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

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
11:43 am

WDE, so his brother made “a lot” of money in the NFL what is Cecil doing shopping Cam around?
Why not ask his eldest son for the funds and have Cam pay him back?

Wells

December 10th, 2010
11:43 am

Please Lord make sure that some of these people are never called to trial.

Please Lord let me not be judged based on the actions of my father.

Please Lord let me not be judged on my actions as a 19 year old. Most of us were pretty stupid then.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:45 am

Arlo, I don’t know how to respond other than you’re wrong. The NCAA has spoken on this matter. If you haven’t seen this already, check it out. Money quote:

“That’s the question I think a lot of people ask not just today, but when I worked in reinstatement 10 years ago. We struggled with the issue of student-athlete knowledge and culpability for certain violations vs. the deterrence factor,” said Lach, the NCAA’s new vice president of enforcement. “When you’re talking about a National Collegiate Athletic Association, whose primary mission is to serve student-athlete well-being, then generally you land on the side of student-athlete welfare.”

I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment.

for its a-r-k-a-n-s-a-s for Arkansas

December 10th, 2010
11:47 am

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:47 am

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”

Nope. They don’t have to prove the negative. By definition Cam’s and Cecil’s statements are evidence that Cam didn’t know. Unless there is other evidence suggesting that Cam did know then all of the evidence falls in their favor.

KR

December 10th, 2010
11:49 am

ARdawg, you need help with reading comprehension.

I clearly stated that I have no way of knowing what Cam Newton did or did not know. Since I don’t know, I am choosing not to speculate. You and many others apparently don’t have a problem in this regard.

The NCAA stated in their ruling that there was insufficient evidence at this time to conclude that Cam Newton was aware of his father’s actions.

WhineWhineWhine

December 10th, 2010
11:49 am

Its been almost 4 weeks since the Thuga beat down in Auburn. Do you think you Thuga fans will stop whining by Christmas. Get over it….

bestpost@11:31

December 10th, 2010
11:50 am

timthebrave, Very well said,Better than these”so called” experts on here

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
11:50 am

It’s very pausible that Cam did not know what his Dad was doing, in terms of secret meeting and talk of money exchange. If he didnt suspect anything and his dad didnt tell him, its entirely possible he didnt know. Opinion as to if that is true, but it is possible. What is not plausible is the statement that after it’s plastered over every sport page in America, Cam never “directly asked” him about it. Well, let me re-phrase that, its not plausible that Cam not asking him directly about it was anythiong over than a very thought out defensive strategy that was reached. One I agree with. But it jsut seemed to me he was passing it off, as it just didn’r come up.

BTW, I think it “should” matter to the NCAA if there was knowledge or intent. We have all said that at various times in the past. I just don’t understand how they reconsile that now, with thier very rigid stance in the past, or how in the heck they plan to have any standard going forward.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
11:50 am

Wells

December 10th, 2010
11:43 am

Please Lord make sure that some of these people are never called to trial.

I can agree with that.

Please Lord let me not be judged based on the actions of my father.

As long as your father doesn’t try to sell your abilities as a collegiate football player you’re good to go.

Please Lord let me not be judged on my actions as a 19 year old. Most of us were pretty stupid then.

Most of us weren’t going to be millionaires before we turned 21. Cam is just playing stupid.

ol' balls coach

December 10th, 2010
11:51 am

Well stated by Selective Moral. Want to talk integrity – how about we look at how many Heisman winners even go to close, yet accept grades and scholarship money. MSU AD left, Mullen is on his way to Gainesville and the shoe will drop in Starkville.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
11:52 am

I was hoping to have some football conversations today but I see the Cam issue is till being discussed. This stinks.He was found not GUILTY of wrong doing.He should be Heisman winner.He and his team proved ON THE FIELD-NOT IN THE MEDIA that that are tops in the SEC and from what ive seen so far soon to be tops in the Nation.GIVE IT A REST PEOPLE!

always a silver lining

December 10th, 2010
11:52 am

Wells Please make them stop asking all those questions- we just want our trophy!!! Make them stop- please!!!

