCKS and ROLL TIDE!!…RattlerMan

True. It’s also Tony’s prerogative to voice his opinion on the matter. If he wishes to give Brando advice based on his own convictions, so be it.

3rdN8

December 10th, 2010
9:51 am

Gen Neyland

Never thought of it that way, but you do have a great point.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
9:53 am

Just realize that we are fans just the same as you, and that if it was your Aaron Murray, Marcus Lattimore, Tyler Bray, Ahmad Black, Patrick Peterson etc. etc. that were caught up in this God-awful cloudy mess, you would be defending him the exact same way.

No doubt about it, but part of the issue is that the writing was on the wall with this kid. Trouble and controversy have followed this kid since he left high school.

FalconUGAFan

December 10th, 2010
9:54 am

WDE—Some of us understand and would feel the EXACT same way..hope it turns out well for all concerned…

JoeFan

December 10th, 2010
9:54 am

The rules as written were broken by his father. There is no grey area. You wasted your vote.

Red Harrison

December 10th, 2010
9:54 am

Knock knock – Who’s there?
Cam – cam who?
Ca-man Islands is a good place to stash $200,000

your proof

December 10th, 2010
9:54 am

Cam is predicted to be taken no higher than the 6th QB in this year’s draft. If he stays he has potential of being the top QB selected next year. Case and point, if he bolts for the pros at the end of the year then it’s crystal clear he is guilty and is opting to just get the hell out of Dodge before his sh*t hits the fan.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
9:54 am

Gen Neyland

December 10th, 2010
9:48 am
IMO, the Heisman Trophy and the Nobel Peace Prize has begun to draw an uncanny parallel.

Why? Newton is much more deserving of the Heisman than the 2009 Nobel Prize winner was deserving of his award. 8)

GT

December 10th, 2010
9:54 am

Football is like our government. The less intervention into the process the better the product. We have gone years and years having a political tainted national champion, now they have gotten into the Heisman. You think I am going to forget Cam Newton or remember a runner up because a bunch of fat gutted cigar smoking back room deal makers have found a loop hole to exercise their injustice. Maybe they will be selling the Heisman name to Donald Trump next year like Miss America, might as well, if Newton doesn’t win the trophy they have sold out anyway. Kind of the same thing they accuse Newton of isn’t it? Only in Newton’s case he didn’t change the reality of the outcome, he ,at worst, just got paid for being the very best player in college football, maybe ever, and if that is the case he didn’t get paid enough.

Red Harrison

December 10th, 2010
9:56 am

Knock Knock – Who’s there?
Auburn – Auburn who?
Awww, burn those deposit slips, Cecil

GTBob

December 10th, 2010
9:56 am

I think you pretty much have to vote for Cam now. His situation is extremely shady and there is a decent chance he will give it back at some point but the NCAA found him eligible and its not the writers job to be the ethical police. Besides, this is the Heisman trophy, which is a essentially a glorified popularity contest at this point. It’s not like it’s a Nobel prize. Let the young man have it.

Simple Jack

December 10th, 2010
9:56 am

I am extremely saddened that we are going to reward Mr. Newton, with all of his character flaws. If the award is to mean anything, then hold it until he is completely exonerated of all charges. ….did not know what his father was doing…. give me a break. Is everyone really so stupid as to not see/know what is going on here? It’s just disgusting. I don’t even care about this season. It is erased from my mind. Maybe Cam can get some of those swank endorsements like Ray Lewis has…and we see what his black cloud did to him/his commercial career. Cam is a scam and it is going to come out eventually. You blew this one, Tony.

Big D

December 10th, 2010
9:56 am

If you watched his interview and believe he was not aware of the deal I have some swamp land to sell you. TB you have to live with your vote but of course the media is not accountable anyway.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
9:57 am

Every school in the SEC has at least 1 kid on their roster that had a bad experience at another school. It’s always a risk to give a second chance to these kids. But by all indications, he has done nothing but good on Auburn’s campus- and that’s all I can ask for. Everything that happened at Florida just seems so much worse because its fresh news to all of us- no one cared when he was 3rd on the depth chart, or when it all happened 2-3 years ago.

Just asking you to put it in perspective.

zeke

December 10th, 2010
9:57 am

Alshon Jeffrey!!!!!

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
9:57 am

3rdN8,

I couldnt agree more! Please no more Cam/AU cheating talk

dap01

December 10th, 2010
9:57 am

Didn’t it seem strange a year ago with Cam said, “I let my dad chose my college”. That was strange but now we know why.

Tony: Character and integrety mean nothing to you and your vote?

Pat Dye

December 10th, 2010
9:58 am

The Auburn Hillbillies-

Come and listen to a story about a kid named Cam,
A liar and a thief, but Auburn didn’t give a damn
Then one day he got paid to play the game
And out of nowhere the investigators came
NCAA that is, judge and jury, Committee on Infractions

Well the first thing you know Auburn decides to go “all in”
Cheating didn’t matter just as long as we can win
Glendale, Arizona is the place we want to be
So we threw out the rulebook and called ourselves “family”
The Auburn family that is, yes we cam, “lean on me”

Well now it’s time to say goodbye to Cam and all our wins
He’ll play in the NFL with that same sh*t eatin’ grin
How in the world could we have been such fools,
Now we have to pick up the pieces of what’s left of our school

Sanctions that is, reduced scholarships, bowl bans

We’ll be back now y’hear?

People luv to hate

December 10th, 2010
9:59 am

Some of you people don’t get it. You don’t punish someone because you believe he’s guility.In the USA you are suppose to be innocent until proven guility. So far you people wish to punish (like they did in the western day-Hang) without proof. If it was you are your kid you would be fighting like hell for your rights. Thats not right where its Cam are You !

