Why Auburn can’t allow Cam to play against UGA (Updated)

On Tuesday Gene Chizik  defended Cam Newton against allegations the coach called “pure garbage” by saying the quarterback had done everything asked of him since arriving at Auburn. But now Auburn needs to ask — nay, to demand — that Newton do something difficult for all involved.

Auburn needs to tell Newton to sit out the Georgia game.

The dynamics have changed since Chizik offered his ringing defense. On Wednesday ESPN reported that two unnamed Mississippi State “recruiters” had heard both Newton and his father Cecil mention money in separate phone conversations. On Thursday Kenny Rogers told ESPN 103.3 in Dallas that the elder Newton was seeking between $100,000 and $180,000 for his son to enroll at Mississippi  State.

In nine days we’d gone from two reports that referenced the former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond as a rather distant accuser to stronger allegations that Cecil Newton himself asked for  money. And late Friday Mark Winne of Channel 2 Action News reported that Cecil Newton has admitted discussing  the possibility of getting money from MSU. (Though the elder Newton claimed no money changed hands and that both Cam Newton and Auburn are clean.)

Rogers has offered names, dates, details and demands. Rogers, who has worked for an agent who is apparently being investigated by the NFL Players Association, might not be the perfect witness, but the murky depths of NCAA violations tend not to be the realm of saints.

As yet, nothing has surfaced to tie Auburn to any player payola, but that’s no longer the issue. It can be an NCAA violation for anyone to seek money or benefits on behalf of a prospect, and now Cecil Newton has apparently admitted as much. Which means Cam Newton could be ineligible. More to the point, it means Auburn has reason to suspect he could be ineligible.

Auburn faces Georgia tomorrow. The Tigers can clinch the SEC West if they win, but there’s more at stake that a berth in the SEC championship game and the clear possibility of playing for the BCS title: There’s the reputation of a university on the line, and it’s a reputation Auburn hasn’t always gone to the wall to protect.

In 1957 Auburn went undefeated and finished No. 1 in the Associated Press poll but couldn’t grace a bowl because it was on probation. In 1993 Auburn went undefeated but was barred from a bowl appearance — and even from appearing on live TV — because it was on probation. In 2003 Auburn’s president and athletic director flew to Sellersburg, Ind., on a private jet owned by the toxic booster Bobby Lowder to meet with Louisville coach Bobby Petrino even though Auburn still had a coach in Tommy Tuberville.

According to the NCAA’s database, Auburn football has been penalized five times for major violations. (This doesn’t count JetGate, which was merely an affront to human decency.) The most recent sanctions were levied in 1993, which suggests the school has become more scrupulous in recent years. Here’s the chance for Auburn University to prove it’s more than a football program with a few classrooms as window dressing. Here’s the chance for Auburn to prove it cares more about being an institution of higher learning than it does the outcome of a given game.

Auburn has cause to doubt that Cam Newton’s recruitment was pristine. It plays Georgia on Saturday but doesn’t play again until it meets Alabama the day after Thanksgiving. That’s nearly two weeks to conduct a thorough in-house investigation, as opposed to relying on the kneejerk “Cam Newton is eligible to play at Auburn” defense. That’s enough time to get some grasp on what’s really what.

The worst thing a school can do is to allow a player of questionable eligibility to represent it. For Auburn to let Newton play against Georgia simply on faith would be to ignore the revelations of the past nine days. It doesn’t much matter if Mississippi State or Florida or the CIA or the KGB was behind these allegations; what matters is that the burden of proof — and proving that something didn’t happen is a massive burden — has fallen on Auburn.

If Newton doesn’t play against Georgia and the Bulldogs win, Auburn will have lost a football game. If Newton plays and is later found to have been ineligible, Auburn will lose much more. For the sake of his latest school, Cam Newton cannot take the field tomorrow.