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
11:54 am

BTW, I think it “should” matter to the NCAA if there was knowledge or intent. We have all said that at various times in the past. I just don’t understand how they reconsile that now, with thier very rigid stance in the past, or how in the heck they plan to have any standard going forward.… AltamahaDawg

I think the key here is that there is no evidence that any money changed hands. If they allowed a player to play after his Dad GOT money by claiming he didn’t know then there would obviously be a loophole that many people would try to exploit. As it stands you can only maintain eligibility if your Dad tries for money without your knowledge and doesn’t get it. I see no reason to change the rules in order to make that illegal.

irish dawg

December 10th, 2010
11:54 am

cam newton does not desire to win the H EISMAN TROPHY .he a thief, Lair and a cheater and is not a good role model for the kids .but he will still win it. character does not mean anything these days

nick fairley

December 10th, 2010
11:56 am

i thought i should have gotten a couple of votes

nick fairley

December 10th, 2010
11:57 am

irish dawg? desire? i think he probably wanted to win it

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
11:59 am

KR

I haven’t speculated. No where will you find that I have said Cam knew or didn’t know. That Cecil did or didn’t solicit. There isn’t anything other than rumor and innuendo. The NCAA isn’t saying. They are only clearing Cam of knowledge of what his father admits. Yet, they provide nothing to substaniate that finding. I don’t know if the kid is guilty or not, more over, I don’t even care.

You on the other hand made earlier statements that because the NCAA cleared Cam, he’s innocent. I don’t swallow that hook as fast you

Wells

December 10th, 2010
11:59 am

Arlo

19 year olds make mistakes. Why is he held to a different standard because he “might” have been a millionaire?

“Please Lord let me not be judged based on the actions of my father.

As long as your father doesn’t try to sell your abilities as a collegiate football player you’re good to go.”

The kid still shouldn’t be judged. I have no problem with people taking the father to task. Based on the people with all the information (NCAA and SEC) he didn’t know.

NO

December 10th, 2010
11:59 am

Don’t let it go,That is what is Fuc%#ng wrong with this country today.Just look the other way,Let it go.He!! NO! Not on this one.Enough people should just start raising all kinda he!! over it.It’s pitifully corrupt.

wxwax

December 10th, 2010
12:02 pm

I’m sorry, Tony.

It defies logic and reason that Newton didn’t know what his father was up to.

Speculation? Only in the most technical sense.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
12:02 pm

Now for the key passage in Joe Schad’s report last month:

Prior to Newton’s commitment to Auburn, one of the recruiters said Cecil Newton told him it would take “more than a scholarship” to bring his son to Mississippi State, a request the source said the school would not meet. Cecil Newton also referred the recruiter to a third person who would provide more specifics, the source said.

After Newton committed to Auburn, another source said an emotional Cam Newton phoned another recruiter to express regret that he wouldn’t be going to Mississippi State, stating that his father, Cecil, had chosen Auburn for him because “the money was too much.”

hornblowermg

December 10th, 2010
12:03 pm

i have been a football enthusiast since before i started school in the first grade and have placed too much importance on the sport and its various aspects. it has taken up far too much of my time, and i have always looked for ways to diminish its affect on my felicity. no more. what a lot of crap everywhere that anyone can look regarding the sport. what a stupid person you are, tb.

nick fairley

December 10th, 2010
12:03 pm

let me ask all you scholars this…..if you put aside the circus surrounding cam newton and the fact that AU beat all your alma maters….who is the best college football player you’ve seen this year??? or in MANY years for that matter….he would have a statue in athens and tuscaloosa…..

just saying

georgiadawg70

December 10th, 2010
12:03 pm

Tony, This is what we know. The guy is a felon. Larceny, burglery, and obstruction of justice for stealing a computer. He plead guilty to this is exchange for it being reduced to a non felony. He is a lier. He said he didn’t know the computer was stolen but threw it out the window when the police arrived. That’s were the obstruction charge came in. He was caught cheating three times, someting he didn’t deny, and left school before being expelled and fled to Texas.

This guy is slime. The Trophy deserves better than this. He is the best athlete but in regards of character the has none. He is an insult to college athletics

kevin

December 10th, 2010
12:04 pm

Do you really think Cecil tried to get money from Mississippi State and got nothing from Auburn? Cam Newton says “the truth will come out.” How can you know the truth, Cam? I thought you had no idea what your father was doing.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:05 pm

NO,

You cant get blood from a turnip!

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:07 pm

Arlo, that obviously couldn’t be proven. If it could then Cam wouldn’t be playing. Either Schad’s source wasn’t credible or Cam lied anout saying that. He admits to calling MSU to break the news so phone records wouldn’t be damning. How can you prove what he said?

Patrick

December 10th, 2010
12:08 pm

I think that because he was by far the best player this year that it made the choice a lot easier for the voters. If this was a year that had a close race I think a lot of voters would have voted for the other option but this year Cam is the clear cut winner.

