Nobody asked me but:
The Cameron Newton and Terrelle Pryor rulings are completely different: Since Ohio State’s Pryor has already played (and won) the Sugar Bowl and Auburn’s Newton will (probably) play in his last college football game Monday night, I’m going to make this point one last time and call it a day.
I had more than a few people from Big Ten country write and tell me that Pryor should get to play inthe Sugar Bowl because Newton got to play in the SEC championship game and beyond. It’s the same NCAA and fair is fair.
First of all, I thought Pryor played great Tuesday night. There is no question that he still has some maturity issues to work through but he is a marvelous athlete playing the quarterback position.
But, in a nutshell, here is the difference in the two rulings:
Pryor: There was a finding of FACT that he and four other Ohio State players exchanged stuff that was given to him by the school for something of value (like money and tattoos). Money did change hands. There is a clear penalty for that in the rule book: four game suspension. The NCAA tacked on another game because it happened a year ago and the players did not report it. You may think it is a stupid rule (a lot of people do) but the rule is clear. The goofy part is that the penalty starts next season, but that’s a completely different argument.
Newton: There was a finding of fact that the father, Cecil Newton, had a conversation with a former Mississippi State player (Kenny Rogers) not affiliated with the school, about the POSSIBILITY of getting paid. There was no finding that money ever changed hands. There was no finding that those kinds of discussions took place with anybody connected to Auburn.
And here is the key component. Unlike the Ohio State case, there was NOT a specific rule in the NCAA manual to deal with the Newton case. There was a lot of speculation in the conventional media and the social media that SOMETHING was going on here. But when it came time to make the decision, the only facts the NCAA had were that Cecil Newton had a conversation with Kenny Rogers and that no such conversations had taken place with anybody connected to Auburn.
Bottom line: If the NCAA could have proven that Cecil Newton had a similar conversation with somebody who had Auburn ties, the son would not be playing today. If the NCAA could have proven that Cecil Newton had taken money from somebody with Mississippi State ties, the son would not be playing Monday night. There was a helluva lot of speculation that SOMETHING took place. And I have heard from people who believe that it simply defies logic that there wasn’t more to this story.
I understand and sympathize with that point of view. But what you BELIEVE and what you can PROVE are different things. It’s a tough case.
And here’s another point. A lot of people have written that the reason Cam Newton was not punished was that he did not know what his father was up to. In retrospect the NCAA should have not included that factor because it only clouds its ruling. The fact that Cam Newton did not know was a MITIGATING factor but not a DECIDING factor in the ruling. There is a big difference.
The NCAA could not sit Cameron Newton because it did not have a specific rule to address this specific case. That’s it. I feel confident in saying that there will be such a rule in the future.
I hope that settles it but I have a feeling this case will never be settled.
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“Barnhart and Durham:” Wes Durham and I are back in the 790 The Zone studio today starting at 10 a.m. We’ll break down the latest coaching changes, including the Rich Rodriguez firing at Michigan. We’ll also look back to Mark Richt’s presser conference on Wednesday and how Georgia will move forward. Please join us. www.790thezone.com.