1,576 comments Add your comment

rawdawg

November 12th, 2010
9:38 am

@DanWeiner

November 12th, 2010
9:42 am

If Cam Newton is ineligible he’s been ineligible all season so why does it even matter? If he sits against Georgia and is still found ineligible it’s going to wipe out everything he’s done this year so it doesn’t matter. Sitting him against Georgia isn’t going to matter. Auburn has NO choice but to play him.

Ostrich Racer

November 12th, 2010
9:42 am

At this point, Auburn is all-in. He has to play until someone drags him off the field.

juvenal

November 12th, 2010
9:44 am

scam newton…….

SmyrnaMan

November 12th, 2010
9:44 am

The longer The Barn continues to bury its head in the sand the harsher the penalty

@DanWeiner

November 12th, 2010
9:44 am

I said “matter” a lot. I’m tired.

rduck

November 12th, 2010
9:45 am

you got money on the Dawgs Mark?

Ken C.

November 12th, 2010
9:45 am

That’s Kenny Rogers with him – the guy looking like he got a bad chew.

UGABugKiller

November 12th, 2010
9:46 am

I’m sorry, Mark, but I have to call bulls–t.

This is STILL nothing but “unnamed” sources and MissyState boosters who have an axe to grind against the Newton family because they picked Auburn instead of MissyState and Dan Mullen.

They see how successful he is and they’re JEALOUS because they believe MissyState could be undefeated, too.

There is NO proof. That’s what you’re not reporting. There is NO PROOF.

The word of John Bond and Kenny Rogers DOES NOT CONSTITUTE PROOF.

This is bulls–t. It smells.

ForsythDawg

November 12th, 2010
9:46 am

The dream would be that he would play and UGA STILL wins. But that’s a dream. Hopefully this nonsense will distract their team enough to give the Dawgs an upperhand.

DawginLex

November 12th, 2010
9:46 am

He is either 0-10 or 10-0. If he plays tomorrow and against Bama, add those to whichever side of the ledger based on outcome.

Mark, you can’t put toothpaste back into a tube. This paste has run all over the counter and most has been washed down the drain.

He is in no deeper by playing the season out. If he is guilty, they are done anyway. might as well let him play.

Mark May

November 12th, 2010
9:47 am

War Scam Eagle!!

Dawg_Mike

November 12th, 2010
9:47 am

I agree. He belongs in the stands.

Jim

November 12th, 2010
9:47 am

Enter your comments here

[...] ESPN and others: NCAA looking at Cam Newton for possibly receiving extra benefits Why Auburn cannot allow Cam Newton to play against UGA | Mark Bradley [...]

Football Wife

November 12th, 2010
9:48 am

The fact that the NCAA has not launched a formal investigation up until this point, is negligent. More and more facts are coming out every day that passes. Similar situations with former players and current players, have warranted the “long arm of the NCAA law” (i.e. AJ Green, etc.).

This is just getting started, mark my words. Eventually, he will be found guilty…but will be drafted into the NFL in the Spring, and it will not matter.

misterwax

November 12th, 2010
9:48 am

I disagree, Bark! Until the entire set of (accusations) kinda/sorta facts is completely vetted by the NCAA, Auburn should keep on rolling…

Nick

November 12th, 2010
9:48 am

@DanWeiner agreed 100%. They paid him and they want to get their return on investment. I wonder how much those cam newton jerseys are selling for now.

Bob Sacamano

November 12th, 2010
9:49 am

Kenny Rogers IS the gambler.

Mark Bradley

November 12th, 2010
9:49 am

The difference: Until now, Auburn had no reason to believe a representative of Newton’s might have committed an NCAA violation; after these latest revelations, it has reason to believe such a thing might have occurred.

picassokat

November 12th, 2010
9:49 am

I agree with what you are saying but AU has nothing to lose at this point. If Newton is ruled ineligible it would wipe out their earlier 10 wins anyway. AU is going to go for it and take their chances. NCAA investigations can take months or even years and if AU did violate rules they may be convinced that they covered their tracks so well that the smoking gun will never emerge.

Tony Barnfart

November 12th, 2010
9:49 am

scam newton,,, i hope he plays!!!