BUBBA GUMP

December 10th, 2010
9:59 am

We don’t need ANOTHER Reggie Bush!!!!!!!!

RxDawg

December 10th, 2010
10:00 am

Good post WDE. But the inconsistencey of the NCAA in how they enforce they’re rules to the extreme and then seemed to coincide with Auburn and SEC to sweep this Cam/Cecil Newton thing under the rug so everyone can pocket some BCS money is why everyone else is so emotional about the whole ordeal. It’s like watching Congress openly steal from the public.

AC

December 10th, 2010
10:00 am

All the derogatory comments by so many santimonius arm chair players or wannabes will not prevent Cameron Newton from winning the Heisman Trophy award.

How2fish

December 10th, 2010
10:01 am

How can anyone blame Cam when the SEC and NCAA have both sold their souls on this issue? The SEC rules state that by just asking for the money his father rendered him ineligible not only at MSU but at any school in the SEC..if the SEC and NCAA have broken their own rules how can anyone be mad at Cam or for that matter at Daddy Newton…Bylaw 14.01.3.2 of the Southeastern Conference states as follows: 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 … such student-athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.

Cecil Newton-a member of Cam’s family-has admitted to soliciting money and agreeing to accept aid or assistance in addition to permissible grant in aid. Therefore, Cam Newton is ineligible to play anywhere in the Conference. Only a Pharisee, or a tax lawyer, could construe this bylaw to be inapplicable to the Newton situation.

People luv to hate

December 10th, 2010
10:01 am

How the hell do you know its going to be a another BUSH! You are not GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Soulja Boy

December 10th, 2010
10:02 am

Most of these negative comments are from Georgia fans, who have redirected their anger and disappointment over two lousy years in a row, at Cam Newton, and the Big Bad Wolf, Fairley, for the beat down they took at Auburn. The record of Georgia players for cheating and bad behavior speaks for itself with over 20 arrests for sexual battery, hit and run, etc. in the last two years. Newton was cleared by the NCAA, and there is no evidence of any payment from Auburn. Last year’s Heisman winner’s father watched the ceremony from prison, without comment from the whining puppies. These people should just shut up and focus on their own problems. If Auburn paid for Newton, the truth will out. Until then, Newton is “good to go.”

Notthisyear

December 10th, 2010
10:02 am

One LAST thing on this and I’m DONE! As in life,The more you bring to the table,The more you can get away with.

Michael

December 10th, 2010
10:03 am

Did you get a check from the Newton family too? After watching the ESPN interview, it is clear that Cam is involved. When someone lies, their body language tells you. Take notice of how he either does nort answer a question or looks away or down. It is true that Newton is the best paid player in college football!

Said What?

December 10th, 2010
10:04 am

People luv to hate

December 10th, 2010
9:59 am
Some of you people don’t get it

Well his father asked MSU for money in order for Cam to enroll there. According to the NCAA rule, that is a violation and Cam is enligible. Doesn’t matter if Cam knew or did not know. End of rule. A new rule was invented for Cam because of SEC/BCS tie in. $$$$$$ for TV!!!!

jm

December 10th, 2010
10:04 am

Obstained?…I believe the word is abstained

Glory Glory

December 10th, 2010
10:04 am

Hold on, Nesbitt didn’t win it?

hahahahha!!!!

December 10th, 2010
10:05 am

Luke Scott is my new favorite baseball player!!!

Go Dawgs!

December 10th, 2010
10:05 am

I hope for the sake of all involved that nothing more comes out regarding Cam (though I suspect there is a LOT of ugliness that will come out once the FBI has completed it’s investigation).

I think the integrity clause has to come into play here at some point. Even if you ignore the allegations of cheating at UF, he WAS involved in the laptop theft.

If the Heisman Trust has to remove another winner it will forever taint image and meaning of the award. Voters have to take THAT into consideration as well. The integrity clause was put there for a reason.

Is Cam deserving of the award based on his on the field accomplishments? Absolutely – he may be the most clear cut on the field winner we’ve had in a long time and put up videogame type numbers.

HOWEVER when you insert the integrity clause then it’s not so clear.

On the one hand I get where Tony is coming from in the “what if nothing else comes of it” then Cam would have been done a diservice. BUT, if what most people outside of Auburn, AL suspect is coming then the voters and Heisman Trust are going to have a LOT of egg on their faces.
One person isn’t above the award itself.

If he winds up winning, I think the voters will have missed an opportunity to send a strong clear message that in order to take that trophy home you better be just as outstanding OFF the field as you are on it.

Gary

December 10th, 2010
10:05 am

You should not have voted for him because he stole a lpatop obstructed justice and cheated in school. He is a dirtbag just like his father. I guess for you it is all about football and money and character means little.

PapaDawg

December 10th, 2010
10:05 am

Good ball player but I can’t believe he didn’t benefit at all from whatever money his daddy took and he lost me when he said what’s good for Cam Newton, man I hate that

WDE

December 10th, 2010
10:06 am

Let me remind you, that this was in the NCAA’s hands WELL before Auburn played its first game this year, and Cam Newton was anything more than a highly-regarded recruit.

He would have been an even easier fish to fry than the AJ Green and UNC cases… he wasn’t a star at all at this point. I think this is as good a reason as any to believe that the evidence was just not there on the issue.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
10:06 am

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

We have covered this ad nauseum, but by legal definition you can’t receive without another party agreeing to provide. Sports Attorney Kristi Dosh covered this pretty well over at Forbes.