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

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
11:00 am

The outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

JB

December 10th, 2010
11:00 am

If Auburn wins it all, the NCAA will close the case…..nothing to see here. And AJ sits 4 games. No, he didn’t know the guy was an ex agent. FOUR Games. CAM’S dad ask ( ADMITTEDLY) MSU for money and Cam gets 1 day. yea, sounds fair.

LT

December 10th, 2010
11:00 am

Guess I don’t understand the rules…..according to the NCAA if someone acted on a player’s behalf, known or unknown, doesn’t matter, and they do something outside of the rules it makes that player ineligible, whether or not Newton knew or not what was taking place, it appears at this whole year was played while ineligible. Great Year, but should it have ever occurred? Doesn’t appear so. Just as opinion, I can’t imagine he knew nothing about any of this, and most likely even got paid, but all that doesn’t matter either, just a question of eligibility. Does a leopard change it’s spots? Maybe, but usually not completely, and this fast, hmmmmmm? Hope your vote wasn’t wasted on a “professional”, only time will tell. Newton says he didn’t do anything wrong, so it must be true, just like his laptop story, yeah right. Big difference in doing, and knowing, once again, all about eligibility, not any of this.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
11:01 am

WDE, do you believe Cam didn’t know about his dad asking for money?

WDE

December 10th, 2010
11:01 am

Woops, wrong link:

http://www.jaguars.com/team/Player.aspx?id=2889

His older brother was an NFL player until just recently. League minimum is around $400k, am I right? I won’t say this is where the church money came from, but its just as possible as what you people are suggesting.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:01 am

Cam’s father acted as his agent. That made him ineligible. Doesn’t matter if Cam had anything to do with it. Sorry Tony, you’re wrong.

That’s all it takes? Cool! I’m going to Auburn Monday to ask for money as the agent of all their top 2011 recruits. They’ll all be guilty whether they know or not.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
11:01 am

I’d say chances of that are slim, but I also think it would be pretty easy to prove and the NCAA hasn’t yet.

jumbo gumbo

December 10th, 2010
11:02 am

time for Bark Madley to shut his mouth: Looks like Ky is the joke

Kentucky senior quarterback Mike Hartline, coming off the best season of his career, was arrested early Friday morning in Lexington and charged with second-degree disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication in a public place and failure to notify authorities of an address change.

A more serious charge, according to the police report, is that a woman told police that Hartline hit her, causing pain in her lower jaw. Officers didn’t notice any visible injury and told the woman that she would need to press charges downtown if she wanted to take further action.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:02 am

WDE

December 10th, 2010
11:01 am
Woops, wrong link:

http://www.jaguars.com/team/Player.aspx?id=2889

His older brother was an NFL player until just recently. League minimum is around $400k, am I right? I won’t say this is where the church money came from, but its just as possible as what you people are suggesting.

He was on the practice squad until the last couple of weeks. He only made $80-100K tops before taxes.

GT

December 10th, 2010
11:04 am

OJ Simpson, Billy Cannon still have their trophies. When did this thing become a character contest? You had a shot at this guy when he was kicked out of Florida, you left him in the system. MSU had a shot at him in the recruiting process, you left him in the system. Now you expect a bunch of gnarly wells to make character decisions that were past on earlier. If character is that big an issue, make it one. Kick those people out of the Heisman club that have shown poor character, stop this hypocrisy call college recruiting. But don’t wait for a kid, to surprise you with how talented he is, and then to make this an issue. I still say no one would have paid Cam Newton a dime to be a two year ,at best, average quarterback more less a 180,000. Who knew he was going to be this good? If they had MSU probably would have paid the 180,000 and called it a bargain.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:04 am

WDE

December 10th, 2010
11:01 am
I’d say chances of that are slim, but I also think it would be pretty easy to prove and the NCAA hasn’t yet.

I disagree. Proving he knew would be very difficult.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
11:04 am

Whether there was any money exchanged really doesn’t matter. Cecil (admittedly) shopped Cam around, which makes him Cam’s agent. NCAA rules state any player represented by an agent is ineligible to play.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
11:05 am

WDE, I just hope that Cam isn’t sitting in the NFL while Auburn takes the fall for him. Just like USC

McDawg

December 10th, 2010
11:07 am

Cam is the Man for the Heisman-starting to think the Orange Bowl is going to be a really good game

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
11:07 am

That’s all it takes? Cool! I’m going to Auburn Monday to ask for money as the agent of all their top 2011 recruits. They’ll all be guilty whether they know or not.