Jim

November 12th, 2010
9:50 am

AU knows they are in deep trouble but they sure put a lot of effort into securing Cam that they won’t stop now. When you are going to die anyway, what does it matter if you are buried 6 ft or 8 ft?

free AJ

November 12th, 2010
9:51 am

Once again mark bradley you hit the nail on the head. Auburn fans are delusional and making excuses. At least we accepted AJ suspension and cried about it a bit but i did not see many UGA fans try to justify it. Thanks!!!Enter your comments here

Mark Bradley

November 12th, 2010
9:51 am

Oh, and kudos, rawdawg.

melvinowens

November 12th, 2010
9:51 am

what does maliccious gossip have to do wtih cam newton’s performance on the football field, even if true. the best players for both teams should suit up for this game, and cam newton happens to be the best palyer for auburn. i think he should play. let georgia win this game the old fashioned way-by earning a vicotry on the field of play, not in the media.

Mark Bradley

November 12th, 2010
9:52 am

I have no insight into this matter that the average fan does not have. I am desperate for UGA to win, just like the AJC is desperate to stay in business.

Lefty

November 12th, 2010
9:53 am

Who has the most to gain by putting all this unsubstantiated garbage out there? Right now, LSU NEEDS Georgia to beat Auburn. Boise St. & TCU can afford to wait and let Alabama do it. I say look to the home of Huey Long for answers. Louisiana politics is rough & tumble, but their football is serious business.

Tech75

November 12th, 2010
9:53 am

I don’t have a dog in this fight; but to suggest AU doesn’t have a choice is to simply ignore the fact that this is an institute of higher learning with an adjunct athletic program, and to admit that the athletic program is the tail that wags the dog.

Try this scenario on for size: Suppose Newton is found, after all is said and done, to not be perfectly clean in all this; further, that it surfaces that the AU administration (both athletic and academic, or both) had reasonable doubt that Newton was not perfectly clean, yet chose to play him anyway…

I would suggest that if the above scenario becomes reality, that there will be a lot of resignations in order at AU, and not just within the athletic administration.

So, I agree with Mark; this is something AU (as an institution) cannot afford to risk.

Scott

November 12th, 2010
9:53 am

He’s innocent until proven guilty, not guilty until proven innocent. I say play him and Go Dawgs!

danny

November 12th, 2010
9:54 am

Of course you would say sit Cam Newton. Play all the games and let things shake out of this mess. If guilty, then forfeit the season.

Question

November 12th, 2010
9:54 am

Mark, One quick question. What does Rogers get out of talking? Seems that if this is all a lie, he could be in pretty deep trouble. Could he be sued for libel (or is it slander or defamation of character)?

This whole thing sounds awfully shady. But that is the one question that has been bothering me that I haven’t ever seen asked. If you are Rogers, why talk if it never happened?

melvinowens

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

malicious, with, victory

Double Zero Eight

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

If Deal could still run for governor, Cam Newton should still be allowed to play. What a bunch of holier than thou hypocrites on all the AJC blogs. A man is suppose to be innocent until proven guilty
in America. I will be surprised if this blog is posted.

NC Dawg

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

Do you think this news will distract “Cash” Newton if he does indeed play?

Bradley(laughable)

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

Mark Bradley-

Your a joke. Laughable in every sense.
Rivals.com completely says the opposite of what you are spuing.

Enough Already

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

A couple of points to make about these so called “conversations” between Cecil and MSU:
1. If Cecil put a price tag on Cam, why would he put the range at “$100,000 – $180,000″? That’s an awfully big range. Why not just say its going to cost “$x” and be done with it?
2. Cecil is quoted as saying it’s going to cost “more than a scholarship” Everyone jumps to conclusion he is talking money, but what if he was talking about current state of program, coaching staff, poximity to Atlanta, etc?

Until we see proof, there is no reason Auburn should sit Cam.

