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

lobby

December 10th, 2010
10:06 am

@ your proof –

You hit the nail on the head. Exactly right.

Said What?

December 10th, 2010
10:07 am

Soulja Boy

December 10th, 2010
10:02 am
Newton was cleared by the NCAA. And there is no evidence of any payment from Auburn.

Both irrelevant statements. His fathers actions made him ineligible to particiate according the NCAA rules. Case closed. Until SEC/BCS steps in to preserve $$$$$$.

This is not hard to see. More evidence will emerge AFTER the TV advertisers have paid CBS and the BCS. Don’t be naive.

Chess

December 10th, 2010
10:08 am

Auburn sold out for a National Title. Stripped away in a few years. Probation.

Funny Man

December 10th, 2010
10:08 am

“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.”

——————————————————————————————

Keep telling yourself that. He was the nation’s number 2 ranked dual-threat QB coming out of high school, and after winning the junior college national championship he was the top prized JUCO recruit in the country. So get off the crack rock.

Nole 5050

December 10th, 2010
10:08 am

Tony you are wrong- the NCAA did not say that Newton had no knowledge of what his father did.

The reason for Newton’s reinstatement is simple. ”Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs.

That is a far cry from had no knowledge. Tony you need to speak the truth and not shape it.

BUBBA GUMP

December 10th, 2010
10:10 am

Ask Florida what a CLEAN guy Newton was……………lol

wtf?!?!?!?!?

December 10th, 2010
10:10 am

Did a Barner fan really just say this?

“he wasn’t a star at all at this point.”

WDE

December 10th, 2010
10:12 am

I did. He was a 5-star recruit from JuCo, but he was not the Heisman-favorite by any stretch of the imagination.

UGA Insider

December 10th, 2010
10:12 am

Reverend Newton will NOT be at the ceremony Saturday per NCAA instructions. That’s all that really needs to be said about this pitiful situation. Tony, one day in the near future you are going to regret this vote I guarantee it.

Glory Glory

December 10th, 2010
10:12 am

But wait, why didn’t you vote for Nesbitt?

Clark Roberts

December 10th, 2010
10:12 am

Did someone compare Newton to a murderer who got off on a technicality? Are you serious? People act like what his dad did helped him win on the field. Did I miss something about steroids or HGH? And a cheater? Because of what he did in school? I knew several pre-med students who cheated in undergrad, they were just smart enough not to get caught. They are out there practicing medicine right now, but we’re treating Cam like public enemy #1. And many of us may never have paid for a stolen laptop, but I bet the majority have stolen time from their employer. How many are on Facebook at work, or playing solitaire, or filled out their NCAA tournament bracket while getting paid to do actual work. So please save me all of the faux outrage. There is something about sports, religion and politics that make people lose all objectivity.

One and done in football?

December 10th, 2010
10:13 am

Looks like Auburn’s two best players are going to the first to start this basketball trend with football. Congrats barners!!! Way to set college football back 20 years!!!

Gary

December 10th, 2010
10:13 am

WDE,
I don’t care about the money. It is about the Laptop and the Cheating. Florida should have kicked hime out of school and Auburn should not touch him. The only decision that took less character was LSU picking Georgia’s former QB. These kids do not deserve a second change at such an amazing opportunity. The SEC and the NCAA is doing nothing to clean up the sport and its image by turning a blind eye on the baggage dumping transfers. It should be stopped.

Football fan

December 10th, 2010
10:13 am

I am confused why more people don’t consider Andy Dalton of TCU a Heisman candidate. He is the winningest active QB in Division I. He has 26 TD passes to 6 interceptions this season. He has completed 66% of his passes for over 2638 yards. All this time he is leading his team to a perfect record and a Rose Bowl bid. I am not a TCU graduate, but I know a good quarterback when I see one.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
10:13 am

My point is that the NCAA must have had a crystal ball if their conspiracy to protect his national title and Heisman trophy run started back in July.

cry me a river

December 10th, 2010
10:14 am

Clark Roberts,

Yeah, tell that to Reggie Bush you genius

Character does matter

December 10th, 2010
10:15 am

I am naive. I really think that a kid has to ALSO be clean and a role model to win the Heisman. The kids that he will influence, will continue with this sleazy type of baggage because this guy and his baggage
at FL and conduct dealing with MSU and no telling what his dealings with the Victory Land Track guy ) are too many for me to sweep under the rug.

He will be found out by the FBI and it will pull AU and MSU under. This is entire incident is spelled PETE ROSE.

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
10:16 am

The interview with Fowler was sickening to me. I threw up in my mouth several times. And of course he doesn’t want to talk about any reports about any of this. I do not believe him- it’s that simple for me. And of course Fowler played softball with him
One additional thing we do now know- he did talk with MSU about not going- He called Dan Mullen. This after all you Aubies denied that there were any conversations between him and MSU- just like all of you denied that his father did anything wrong. The truth comes out slowly- one drip at a time. Why would Dan Mullen lie about his comment- “the money was too much”??? Dan Mullen and Newton both know the truth- and neither is talking.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
10:16 am

Gary-

I don’t know how I personally feel about second chances, either. Fact is, they are the norm in the SEC. My only point is that for other SEC fans to all the sudden throw rocks at Auburn for what happened at Florida just means they are overlooking the second chances their teams ALL hand out.