BAMA dude, why would they believe you? Are you the father of all of Auburn’s 2011 recruits?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:09 am

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
11:04 am
Whether there was any money exchanged really doesn’t matter. Cecil (admittedly) shopped Cam around, which makes him Cam’s agent. NCAA rules state any player represented by an agent is ineligible to play.

Cecil is not an agent under NCAA definition and, since Cam didn’t know of Cecil’s solicitation he obviously never authorized Cecil to negotiate for him.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
11:09 am

BAMA…a stranger asking for money for a recruit and a father asking for money are two different things. Get real

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:10 am

BAMA dude, why would they believe you? Are you the father of all of Auburn’s 2011 recruits?

What difference does tha make? See, you believe he knew and are trying to find other ways to punish him because you can’t prove it.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
11:10 am

Cam will definitely be in the NFL next year. You can take that how you want:

a) He’s admitting guilt and getting the heck out
b) He’s not guilty, but tired of the public tar-and-feathering
c) He’s NFL ready and making the decision independent of the entire controversy

The most laughable thing is when competing fans started making fun of Auburn for Cam Newton “using us” to get to the NFL. As if that’s something new in college sports, and as if Auburn is the sucker.

If someone offered you $10 mil a year your junior year in college to do your dream job, its not something you would think twice about. Kids at every elite school do it every year. To try to make Auburn suddenly feel bad about their players jumping at the opportunity to go to the NFL is hilarious and hypocritical.

KR

December 10th, 2010
11:12 am

Actually Arlo, the NCAA ruled that Cam Newton was unaware of what his father was doing. That makes Cecil Newton a con artist, not an agent.

To use BAMA dude’s post above, if he goes to Auburn on Monday asking for money for all of the 2011 recruits without their knowledge of his actions, he’s a con artist. If he gets agreement from the players prior to asking for the money, he’s an agent.

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…

foodfight

December 10th, 2010
11:14 am

Hey S. Slope Keep practicing that law ’til you get it right. Practice makes perfect.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
11:14 am

WDE, Who is saying that Cam shouldn’t go to the NFL? Nobody got mad when Stafford went because he got to be the top pick. You go to college to get a good job. But IF Auburn gets probation for this 2 years down the road Auburn fans will feel pretty used

Dirty Dawg

December 10th, 2010
11:15 am

Tony, you choose column A, I’ll choose column B…if necessary I’ll go back and say ‘I’m sorry’, although, frankly I don’t think I’ll have anything to be sorry about – even if he didn’t know about his daddy, or uncle, or whoever, solicited money from Auburn, and you’ve got to know somebody did, his entire history at Florida is one of cutting corners and breaking laws..and he got away with that, pretty much unscathed. Suppose if he were to be denied the Heisman, he’ll just have to settle for the 40 or 50 million dollars he’ll get for playing ‘at the next level’.

If the Heisman people have to yank another one of these so soon, my guess is that they may consider abandoning that ‘integrity’ thingy – since it’ll have become a joke – or perhaps decide to do away with awarding the trophy at all. With today’s ‘entitlement/ attitude, finding a superior athlete with sufficient character traits to qualify is becoming impossible.

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
11:16 am

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
11:17 am

KR

Thats quite a stretch both you and the NCAA are making. Cam was not suppose to have knowledge that his father was soliciting money on his behalf. WOW all this flies in the face of Cam’s admitting how close he, his father and his family is huh? Now you are making statements of things you couldn’t possibly know

Daniel

December 10th, 2010
11:17 am

@pates,

Right! So why blame the pawns (the student-athletes)??? The NCAA (the controller of the board) is one of the biggest shams and scam-runners going. They along with the Networks (ESPN, CBS, ABC) are laugh their behinds to the bank, off the backs of these kids. And now you have wayward parents getting involved looking for their slice of the pie (figuring if everyone else is benefiting why not us??)…its a mess!