Redneck Bill in Trailerville

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

Well, getting your butt kicked big-time on the plains on November 13 don’t hurt near as bad if you can yell “They cheated!” before the game is even played. We’re going up against a pro!

NCAA penalties matter

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

What does matter is that if he is found ineligible and they kept playing him without at least investigating it will get really bad. The NCAA will crush the Auburn program if it keeps playing a questionable eligible player. It you think what happened to Alabama on probation was bad, just wait until Auburn ignores this and is found out to be ignoring the fact they need to investigate this now!

dap01

November 12th, 2010
9:55 am

If you sleep with a dog, you get fleas. Auburn seems to be scratching alot lately!

StottsEra

November 12th, 2010
9:56 am

Ridiculous. Now whenever a team wants a player from another school to sit out, just start rumors about him. wow

jumbeauxtiger

November 12th, 2010
9:56 am

Auburn is in a tough spot. Let’s assume that school officials are not aware of any improprieties. If they pull him now and he is determined that he is indeed ineligible, then the school itself may not be facing significant sanctions. Of course any games they have won will be vacated.

However if they continue to play him and the pay for play allegations are proven and knowing what has come out thus far, then they could be facing severe penalties.

I think at this point they should not play him.

What really will be sad is if none of this is true and he sat for nothing.

Doctor Death

November 12th, 2010
9:56 am

If they continue to play him after this has come out AND he is later found ineligible, the penalties from the NCAA will be more severe. Then again, if the penalty was going to be the death penalty anyway, I guess it can’t get more severe. Maybe that’s what Auburn’s thinking here by continuing to play him?

george

November 12th, 2010
9:56 am

Mark, the university has had this info since JANUARY so why in the hell would they sit him now???? You fail to mention that the AU compliance department (which is one of the strongest in the country just ask tony barbee) has done its due diligence during the last months investigating thousands of phone records etc. It is also not 100 % if it is indeed a violation if they solicited money. There is an extreme gray area in how this rule is interpreted and quite frankly nobody has gone down this road before so nobody knows. You are also slumping to espn like journalism and need to relay all the details!!Like how Kenny rogers changed his story 180 degrees in 2 days. To sit a kid on nothing but rumors and NO FACTS AT ALL is preposterous and there is no way you can argue that. Until one just one single fact can be provided no way in hell newton should sit.

Buck

November 12th, 2010
9:57 am

I hope they don’t sit him if we win no excuses.

WesDawg

November 12th, 2010
9:57 am

There you go Mark! That’s the type of article we would’ve expected from your paper days ago if this situation had occurred at UGA. All most people want is a sense of fairness and a level playing field.

Still No Proof

November 12th, 2010
9:57 am

Mark, you didn’t know the “latest revelations” until this week, but Auburn has been investigating this for months. If they haven’t found any rules violations by now, they aren’t going to find anything. It is Cecil Newton’s word against Kenny Rodger’s. And the word of a discredited, wanna be agent isn’t enough to declare a player ineligible.

bigeasy830

November 12th, 2010
9:57 am

Auburn has everything to gain but nothing to lose. They must start the best player in the Nation. If they are found not guilty of the violations they have a great chance to win the BCS title if they go undefeated with Newton as their QB. Without Newton, no way would they be undefeated. If they are found guilty, they will be stripped of all victories anyway for having an ineligible player. It makes no difference for them now. They are in it to win it with this kid. I think the Newton recruitment was dirty, but oh well, Auburn have too much to gain, they nust play him and then let the chips fall where they may. Any possible repercussions after that fact, deal with them when the time comes.

UGAJD

November 12th, 2010
9:58 am

As a UGA fan, I want Cam to play. If the Dawgs win, I don’t want AU to have the no-Cam excuse. On the other hand, if I were an AU alum, I would be as nervous as a lobster hovering over a pot of boiling water.

SecGuy

November 12th, 2010
9:58 am

Mark, are you absolutely sure that just the offer of money is an NCAA violation without evidence of money actually changing hands? If true, it seems to me that it would be very easy for opposing schools to frame other schools.