Stop whining: NCAA got it right on Cam Newton, Auburn

Cam Newton can go ahead of celebrate. He and Auburn are in the clear.

Cam Newton can go ahead of celebrate. The NCAA ruled that he and Auburn are in the clear.

Let me start this by declaring that I’m as cynical as the next person — OK, perhaps a little more — and I’m absolutely convinced there was a second gunman in the grassy knoll and there’s something about Area 51 that the government is not telling us.

But listen up: The NCAA got it right.

It could not suspend Cam Newton based on he whispered/he whispered.

It could not place Auburn on probation based on the fact the father of its star player admitted that he solicited money from ANOTHER school.

It could not significantly punish any athlete or institution based on what we all THINK must have happened simply  because that’s what our suspicious mind tells us.

This whole saga has been one of the strangest NCAA investigations I can remember, in part because the athlete’s current school (Auburn) never was even connected to the allegations.

I know. Our head tells us: It’s Auburn. It’s the SEC. It’s big-time college football with big-time shenanigans. We’ve been exposed to so much of it in the past that we’ve come to believe that every player, coach, administrator and booster have been have been tainted. This story is even better than most because it involved a father allegedly pimping his kid . . . and he’s a minister!

At some point, you expected a Kardashian to show up on Toomers Corner.

But take a breath and, just for a moment, follow me through the levels of this thing. Then I’ll address why I don’t believe this can be compared to other recent cases, including the one at USC and A.J. Green’s suspension:

Question: Did Cecil Newton, Cam’s father, solicit money from Mississippi State for his son’s services? Answer: Yes. INFRACTION.

Question: Did Cam Newton know his father solicited an offer? Answer: Based on a lack of evidence, no. (If you want to assume otherwise, fine. But let’s just say I’m aware of situations where children did not know of things their parents did. Whether you consider that a longshot or not, the bottom line is that it can’t be proven.)

Question: Did Cecil Newton receive money? Answer: Based on a lack of  evidence, no.

Question: Did Cam Newton receive money? Answer: Based on a lack of  evidence, no.

Question: Did Cam or Cecil Newton solicit an offer from Auburn? Answer: Based on a lack of evidence, no.

Question: Did Cam or Cecil Newton receive money from Auburn. Answer: Based on a lack of evidence, no.

That’s it. There’s nothing else.

Now, should the NCAA continue to investigate this thing and discover that somebody in the Auburn athletic department or a big-bucks booster slipped a fat envelope under Cam’s door or paid for new floors and sheetrock in Cecil’s new church, then all bets are off.

But that’s not where we are right now.

Now, as for comparing Newton to other cases, I’ve been hearing from USC and Georgia fans all day and night and reading comments on line from various stunned officials, including USC athletic director Pat Haden. But this case is so not those cases. Consider:

♦ Newton vs. USC: Really? Fact: Reggie Bush’s parents  received thousands of dollars in benefits from an agent. They lived in a home rent-free for one year. A USC assistant coach, Todd McNair, was tied directly to the case when the NCAA ruled he had knowledge of Bush’s dealings with agents. For whiny Trojan fans to be comparing their case to the Cam Newton case is completely nonsensical.

♦ Newton vs. A.J. Green: Really? Fact: Green sold his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000. That’s a violation, even if he sold it to you. The fact that he sold to a person that the NCAA classified as an agent increased the suspension to four games. (Best estimate: It would’ve been two games otherwise.) It has not been found that Cam and Cecil Newton received anything (or sold his Blinn Community College jersey).

♦ Newton vs. Damon Stoudamire: This is a very similar case, as laid out by SportsByBrooks, in which the father of the former Arizona basketball star was accused by the NCAA of accepting a plane ticket from an agent in 1995. Stoudamire denied knowing about his father’s alleged transaction. The father denied taking the ticket. The NCAA suspended the player for a game, then reinstated him just before the NCAA tournament. But here’s where the cases go in different directions. The agent in question, Steve Feldman, ultimately admitted he gave airplane tickets to Stoudamire’s father. The father had to reiumburse him. The NCAA believed to other penalty was warranted. Coversely, there is no paper trail or evidence of any kind in the Newton case.

Some believe the NCAA has opened a giant loophole with this ruling — the thinking being that now every dad can go out and pimp his kid to universities, then just claim the kid knew nothing about it. The only problem with that theory is — again — Cecil Newton was not found to have taken anything.

If a father puts his son up for bidding and actually accepts a payment, effectively closing the deal, it really doesn’t matter whether the son knew or not. The athlete is ineligible. It’s like saying you want to rob a bank without ever doing it.

So enough with the NCAA bashing. They got it right. You can’t convict on conjecture.