But as hard as it is sometimes, from Sept to Nov, I just look beyond all the fluff and huff, and just want to watch good college football, and from Oct to April, view some outstanding, passionate college BB. Best team vs team, with an occansional showcasing of a top player or players here and there..that’s all.

If i wanted to watch soap operas and keep up with them, I would watch them, and shed my manhood and sports fan status in the process.

WDE

December 10th, 2010
11:18 am

Right, timthebrave- if this gets any worse, then Auburn fans are the true victims. And everyone here will laugh at us, pump their chests and say “I told you so, stupid BARN fans”… I just want to make the point that if it was your favorite player with all this going on, what would you do differently but stand by him until you shouldn’t?

I was apathetic about the USC case, but I assumed it was all true just the same as yall are now. Maybe that wasn’t fair. I’ll tell you all though, it feels a lot different when its your program involved.

Spike

December 10th, 2010
11:18 am

Uhhh, Tony, is it not ABSTAINED, not “obstained”?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:20 am

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
11:17 am
KR

Thats quite a stretch both you and the NCAA are making. Cam was not suppose to have knowledge that his father was soliciting money on his behalf. WOW all this flies in the face of Cam’s admitting how close he, his father and his family is huh? Now you are making statements of things you couldn’t possibly know

No he’s not. Again, separate what has been proven with fact from what you wholeheartedly think you know. I think he’s guilty too but there is nothing evidentiary to refute his statement that he didn’t know.

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
11:20 am

BAMA dude You strain at a gnat and swallow a camel- stop with the parsing of words. You believe what you like- as will I. Go take your $5 defenses elsewhere. You apparently think you are the Solomon of the blog from what I have read and have the truth cornered. I beg to differ.

McDawg

December 10th, 2010
11:22 am

Auburn fans victims??? victim of what Gene Chizk’s hairdo??

KR

December 10th, 2010
11:24 am

ARdawg: it’s not me making what you perceive to be a stretch. I have no authority regarding matters of NCAA eligibility. I also have no way of knowing what Cam Newton did or did not know, and I suspect you don’t either.

ugadog311

December 10th, 2010
11:24 am

Cam: Dad, I love Mississippi State because I’ve always thought I could play in a Dan Mullen offense. I mean, I was originally recruited to be Mullen’s guy at Florida.
Cecil: No, son, you’re going to Auburn. No questions !
Cam: Yes sir, daddy. I will go to Auburn.

And we’re supposed to believe that was the end of the conversation, not:

Cam: ummm…..Daddy ? Why do I all of a sudden have to go to Auburn ?

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
11:28 am

WDE, actually most people on this board DID know who Cam Newton was. I dare say that most UGA fans knew who he was long before most Auburn fans did. For reasons that do not need explaining, UGa fans are very aware of any Florida Gator that gets into trouble.

fishpool

December 10th, 2010
11:28 am

The 800 lb. gorilla in the room is MISSISSIPPI STATE. The athletic director at State left in Jan
and is in Arizona. Dan Mullen is gone from State . Why? because he and his wife are knowledgeable and aware of this situation. Mullen’s scheme has backfired and he wants out if Starkville. It will happen in Jan. ‘11

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
11:28 am

BAMA dude

I haven’t pretended to know anything concerning Cam, and what he did and didn’t know. That would be you, KR and the NCAA. I did find it hard to believe that Cam and Cecil being so close and all, that Cam would have no knowledge of what his mentor, father and closest confidant was soliciting him for cash. That doesn’t strike you as at the very least odd? Cecil supposedly has admitted doing so. With that information how can someone condemn OR exonerate Cam is beyond me

Troubling

December 10th, 2010
11:28 am

Personally, I have a hard time believing Cam knew nothing, or, for that matter, received nothing. I have an even harder time believing he and his father have NEVER discussed this. However, what I believe doesn’t really matter because there is nothing I can do about it. College footbal, in my opinion,l has become a joke and the SEC/NCAA has lost respect from many college football fans. I hate this, for the AU players, who could potentially have their team accomplishments completely vacated. And, it is unfair to the fans of AU should that happen. As I said, this is really troubling . . . and, SLIPPERY SLOPE, you make some good points. Just my thoughts . . .