Joe Bob

December 10th, 2010
12:08 pm

Don’t know why all the leg humpers are so upset. You have no “dawg” in this hunt . Sounds like sour grapes from your loss to the Tigers. Why not focus your comments on what will get UGA out of the SEC cellar instead of criticizing another program? Just sayin’

NaNaNaNaNaNa

December 10th, 2010
12:08 pm

You can’t prove that OJ did it — and Cam is just like OJ !!!

Waw Weagle !!!

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
12:09 pm

Cam says the truth will come out?

Supposedly, Cam doesn’t know the truth. Did he really make that statement?

ARdawg

December 10th, 2010
12:11 pm

Joe Bob

you should quit beating off on yourself and prepare to assume your rightful position at the bottom of the West next year with Cam gone. And yes, your yearly beatings from Georgia will continue

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
12:11 pm

NO, but that’s easier than actually embarrassing somebody or making them conform to the rules that we spend so much money and time making up. The bodies that govern just don’t give a damn. Take the easy road. While I am at it look at the State of Florida. This week Gov. Crist pardoned Jim Morrison of the Doors for a crime he comitted back in the 70’s. WTF? He had to contact three other pardon board members to get them to take time read the pardon and approve it. IMO I would think that the State of Florida has more important things to take care of.

Bob in Buford

December 10th, 2010
12:11 pm

You forgot to account for the kid who finishes second. If they take it back from Newton, what do you tell that kid? They didn’t give Reggie’s to #2. Cam Newton was the best player this year. The voters don’t have to follow the loophole the NCAA did.

Scam Newton

December 10th, 2010
12:11 pm

Look, forget what happened at Auburn. He stole a laptop at Florida and was involved in academic cheating. He does not represent what the Heisman is all about. He is not a student-athlete in any sense of the term.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
12:12 pm

Except that the rules don’t say that. If they should, fine, change them.

A MUST READ.....

December 10th, 2010
12:12 pm

Source: http://larrybrownsports.com/college-football/how-corrupt-auburn-is-and-how-they-laundered-money-to-players-cam-newton/39981

“If you’re one of those people that closes your eyes to harsh realities, or if you’re an Auburn fan, you won’t want to hear any of this. If you’re a normal college football fan, you probably understand that recruiting violations and some form of “pay for play” are the norm in high-profile college athletics. Not much however matches the scale to which things have gone on at Auburn.

I was first exposed to the corruption going on at that school — or more specifically the corruption involving booster and board of trustee member Bobby Lowder in a Bragging Rights: A Season Inside the SEC, College Football’s Toughest Conferencebook by Richard Ernsberger called Bragging Rights. In short, Lowder was the CEO of Colonial BancGroup, a huge bank in Alabama which recently failed. He used his power at the bank to bribe members on Auburn’s board of trustees through interest free loans, and he is essentially the team’s athletic director and responsible for their hires.

The incredible research and investigation done by blueTunaTiger at the LSU site Tiger Droppings points out that over the past 10 years, about five people have served as members of the Auburn Board of Trustees as well as Colonial BancGroup’s Board of Directors. You know what that means? The people controlling Auburn’s booster funds also controlled one of the state’s most powerful banks, and vice versa.

So how has money been funneled to players recently? Well one way has been through the Fine-Geddie lobbying group, which has been paid through Auburn’s booster fund Tigers Unlimited Foundation (also prominently noted at Sports by Brooks). Another way suggested by Tiger Droppings has been donating to the Alabama Children’s First Foundation. Money from that fund may have been used in recruiting. Now, as for some shadier ways, check out this creativity.

From TD: “Such things include guaranteed winning slot machines for AU players at Milt’s (Colonial Board member, AU Booster) Casino, unmarked ATM cards issued to AU players from Colonial Bank (Bobby Lowder-AU Board Member and Booster; Pat Dye-Colonial Board member, AU employee and Booster), forgiven loans to families, friends, donors, etc.”

Now what makes me feel so certain a good amount of this information is accurate? The FBI’s presence in the case. Why would the FBI be involved in the investigation of a college football player? As we learned on Wednesday from TMZ, the FBI was asking about Milton McGregor’s involvement in the Cam Newton case. McGregor is an Auburn booster who ran a greyhound racing track called VictoryLand and he was recently arrested along with 10 others in a political bribery scheme.

McGregor was trying to pay off politicians to vote in favor of pro-gambling legislation. The FBI had wire tapped McGregor and many others regarding this case, and that’s how they came across all the information about Auburn’s pay for play schemes, including Cam Newton. McGregor’s attorney denied his client had any involvement with the Newtons, but we’ll wait until we hear what the FBI has to say.