Recent episodes . . .

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Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

1,356 comments Add your comment

Dawg_Mike

December 1st, 2010
8:13 pm

NCAA did not want their precious BCS Cartel blown up, so this was a way-to-quick decision based on AU being undefeated.
If TCU wasn’t waiting in the wings to blow it up Cam would be ineligible.

Opens a huge can of you-know-what for anyone in the future to shop their kids.

unreal.

reebok

December 1st, 2010
8:13 pm

aw. where’s the fun in that???

Dawg_Mike

December 1st, 2010
8:14 pm

Oh, and I’m not bitter. AU beat us like a drum. I am not whining. the SEC and NCAA are complicit in this mess.

hbcuclassics

December 1st, 2010
8:15 pm

Black Power Poll TM

Week 11 2010

1. Bethune (14)
2. S. Carolina St (12)
3. Albany St (5)
4. FAMU
5. Texas Southern
6. Grambling (23)
7. FVSU (22)
8. Tuskegee
9. Morehouse (23)
10. Shaw (25)

(#) – Top 25 Ranking Coaches Polls, FCS, AFCA

http://www.hbcuclassics.com

Did then enforce their own rules?

December 1st, 2010
8:16 pm

Clearly the answer is NO, Jeff. Infractions… yes… enforcement No. How about some good investigative reporting from an AJC employee?

Every mom, dad, sister, brother, guardian in the land is no free to request payment to the schools… if you can’t see this, you are blind.

Bull

December 1st, 2010
8:18 pm

Jeff Shultz, you should quit writing. You want to speculate about everything else, why point to facts (or lack thereof) and act like you’re taking the highroad. Nothing you write measures up.

Tom

December 1st, 2010
8:18 pm

Very simple what happened here.

1. A violation at Miss State occurred with Cam’s father.
2. This violation was proven and discovered.
3. This violation caused his ineligibility ruling on Monday.
4. Auburn then immediately appealed for reinstatement because the by law has wording in there that would suggest that Cam or Auburn needed to know about it.
5. NCAA clears Cam because there is no evidence whatsoever that Cam or Auburn knew about it.

That’s all folks. It was just great lawyer work by Auburn. Prove it. That’s what Auburn is saying. There is no precedent in this case. It is nothing like the Reggie Bush case. You simply cannot punish Auburn or Cam for something that happened at another school, even if it was from his dad. People say this causes a loophole that allows for family members to get money as long as the athlete pleads ignorance. Well, maybe true, but the way it is now isn’t fair either. Currently, my drunk uncle who I may not even know very well could pull a Kenny Rogers and totally screw my eligibility. Works both ways people. Keep wishing. This case is over. Just a matter of time. They have nothing. WAR EAGLE.

Cam-A-Lot

December 1st, 2010
8:19 pm

Great article…If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

Chris

December 1st, 2010
8:19 pm

What this does to the credibility of the NCAA is off the charts!!!! This is a ridiculously huge precedent they have set…

Earlier in the year the NCAA was all about flexing its muscles about kids going to parties, extra benefits… investigations STILL ongoing. But now this? Its a joke

G

December 1st, 2010
8:19 pm

Shultz… It’s funny how you are chastising people for complaining about whether or not the NCAA got it right but you openly criticize just about every disciplinary decision Mark Richt makes or does not make and I wonder if you ever have all the evidence… Not surprised just humored by it.

Jeff Schultz

December 1st, 2010
8:20 pm

Dawg_Mike– Like I wrote, dads can shop kids all they want. But take a nickel and all bets are off. That’s why I find that whole “loophole” thing bogus.

Senator Grassley

December 1st, 2010
8:20 pm

The U.S. Senate will get to the bottom of this.

Jeff Schultz

December 1st, 2010
8:21 pm

HBCUClassics — Thanks for clearing that up. I was just debating with somebody today on whether Tuskegee would be ahead of Morehouse. Oy.

Paul in RDU

December 1st, 2010
8:21 pm

Jeff – Good, well thought out blog – I agree with you. As the NCAA said in the press release: “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, which led to his reinstatement.”
If the NCAA does get evidence that Auburn knew about Cecil shopping Cam around then they are in trouble.

The Blair Miss Project

December 1st, 2010
8:23 pm

<—————- WIDE LEFT <——————–

(((((42-34)))))
9-1
61-39-5
We STILL Run This State!!!!