Mettenberger example you pointed out is a good example.

Joe Bob Thibodaux

December 10th, 2010
10:16 am

Tony

Congratulations on voting your convictions.

Bravo!

I drove from Baton Rouge to watch the Auburn game this year.

Cam earned my complete respect. You voted right.

I have seen Tim Brown, Emmett Smith, Bo Jackson, Mark Ingram, TeBow
and a number of other fine players over the years. Cam may not be the
best ever, but he is the best this year.

My hat it tipped to you, Tony.

LSU Forever,

Joe Bob Thibodaux

Mothers Against Stolen Laptops

December 10th, 2010
10:16 am

Who gets Cecil’s seat since he’s not man enough to attend, since he knows what he and Can did?

People luv to hate

December 10th, 2010
10:17 am

your hate is just as bad as what you blame Cam for…see you all in h—-

Gen Neyland

December 10th, 2010
10:17 am

Bama dude : It goes back further than 2009. Does the name Yasser Arafat (1994) ring any bells..? Cam Newton has shown himself to be a he11 of a football player and I for one wish there was nothing swirling around his nomination. If the vote is based purely on the content and context of what transpires during the season on the field of play, Newton is in the running for sure. For TB to vote Newton gets me back to the regional thing. I’d like to see how the West Coast hacks cast their ballots.

Gary

December 10th, 2010
10:17 am

Clark Roberts,
You witnessed med students cheat and did not report it. Pretty sure that puts you in violation of your schools honor code which makes you as bad as the cheaters with most honor codes. Thanks for being a coward and letting someone practice medicine who is clearly unethical and possibly a danger to his patients. People who take shortcuts to avoid work like that will continue to make decisions like that until they are punished. Nice job defending cam by presenting exactly why he should not be on the field.

Richie

December 10th, 2010
10:17 am

He knew what was going on with his dad.This is the biggest joke .You know it.Just like every one knew about Reggie Bush.So get your head out of the sand.You are a fake sports guy!!!!!!!!

Funny Man

December 10th, 2010
10:18 am

Well your point was a flatout lie. That’s my point.

Mothers Against Stolen Laptops

December 10th, 2010
10:19 am

Of course Joe Bob Thibodaux agrees.
His team just signed a booty grabbing predator.

AU Fan

December 10th, 2010
10:19 am

Question for Tony?

Do you still feel there is a special place in hell for Cecil Newton? I like your work but that may have been the worst comment I have heard with all this Cam Newton talk. You beat out Thayer Evans for dumb comments which is pretty remarkable. As an AU fan, if we did anything wrong we shoud be punished, which there is no indication we did. Also, his father screwed up and made a dumb decision for talking to Kenny Rogers. I hope your life is perfect and you never sinned or made stupid decisions.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
10:19 am

WDE, Auburn might have clean hands on the issue but you can’t make me believe that Cam didn’t know his father was trying pay for play. Cam said “he never asked if his father did it”. The only reason a normal person wouldn’t ask if he already knew. At the point that all this came out Auburn was already all in on the situation so what could they do. I have no proof on cam but we already know he was a liar, cheater and thief before he got to Auburn.

Chillahill43

December 10th, 2010
10:20 am

Hey sec fan
those same writers that didnt vote for cam because of integrity issues didnt have any problems putting MR James on their ballot though. The same Mr James that was charged with 5 counts of Abuse to his girlfriend and wrapping his hands around her neck and throwing her to the floor. Of course he pled out to harrassment only. But you want preach integrity then allow a man that abuses women as your representative. I call BS. Integrity is only part of the heisman commitee mission statement. No where on ballot is integrity mentioned. Give me s break. The hipocrisy is overwhelming.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
10:20 am

Gen Neyland, all of the sites dedicated to polling the voters, etc. say Newton wins in a landslide.

History is repeating for AU

December 10th, 2010
10:20 am

AU won the NC in 1957. Soon thereafter they were STRIPPED of that honor for the same thing.

AU had issues under Pat Dye with that Eric Ramsey kid with attorneys involved, etc and Pat Dye took the fall for AU. Triple secret probation followed.

Now, history repeats for AU. This conduct is in their DNA. Alabama ( I am a UGA man ) has kept them in the shadows for the entire period of the SEC and they will do anything to win quickly and they have.

Soar High AU War Damned Eagle ………………..be proud.

the facts

December 10th, 2010
10:21 am

Yes, the NCAA was made aware back in June about Cam, but did not start to investigate themselves until October. This fact has never been fully explained.

How2fish

December 10th, 2010
10:21 am

Bama Dude I have to disagree with your statement: 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…really try offering a undercover vice cop 50 bucks for sex..they don’t have to do the deed to bust you…just having a certain about of drugs will get you busted for intent to distribute without ever making a sale..

Old Boy

December 10th, 2010
10:21 am

I agree that you can’t vote against Newton, but I don’t think I could vote for him either. I feel like I would have to abstain from voting.