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
11:31 am

WDE, I don’t blame you for standing behind your team and hoping for the best. I just wouldn’t be trying to convince everyone that he is of upstanding character when everyone knows of his past. It’s possible that he was a liar, thief and cheat and changed his ways but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. You can’t convince me he didn’t know what his father was doing especially when he doesn’t feel the need to ask his father if it was true. It just doesn’t pass the logic test to me. I understand that the law and courts need proof but for me I’l go with my instincts. If it smells like sh** and looks like sh** I don’t need to taste it to prove its sh**

gomdawg

December 10th, 2010
11:34 am

TONY , SIMPLE THROW YOUR VOTE AWAY , BUT THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE LOOK ON YOURE FACE , NO YOURE NOT STUPID YOU KNOW CAM KNEW A WHAT KIND OF A DEAL HIS DAD TRIED TO MAKE WITH MISSISSPPI STATE AND GOD ONLY KNOW WHAT AUBURN DID PAY HIM . BECAUSE I CAN PROMISE YOU ONE THING THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:35 am

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
11:20 am
BAMA dude You strain at a gnat and swallow a camel- stop with the parsing of words. You believe what you like- as will I. Go take your $5 defenses elsewhere. You apparently think you are the Solomon of the blog from what I have read and have the truth cornered. I beg to differ.

Ha. Nothing of the sort. My point is that we aren’t talking about “belief” here when determining guile or innocence under NCAA rules. The Heisman voters can think and speak with their votes however they wish.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:36 am

ARDawg, it strikes me as more than odd. I think he knew everything, but I can’t prove it.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:37 am

timthebrave, great post at 11:31. If the Heisman voters choose to feel the same way then they can as well.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
11:38 am

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:10 am

What difference does tha make? See, you believe he knew and are trying to find other ways to punish him because you can’t prove it.

Again, it doesn’t matter if he knew that his mentor father was shopping him. He’s ineligible.

To quote Tommy Boy… “I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ***, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.”

Selective Morals

December 10th, 2010
11:38 am

Not a fan of Auburn or Cam, but lets stop being so selective with our morals people. To say he shouldn’t get it based on character is stupid, because no one seemed to care that Troy Smith won the Heisman after ACTUALLY TAKING MONEY from an agent and getting suspended for it (his freshman year). Also, no one seemed to be outraged last year that Mark Ingram won it after having been sanctioned by the NCAA for TAKING MONEY from an agent. And if we are going to hold Cam responsible for the sins of his father, isn’t Ingram’s dad in prison, and didn’t he run from the law to see his son play? Ingram had no control over that, just like a 19 year old kid has no control over his dad pimping him out. Whether Cam knew or not, he couldn’t have stopped his dad from doing it.

We aren’t awarding these guys entrance to heaven, its the damn Heisman and hes the best player. Almost every great player has gotten into some trouble. Didn’t yall when you were in college?

Get off your high horses, hypocrites.

Bo Jackson

December 10th, 2010
11:39 am

I voted for Waaaaashown Ealey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jeff

December 10th, 2010
11:40 am

Great Tony! Way to condone family members charging for their kids to play. There is absolutly no way he did not have an inkling about this as close as this family says they are. The NCAA and SEC opened a huge can of worms here and now we are going to spend the next few weeks as all of you try to upgrade his image. If this does come back and it is proven he knew, then I hope that the head of the SEC and NCAA is fired on the spot and all of you that played the game with them lose all credibility. I only hope and pray that the ducks put a nice touch to the Barns and Cammies year with a blowout. I refuse to cheer for any team that cheats or has a player that does. His dad did it and the SEC rules clearly state that it does not matter if the player knew or not…..that we have a spineless Commish at the SEC that chooses to ignore the by-laws is irrelivant.

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
11:41 am

The outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Heisman winner.

WarCamPigeonLOL

December 10th, 2010
11:41 am

@ John; you posted this:

“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.”

What the hell do you think voting is? It’s a biased selection. Fire someone for that and see how fast you wind up in court.

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
11:42 am

BAMA dude

Nor can I. Apparent;y KR and the NCAA can. Although they haven’t provided any proof or information of how they can. I suppose we “just take their word for it”