Cam is a PUNK

December 1st, 2010
8:23 pm

Stolen property… check
Cheating… check, check, and check
Dad solicits money from AT LEAST one SEC school… check (by the way, why would any person solicit from one but not others)
Cam’s narcisistic self is shown weekly and applauded by school, media, and fans… check, check, check

Cam is a future V. Young or Michael Vick…

Chris

December 1st, 2010
8:23 pm

I don’t think anyone is mad at Cam. I’m happy he’s cleared and that his father was found to be in the wrong. However, I’m perplexed byt the NCAA and its constant lack of inconsistency. Wasn’t Enes Kanter from Kentucky in a similar situation? His father turned down millions so his son could play ball and he thought he was doing the right thing. It’s a shame he got punished. How is anyone in major college athletics supposed to memorize a 400-page (outdated) book on the rules of college athletics? NCAA=FAIL…

Bull

December 1st, 2010
8:24 pm

Schultz you are a flaming hypocrite. Auburn did it’s OWN investigation into this matter, so it’s not surprising.

You should do like Cam and claim ignorance

Jeff Schultz

December 1st, 2010
8:24 pm

G — Whatever dude.

The Blair Miss Project

December 1st, 2010
8:24 pm

<————— WIDE LEFT <———————–

My BIGGEST wish of the next month and a half or so are that Cam declares himself for the NFL Draft.

I do not think I could handle an entire offseason and another season with him being the center of the NCAA Controversy Universe.

He is bad for the College Football, and bad for the SEC.

Dawg_Mike

December 1st, 2010
8:24 pm

How do we know Cecil didnt get paid? The mere fact he asked for the $ is an infraction.
What about Cam saying the money was too much ?..he knew…

Jeff Schultz

December 1st, 2010
8:25 pm

Paul in RDU — Thanks. The NCAA is not shy about busting cases. If they can find evidence in Auburn, you know they’d love nothing more than to bust ‘em.

Ozzy

December 1st, 2010
8:25 pm

OK hbcuclassics, we see your post after every article.

Nobody but you gives a rip evidently.

Jeff Schultz

December 1st, 2010
8:26 pm

Bob — What? What does Auburn’s investigation have to do with NCAA? You lost me.

GaBlue

December 1st, 2010
8:26 pm

Yayyyy! NOW can we just enjoy the inherent beauty of watching a talented young man play the game we LOVE?

The Blair Miss Project

December 1st, 2010
8:27 pm

<———– WIDE LEFT <—————

If it looks like a pile of poo…… and it smells like a pile of poo…….

It JUST MAY BE a pile of poo.

Jeff Schultz

December 1st, 2010
8:27 pm

GaBlue — I was hoping you’d stop by.

Capt Bob

December 1st, 2010
8:27 pm

The NCAA knew about this months ago! They knew about it before the Ga. Game and apparently came to Auburn with the info then….why did they wait till now to make the ruling that Newton is only ineligible on Tuesday and reinstated Wednesday? To take the pressure off Auburn? To preserve the BCS Championship game? Tell me that it’s not about the money.

dawg4life

December 1st, 2010
8:29 pm

hello num-nuts, here are the bylaws from NCAA…

“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.”

And where does Cam not fit in that category???

Jeff... a little research may help

December 1st, 2010
8:29 pm

NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship … the whole purpose for this was to keep reps from doing this…

The Blair Miss Project

December 1st, 2010
8:30 pm

<————– WIDE LEFT <—————-

G,

Don't know you that JEff never drank in college. According to him (and Tech fans), the crimes committed by the UGA footballers like: underage drinking, not having a middle name, possesing fireworks, suspended driver's license, not reporting an accident, emerging from an alley on a scooter, and not paying a speeding ticket, should be punishable by DEATH!!!!

Just a thought from a nobody

December 1st, 2010
8:30 pm

The problem is, when (or if) Auburn wins the National Championship. It will always carry an unofficial asterisk next to it. Much like Barry Bonds home run record. We all know (except Auburn fans) that rules where broken. So if they win it all, everyone in America will not acknowledge it. It does not mean they will not be Champions. It just means that we all are 90% sure how they won.

Auburn Fan

December 1st, 2010
8:31 pm

UGA and Bama fans simultaneously exploded at exactly 2:23 today.

"Chef" Tim Dix

December 1st, 2010
8:31 pm

I’ll sell you the “first” spot for $150K…

Auburn Fan

December 1st, 2010
8:31 pm

“It will always carry an unofficial asterisk next to it.”

No they won’t because the NCAA ruled Cam eligible and Auburn free and clear.

Get over yourself.

Bull

December 1st, 2010
8:31 pm

Much more in this case will come out once the FBI can release documents. There is way more to this than trying to bust Cam Newton for taking money. Anyone around the Auburn program knows that many of the AU boosters involved in the Racino and Colonial Bank fiasco have illegal gambling ties to many of Auburns recruits. The FBI could care less about Cam’s eligibilty. They are the only ones that can have subpoena powers for financial records. The money to Cam’s dad is already suspected to have run through the family’s uncle up north.

dawg4life

December 1st, 2010
8:32 pm

….and one more thing….