Joe Bob Thibodaux

December 10th, 2010
10:22 am

Mothers Against Stolen Laptops

December 10th, 2010
10:19 am
Of course Joe Bob Thibodaux agrees.
His team just signed a booty grabbing predator.

Haa Haa Haa

Sour grapes must be dripping out of your booty.

Haa! Haa! Haa!

Gary

December 10th, 2010
10:23 am

I don’t think they should get back into the SEC if they were dismissed from a team unless it was because of academic. If you need time to get your grades up at a JC, do it and get back on the field. All other reasons for getting kicked off a team should keep you in the JC ranks for good. The SEC should be enforcing this. Let some other conference pick through our garbage. Can’t believe LSU would stoop so low. At least Auburn can claim Cam left, but that is because Florida did not do their job. He should have been dismissed from the team, kicked out of school and blacklisted from the SEC. Clean up the game.

Tony Barnyard

December 10th, 2010
10:23 am

Cecil Newton for Father of the Year!
What a joke, Tony.

wtf?!?!?!?!?

December 10th, 2010
10:23 am

Yeah, AJ Green wasn’t the Heisman favorite either. He wasn’t even on most watch list.

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
10:24 am

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.

And what of the existing SEC rules covering this incident??? What will the SEC do with those- revoke them?? Slive has embarrassed the entire SEC and should be fired in my opinion. He failed to enforce the existing rules.

Gen Neyland

December 10th, 2010
10:25 am

Bama dude : May be so. Deserved and won on the field of play. In that regard, give Reggie his dang statue back. He needs it for a door stopper…

Clark Roberts

December 10th, 2010
10:25 am

LOL @ Gary. Have you reported every unethical thing you’ve seen? If all doctors had to be completely ethical we wouldn’t have many doctors or drug reps for that matter. Give me a break. Like you’ve never driven over the speed limit. One of my professors, the chair of anatomy, inflated a penis pump that they found in a cadaver while dissecting it. Was I supposed to report him as well?

hahahahha!!!!

December 10th, 2010
10:26 am

Guys, who are you kidding? This is yet another P.C. Lifetime story in the making. You know all the voters are going to vote for him rather if they think he’s guilty or not.

Our house

December 10th, 2010
10:27 am

In April our home AND our church were seriously in need of some paint and some rapairs, remodeling,etc. We cannot afford them so we just live with it. The LORD will provide.

A couple of months later, I am coming home from JUCO and i am a AA QB that can do it all and my cell is ringing off the hook with calls from different schools and our house is squeaky fresh with paint, the yard looks like Calloway Gardens and my Mom is driving a brand new ( 2003 ) Escalade and my dad is wearing threads that only a UK basketball coach could afford and our chruch looks now like the Mormon Tabernacle. Wow!

PTL …………………. he must have provided for our entire family. PTL

Oh, he has overlooked the fact that my pappy WINS EVERYTIME that he places bets at Victory Land Dog track. EVERYTIME he wins. I guess, the Lord helps those who help themselves.
War Eagle

WDE

December 10th, 2010
10:27 am

wtf?!—

You are just trying to miss my point. AJ Green was and probably still is the hottest WR prospect in the nation… if they were willing to knock him down then they certainly would have been willing to take out Cam Newton…

No one outside of UF and Aub on these boards probably even knew who Cam Newton was before he started lighting up the field in September. To suggest that the NCAA saw his success coming and sat on it since July when they are suspending superstars like Marcell Dareus and AJ Green are just crazy.

book it

December 10th, 2010
10:28 am

As soon as Cam declares for the NFL on Jan. 11th I’m predicting that daddy $cam will announce he’s writing a tell-all book explaining how he duped the retarded SEC and NCAA officials. With some royalties being given to Bobby Lowder.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
10:28 am

really try offering a undercover vice cop 50 bucks for sex..they don’t have to do the deed to bust you

See, you’ve got that backwards. At that point you are paying for goods, not receiving payment for goods/services. Also, in your case, the goods themselves are illegal which muddies the waters. Let’s make you the dealer instead of the customer and replace the drugs with landscaping services. You can walk door-to-door giving ballpark quotes, but until someone actually engages you in negotiations you haven’t agreed to do a thing. Maybe the customer turns out to be someone you don’t want to deal with or the yard has limitations that keep you from honoring your ballpark quote. You can back out. See? No agreement.

Mothers Against Stolen Laptops

December 10th, 2010
10:29 am

Joe Bob Thibodaux

There’s no sour grapes
We kicked him off the team
We don’t like to play grab arse like you swamp folk

hornblowermg

December 10th, 2010
10:29 am

hey, ARdawg. my ridgeback hound is named “Gomer” and it is an insult to her to call tb by her name. i understand that the new mascot at aubum (to be added to the dozen or so mascots that they already have) is a satchel man.

Rockin Tide

December 10th, 2010
10:29 am

Tony, it clearly states there was a rules violation below. Furthermore, I do believe Cam knew and it all comes down to economic by the SEC. It has disrespected itself and I am ashamed to even be associated with this institution. “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 (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.” Interpretation is in the eye of the beholder and its wrong.