That’s not all. A post on Tide Sports says McGregor made a payment of $250,000 to Cam Newton’s uncle through a PAC, and then the uncle funneled the money back to Cam’s father. Don’t believe this stuff? The FBI has made arrests and has been investigating this case for nearly a year. I’d say that means they have some pretty darn concrete evidence. My trust runs with the Feds, where does yours?”

Notthisyear

December 10th, 2010
12:14 pm

To NO, I agree! But you forgot the biggest thing,The money is just too much.PUN AbsolUtely intended.

Scam Newton

December 10th, 2010
12:14 pm

Joe Bob, lets see who was the last team between Allbarn and UGA to have a loosing season, I think we know who it was, just sayin! You guys feel at home in the cellar and when Scam goes to the NFL you will be right back at home, is Tony Franklin still available?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:15 pm

Bob in Buford

December 10th, 2010
12:11 pm
You forgot to account for the kid who finishes second. If they take it back from Newton, what do you tell that kid? They didn’t give Reggie’s to #2. Cam Newton was the best player this year. The voters don’t have to follow the loophole the NCAA did.

Eh, no worries. LaMichael James will finish second and he’s a criminal too.

Joe Bob

December 10th, 2010
12:15 pm

ARpupster – right now your program in Athens is at the bottom of the heap in the SEC. Enjoy mediocrity. It must really stink to be a Dawg fan. HBTD? They s_ck and so do many of their fans like you. Jealousy and envy will get you nowhere leg humpers.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:15 pm

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
12:12 pm
Except that the rules don’t say that. If they should, fine, change them.

What are you referring to here?

gdawginkalamazoo

December 10th, 2010
12:16 pm

nick fairley, Cam Newton, that’s the sad part of the whole thing.

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
12:17 pm

Article 13 (13.1.2.2) of the NCAA Division I rules manual specifies that spouses of coaches are allowed to be in contact with recruits during official on-campus visits and, under certain circumstances, during official off-campus visits.

Dan Mullen Wife Megan Is Permissible Recruiter For Mississippi State

As the spouse of Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, Megan Mullen is classified officially by the NCAA as a “permissible recruiter” for her husband’s football team.

Article 13 (13.1.2.4) further states that a permissible recruiter can talk to a recruit on the phone only “if the prospect initiates the conversation and the call is not for recruiting purposes.”

Once again, from the Starkville Daily News on Cam Newton and Dan Mullen after Newton’s father chose Auburn over Mississippi State:

“It was probably one of the hardest decisions I have made in my recent life,” Newton said. “Not just telling him because we had a good relationship but having to tell his wife – Ms. Megan – that was one of the hardest things because I don’t know we had such a close relationship.

“This decision wasn’t just merely all my decision. I have to clear it with the whole nine yards. Not just how I feel but I got to go through so many people to see what they think whether it be my family and the close people towards me.”

Dan Mullen said of Newton that week to the Times-Daily:

“We recruited him hard and I know him, know his family,”

Is it unreasonable to suggest that Dan and Megan Mullen are, “two sources who recruit for Mississippi State” who ESPN.com reported, “said that Cecil Newton and his son, quarterback Cam Newton, said in separate phone conversations that his college choice would be part of a pay-for-play plan while Newton was being recruited late last year.”?

If so, surely the NCAA can’t possibly be aware of those conversations.

Especially considering the SEC has already denied – on the record – that it ever received any information about such phone conversations from Mississippi State.

Right Commissoner Slive?

Right President Emmert?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:20 pm

Arlo, all Cam has to do is deny, deny, deny. No tapes = No proof.

dap01

December 10th, 2010
12:21 pm

Three jokes: Barnhart, Florida (he was not even in trouble for stealing, 12 traffic violations and cheating) and Auburn (Who admits someone with this record.

I am disappointed that the recruiting guru of the AJC can not agree.

Joe Bob

December 10th, 2010
12:21 pm

Cam Newton is the best player in college football. Everyone knows it but the Dawgs just can’t handle the truth. I used to think you were our cousins, now I know that you’re exactly what other SEC schools describe you as – dumb and delusional – never a good combination but that is apparently the status quo in Athens. Is anyone really surprised UGA is at the bottom of the SEC? Only the Dawg fans.

AltamahaDawg

December 10th, 2010
12:22 pm

Wells, this is not a matter of being “judged”. It’s not a moral issue. It’s not a legal issue. It’s a matter of eligibility within the framework of a a very specific set of rules set up to govern a very specific structure. Should you “judge” a golfer whose ball moved while he was addressing it? Should he be penalized a stroke. It’s a made up rule, but that’s the rule.

X and O's

December 10th, 2010
12:22 pm

Because you have more of a crush on him than you had on Tebow?