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

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:25 pm

JoeBob I wouldn’t talk too much. The Barn will be lucky to break .500 next year with that schedule and returning roster.

Mr. Groove

December 10th, 2010
12:25 pm

I feel as if all of the college players should receive some type of monetary compensation and not just a scholarship. Say what you want, but the conferences are signing million dollar television contracts, selling tickets to games at outrageous prices, there are video games with college teams that have the college players on there with their numbers(just doesn’t have their names on the back of their jerseys) and you have college coaches with salaries that are higher than some NFL coaches. So, why shouldn’t the players receive some type of compensation. This blog is a joke.

Steve

December 10th, 2010
12:28 pm

Arlo…well, the financial records were submitted and reviewed…so, clearly NCAA is satisfied the funds did not come from anyone associated with Auburn.

Perfect Storm

December 10th, 2010
12:29 pm

God has smiled on the Bishop Newton and his son. Not only did they get away with violating the intent (if not the letter) of the SEC and NCAA bylaws regarding amateurism in collegiate sports, but they did it in a year in which the entire FBS is in the trough of a cycle of excellence.

Had this not been a down year for the entire league, then Cam’s contribution to Auburn’s football prowess might well have yielded a 10-2 or 9-3 season and the sweeping of this entire issue under the rug would have gone unnoticed.

I’m just glad that it got exposed. I don’t really care if the SEC, the NCAA and blowhards like Tony Barnhart get away with pretending that this is “technically within the rules”. The important thing is that everyone now knows in their hearts that Auburn cheated again — as they always have whenever they have had a successful football season.

You Aubies can gloat and wallow in your denial to your heart’s content. It doesn’t matter. We all know the truth, and (unlike in a court of law) we don’t need to prove it to anyone “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Just knowing it is enough for me.

I did not watch the SECCG. I will not watch the Heisman Trophy presentation. I will not watch the BCSCG. I hope that like-minded fans of CFB will join me in my boycott and send a message to the money-grubbing A-holes in charge of the SEC, the NCAA and the BCS that we are fed up and we won’t put up with any more BS.

Money talks. That’s the only message that will get these folks’ attention, because that’s all that they really care about. It’s just that simple.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:30 pm

Joe Bob,

Im a Dawg and I think Cam should be the Heisman winner.I support what he and Au have done on the field.Off the field I have seen no proof of wrong doing. Save your UGA Fan remarks for the ones that you are sure are DUMB & DELUSIONAL! Im pretty sure SOME Auburn fans fit this catagory as well.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:30 pm

Perfect Storm, how do you think the Barn cheated? You think they paid?

Whatever

December 10th, 2010
12:31 pm

When Newton wins the Heisman, will UGA shutup and let this go? It will mean that, apparently, most disagree with you wanting to crucify him.

UGA fans act like they know/have the facts, which is obviously ludicrous. What is the REAL reason that you want him to be guilty?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:32 pm

Murph,

Im pretty sure SOME damn near every one of the cow violating Auburn fans fit this catagory as well.

Fixed that for you. Was that wrong of me?

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
12:33 pm

The task of deciding Cam’s eligibilty is on the NCAA, NOT the Heisman Media darling award voters. Cam is the most dominant player to come down the pike in years–and that’s an understatement. THE FATHER OF LAST YEARS WINNER WAS IN PRISON! Yeah, Cecil is an idiot but the NCAA publicly stated that Cam was eligible.

And Tony, by putting Andrew Luck at #7, you’re showing what the Heisman is all about, regional favoritism. Which brings me back to the fact tht its a stupid award anyway.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:34 pm

BAMA dude,

It appears you are correct to change my statement. Thank you sir

More Interesting info...

December 10th, 2010
12:34 pm

Steve Skelton

December 10th, 2010
12:35 pm

I could not agree more with your stance on the Cam Newton situation. I surely hope it’s not as bad as it might be. The kid seems to be a really decent person and he’s the best college football player I can remember since Barry Sanders. As far as anyone you left out, how about Andy Dalton at TCU. He’s a BIG reason why they have won SO many games over the last few years. Yes, they have an amazing defense, and Gary Patterson is a fantastic coach, but I think that QB had more to do with their success than most people realize.

