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The Cam Newton Saga: What, Me Worry?

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Nov 23rd, 2010

By Johnny Smith (Auburn Writer)

Cameron NewtonLet me say upfront that this isn’t your typical Cam Newton story. I’m not going to make any new allegations, though it has been reported that an unknown source stated that they saw Cam Newton slipping on a Georgia sweatshirt and hood, just before an unidentified Georgia fan tried to set the Auburn campus on fire. I’m just saying…

No. What I would like to do is answer some of the “concerns” that some rival fans seem to have for Auburn, Cam Newton and the Auburn program. Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that these allegations are true. After all, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Just ask that anonymous Georgia arsonist.

Let me jump right to the most severe of these concerns, that Auburn will “get the death penalty”. Even though it is still on the books, it is pretty much an accepted belief that no school will ever again get the death penalty. The death penalty was supposed to be an extreme measure to assure that the program that received it would straighten up their act. However, what the death penalty did to SMU was far worse than the NCAA could ever imagine. It totally decimated the program, and decades later it still hasn’t recovered. Aside from that fact, the death penalty was designed for repeat offenders. The only team that is even eligible for the death penalty would be a team that is currently on probation. Since Auburn isn’t currently on probation, they aren’t even eligible for the death penalty.

The second concern that I want to talk about is Auburn going on probation. There are currently no allegations concerning Auburn’s recruitment of Cam Newton. The only allegations are that Cecil Newton asked a former Mississippi State player for money. If proven true, this would make Cam Newton ineligible to play football… at Mississippi State. There isn’t a rule on the book that would make him ineligible to play at any other school. As Auburn Coach Gene Chizik has stated. “Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn Universtiy. Period. End of story.”

The FBI, NCAA, SEC and Auburn Compliance Department have all seen Cecil Newton’s financial statements, and those of the church that he heads. There has been nothing that is out of the ordinary, and the NCAA has met with Auburn twice, and has not suggested that he might be ineligible in either meeting. In fact, Auburn University had access to Cecil Newton’s records long before Cam Newton ever took his first snap in an Auburn uniform. I don’t believe for a second that any of you actually think Auburn would play Cam Newton, and risk probation or sanctions, if they thought there was something that Auburn University, or Newton himself, had done in violation of NCAA rules.

The last concern that I want to address is that Auburn may have to vacate all of their wins, and the SEC and BCS Championships, if they win them. Again, there is no NCAA rule that makes Cam Newton ineligible at any school other than Mississippi State, if the allegations of his father asking them for money proves true. There is some language about amateurism and ethical conduct during the recruiting process, and some people believe that langauage could be interpreted as a violation, but it is highly unlikely that it would be, unless it was proven that Cam Newton knew his father had shopped his services around. So far, the only team that recruited him that has even made an accusation is Mississippi State, and those accusations are from former football players, not from an actual representative of the school. In an interview for ESPN, former NCAA compliance officer David Ridpath has stated that Auburn was right to play Cam Newton, and that even if the current allegations prove to be true, he doesn’t think there’s enough there to warrant any action against Auburn from the NCAA.

The NCAA taking away championships on such an obscure interpretation of the rule book would be akin to giving a pedestrian the death penalty for a family member having jaywalked in another city.

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ESPN should read this. One thing I'm not sure about is the "he is only ineligible at Mississippi State" part. I've heard there are different interpretations of the rule and have heard many cases back and forth. He's stating it as simple fact and Im not sure it will be that easy. Other than that, great post.

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ESPN should read this. One thing I'm not sure about is the "he is only ineligible at Mississippi State" part. I've heard there are different interpretations of the rule and have heard many cases back and forth. He's stating it as simple fact and Im not sure it will be that easy. Other than that, great post.

That is exactly what the rule says. he would only be ineligible at the institution where the infraction occurred. He could declared ineligible for losing his amateur ststus if it was ever proven he received any money. That didn`t happen.

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