You think it’s right for a parent to “shop” their kid with the “talks” of money being involved?
Man, all time low for you Schultz .

JK Sockey

December 1st, 2010
8:33 pm

JS, the only Cam worth writing about is Cam Neely…

Auburn Fan

December 1st, 2010
8:33 pm

“Much more in this case will come out once the FBI can release documents.”

I’m assuming that you read tigerdroppings. LOL

Goldbringer

December 1st, 2010
8:34 pm

The people still complaining about this are dawg fans who are still just ticked off about losing. Get over it.

Good Lawyering Aubie!!!

December 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

Jeff:

The NCAA bylaws prohit soliciting, not just accepting, money. Cam’s dad’s intent was to get the money. The loophole is this: ask everyone who recruits your son; have them pay in cash; get a safe deposit box, which doesn’t have a ledger, to hide your cash; pay in cash when you spend it; and deny your son knew anything about it. Even if a coach who lost the recruiting battle turns you in, and even if you admit to asking for money for your son’s services, all you have to do is say that your son knew anything about it. Then, don’t let the NCAA see inside the safe deposit box. LOOPHOLE: just say the son didn’t know. The violating institution isn’t going to talk. Your son isn’t going to talk. And you aren’t going to talk. You can, however, laugh all the way to the safe deposit box. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to call Mrs. Green about some of her son’s jerseys. Please don’t tell him.

The Blair Miss Project

December 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

<———- WIDE LEFT <—————

Jeff is a Hypocrite.

Didn't Jeff Schultz's father shop him around as soon as he passed the 8th grade English exam making him eligible to write for the AJC???

Mike

December 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

What about this SEC By-law
14.01.3.2 Financial Aid.
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.

Is Cecil Newton Cam Newton’s father?
Did Cecil Newton ask Mississippi State for money?

If the answer to the above two questions is Yes, then Cam Newton is ineligible to play at any SEC School

It is time for Mike Slive and the SEC to step in, but you know they won’t because they want to payout of the BCS National Championship. I would not be surprised if the SEC enforces this rule after the title game citing the finding of additional evidence, but it has already been proven that this by-law has been broken.

Ryno

December 1st, 2010
8:35 pm

Dawg4life nailed it. It doesn’t matter that Cam allegedly didn’t know (yeah, right). His dad shopped him, so he’s ineligible by the NCAA’s own rules. End of story.
Unless he’s due to play in the SECCG and with a win, the NC game, then everybody with money to lose looks the other way. The ruling ruins the game forever, even if/when they actually investigate all the claims from Miss St.
As unlikely as it is that Cam didn’t know about it, as unlikely as it is that no money changed hands to rebuild a shabby church, and as unlikely as it is that all the facts were checked out, it doesn’t matter. His dad shopped him around, so he’s supposed to be ineligible. End of story.

Paul in RDU

December 1st, 2010
8:36 pm

One thing that is interesting in all this mess is the difference in behavior of Auburn compared to UNC, UGA and USC.
The other schools sat out players while waiting for an NCAA ruling (1/2 the team in the case of UNC) just to avoid the possibility of being in violation of the rules. Auburn appears to have gone “all in”. I hope for their sakes that they didn’t know about the behavior of the Preacher Man.

Jeff

December 1st, 2010
8:36 pm

Wonder why you did not use Renardo Sidney as an example???? Is it because they protect those that make huge $$ for the SEC and NCAA!!

Joe

December 1st, 2010
8:36 pm

“Yayyyy! NOW can we just enjoy the inherent beauty of watching a talented young man play the game we LOVE?”

No, we’ll have to watch a scumbag who has been charged with a felony for stolen laptops act like a damn fool with his “look at me, aren’t I great” routine. Considering his cheating and his criminal record, you’d think he’d look up the definition of humility and show some.

UGA79

December 1st, 2010
8:37 pm

SEC Bylaw Section 14.01.3.2 dealing with Financial Aid states:

“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.

[...] demands only to find out the bank vault was empty. Are you gonna tell me no crime was committed?! Stop whining: NCAA got it right on Cam Newton, Auburn | Jeff Schultz __________________ Roll Tide [...]

Dawg Now

December 1st, 2010
8:37 pm

Auburns SEC title—bought and paid for. Thanks to the boosters paying cam and his dad $200,000—auburn gets the player and gets the wins! Money talks on the plains baby!!! Auburn’s ROI—very high. Great ‘investment’ by the eagles. But, oregon will beat auburn easy—mark it down.