Perfect Storm

December 10th, 2010
12:36 pm

@BAMA dude

I believe that they knowingly recruited and played an athlete that was ineligible. Can I prove it? No. Does that change my opinion? No.

Do you secretly agree with my belief? Probably.

DinD

December 10th, 2010
12:36 pm

“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.”

Actually they do. Tony, you apparent misunderstanding of the situation should cause you to abstain from voting. The NCAA rule is clear. Tehy found a violation of a rule. The rule does not say anything about knowledge or lack of knowledge. There is no loophole. The rule is clear and concise, which is why Auburn declared CAM NEWTON, rather than say Wes Bynum ineligible. To assert that the violation was Cecil’s is wrong – cecil was a major player involved in the violation, but the violation belongs to Cam, not Cecil.

What the NCAA has done is to take the violation and provide a nominal and inconsequential penalty. That’s fine, that is their choice. But please get your facts straight. You have consistently misrepresented what happened and it is a shame. I suppose though while you have vast football knowledge, it is unfair to expect you to understand this legal issue.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:37 pm

Steve Skelton,

Do you see TCU beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl?

THE CATHOLIC HAMMER

December 10th, 2010
12:37 pm

What happens around midnight on Monday, January 10th, 2011, when Oregon scores it’s 8th and final touchdown of the game, winning 56 to 30?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:38 pm

Perfect Storm, Auburn clearly knew about the accusations in the summer. They obviously thought he’d be cleared and they were right. I’ve made no secret about the fact that I personally think he’s guilty.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
12:39 pm

@Whatever
Re: When Newton wins the Heisman, will UGA shutup and let this go? It will mean that, apparently, most disagree with you wanting to crucify him.
UGA fans act like they know/have the facts, which is obviously ludicrous. What is the REAL reason that you want him to be guilty?

UGA fans won’t let it go–ever. I was with one last night and he said he is rooting for Oregon. Typical. UGA fans hate their rivals to the point that they always root against them–even it means making other conferences appear stronger than the SEC. They don’t realize what the SEC has done for them which is to make them relevant even in down years.

They also don’t see the difference in AJ TAKING CASH FROM AN AGENT, DEPOSITING IN HIS BANK ACCOUNT AND GETTING CAUGHT

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
12:40 pm

AJ’s deal vs speculation about someone taking money.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:41 pm

THE CATHOLIC HAMMER,

The State of Alabama will be put on suicide watch-of course the part thats on the plains.

Atlantaguy

December 10th, 2010
12:41 pm

What is not ’still under investigation’ is the fact that Cam Newton knowingly bought stolen property and turned in plagiarized work twice while at Florida. The guy is a gifted athlete, but lacks in character. He reminds me of Michael Vick. Without considering the the pay-for-play investigation I would not have voted for him.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:41 pm

Driving Ms Dooley, you’ll never catch me rooting for the Barn or the Viles. Just ain’t happening.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:42 pm

Atlantaguy, that’s a very fair viewpoint too.

MURPHY

December 10th, 2010
12:42 pm

Driving Ms Dooley,

They? You mean the one idiot you hung out with last night-NOT THEY!

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
12:44 pm

BAMA dude, I guess you are more in touch with denial.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
12:44 pm

Driving Ms Dooley, Not true on all points. Everyone at GA was mad at AJ and he got penalized heavily for it. UGA fans usually root for the SEC in bowl games but there is a backlash because of the Cam Newton pay for play scandal and we don’t want Auburn to put a bigger black eye on the SEC

Old Gold

December 10th, 2010
12:45 pm

The kid is a thief and a cheat at Florida! He does not deserve any award! Character is a main stay in these awards and the kid has none! Only a dope would vote for him!

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:46 pm

Arlo

December 10th, 2010
12:44 pm
BAMA dude, I guess you are more in touch with denial.

Just not a believer in police states. None of the other member institutions should stand for a player losing his ineligibility for this particular offense. No money changed hands, no harm, no foul.

timthebrave

December 10th, 2010
12:47 pm

Normally I would root for Auburn against Oregon but I feel like if Auburn wins they will be national champs for about 2 years until the sh** hits the fan. Normally I root for all SEC teams in bowl games because it just makes the SEC look better

SoCal Dawg

December 10th, 2010
12:48 pm

As a die hard UGA and SEC fan I hope Cam nor Auburn are guilty of any wrong doing. If they are not I hope Auburn wins the BCS and Cam wins the Heisman. With that being said If they are guilty I hope they are both exposed as cheats. I would hope that the NCAA buries Auburn and the media crucifies Cam.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
12:48 pm

@ Murphy,

just read the post on here and you’ll find plenty of haters from Georgia. Georgia fans have a chip on their shoulder. I’m a football fan. Been a Vol all my life but I appreciate when the game is played in a manner that’s exiting to watch. I respect good coaches and good players and I wan’t to see the SEC stay on top. If all of your SEC rivals go 3-9 where’s that gonna leave your team? It will be like BoysEasy State winning a sisters of the poor conference.

terry

December 10th, 2010
12:49 pm

Tony,
Emmert is a very smart person. His statement read like his was gritting his teeth putting the pen to paper. Even he knows this thing isn’t over once the truth comes out & people start talking, which always happens. People can’t keep their mouth shut, they will talk.
Regardless of what the media says/writes this story is not going away.
Every sane person knows what happened here & what Auburn did & those sane people now know it is going to get crazy as far as recruiting.
All you have to do now as a player is deny that you knew anything and the parents/associates get to laugh all the way to the bank.

Seriously?

December 10th, 2010
12:53 pm

After the BCSCG Auburn will be in Cam’s rearview mirror as he heads for the pros to make legitimate millions. When AU gets slammed with sanctions, will they still be all in drinking the cammy cam juice? Doubt it.

Don4654

December 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

When Chris Fowler asked Cam Newton if the report that he told someone at Mississippi St that “the money was too good at Auburn”was true ,why did Newton refuse to answer the question.If you are innocent wouldn’t you just say that the reports aren’t true.

Bert

December 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

Good show on ESPN tomorrow night – “PONY EXCESS!”
SMU Death Penalty documentary.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:54 pm

All you have to do now as a player is deny that you knew anything and the parents/associates get to laugh all the way to the bank.

Yep, all the way to the bank with the zero dollars they got for you.

Dr. Love

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

Newton – I did things the right way – WTF!?!?!

No punishemnt for Newton? Ludicrous

AJC says Newton best college player ever – What in the name of Herschel Walker are you talking about?

Is this season all a bad dream? I hope so.

easycharlie

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

Winning is all about money, and money is all about winning, and if the Heisman weren’t also all about winning, then they would consider good athletes on teams that weren’t necessarily in the top 10. Everthing else isn’t secondary — it’s not even in the picture.

The Truth Will Out

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

I’m personally satisfied that both Cam Newton and his Dad are low-life scoundrels and that neither Auburn, nor any other SEC school would have even considered having such an immoral person be a part of their team were it not for Cam’s outstanding athletic abilities.

Give him the Heisman — I don’t care. He’ll always be a scumbag in my book and nothing can change that. I’m just glad that I’m not an Auburn* fan who has to attempt to rationalize this BS within my own conscience. That would be almost as embarrassing as being a media talking head (cough cough) rationalizing it merely for my own best financial interests.

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

Don4654, guarantee you he said exactly what his attorney told him to say.

SEC Champs

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

I just love all the people on here regurgitating their “knowledge” about the Newton case when all they are doing is repeating talk radio rumor and innuendo. If the NCAA used the same “knowledge” as some of the posters here they’d probably have every NCAA school on probation. At this time Auburn is not under investigation. Tennessee and Oklahoma head coaches said that Cam Newton was not “shopped” to them, and that his recruitment was completely above board. Auburn has investigated (since July, 2010) and found no reason to worry about his recruitment at Auburn. This returns us to Starkville and MSU and the involvement of known sleazebag Kenny Rogers. He was the catalyst for any discussions of money I am quite sure (since everyone else is allowed to speculate and spit out supposition about what happened). When it became apparent that Cecil was going to push Cam to Auburn (um, a senior offensive line and offensive mastermind Malzhan, light years ahead of MSU and about an 90 minutes from Cam’s hometown), Kenny Rogers offered to help get Cecil paid. Cecil foolishly played along until either it went sour when Bill Bell couldn’t produce the money, or Cecil got cold feet and bolted. Either way there can be no question that Cecil displayed poor judgment, but there is zero, zilch, nada evidence, circumstantial or factual, that Auburn paid Cam to play for them.

I think Tony’s take on this is the correct one. Heisman voters are not charged with interpreting the NCAA rules as they think they should be interpreted – that’s left up to the NCAA enforcement and reinstatement divisions. They saw no evidence that Auburn or Cam played any role in any pay for play, and ruled accordingly. Should they punish a player for past sins, or because there’s some possibility that he might have done something wrong? And what of punishing Auburn when the story is really one state over in Mississippi? And before the thUGAns say “but what about AJ Green!!!!” – he got paid, by an agent. Period, end of story.

Too tough 44

December 10th, 2010
12:55 pm

Tony…i disagree with on this one…Cam knew what his dad was and is doing…thats a fact! And, I guess, you will just have to say to the fans…oh…yea, I knew something was gonna come of the scam, but, I choose to vote for him anyway….come on Tony…disappointing.

Dr. Love

December 10th, 2010
12:56 pm

hope that the NCAA buries Auburn and the media crucifies Cam.

Agree 100%

trey

December 10th, 2010
12:56 pm

Here’s an excerpt from the Heisman website:

“The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence and integrity.”

Does everyone understand the definition of integrity?

Where does a player who was involved in a stolen laptop, academic fraud (stealing essays), multiple traffic violations, and a play for pay scam fit into this definition?

He doesn’t.

So any heisman voter who ignores this very vital aspect of the history of the trophy is a moron who has no respect for the INTEGRITY for which the trophy exemplifies via its winner.

Driving Ms Dooley

December 10th, 2010
12:57 pm

Joe Schad has everyone believing that Cam is the worst kid in the world. Did anyone see the Chris Fowler interview? Their have been many players honored for all kinds of awards whose character I would question more than Cams.
I think Joe Schadd thought that this was his moment to break the big story that would win him all sorts of awards. He tried Cam in the media and ESPN let him do it. Why? Ratings. Ad dollars. It all comes back to money again and I’m not talking about Cecil this time.

If I had to rank Cams character among all the college football players I’ve been exposed to over many years, I would say that he’s easily in the top 50 percentile range.

He’s not driving a nice car or living beyond his means. And the NCAA isn’t going to find anything unless Cam calls them up and tells them that he remembers a conversation.

This guys season was phenomenal. But the Heisman stinks of regionalism just like the BCS so I really don’t care. Voting is for politics.

Uncle Ned

December 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

dawgster

December 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

I will just add that it is true that there is no proof at this time of his guilt, but if you throw out the scandal this season and base it on his past issues, the laptop at Fla, the allegations of possibly cheating, and i use the word allegations there at this point.. It would be hard to cast my vote for the award if i had knowledge of that…I agree with an earlier post regarding Tebow as a perfect example of what the award stands for…Yes you have to be good on the field, but in my opinion also how you carry yourself off the field…Whether anyone wants to admit it or not you can’t ignore some issues he had before going to Au…even without his issues this year that he may or may not be innocent of, you have to look at his record…I’m not against giving the young man another chance, anyone can make a mistake or additional mistakes and turn into a fine person, but at this point i don’t think you can ignore some of the issues he has had…With that being said i think he will win the Heisman award, but i’m wondering what the lessons that will be learned from this down the road…

The Truth Will Out

December 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

SEC Champs*

There… Fixed that for ya!

Dr. Love

December 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

offensive mastermind Malzhan

Sorry, I refuse to drink the the Gus-coolade. Didn’t they run him off from Arkansas?

BAMA dude

December 10th, 2010
12:58 pm

Driving Ms Dooley, I thought he looked like he was covering stuff up in that interview, personally.