In light of Kenny Rogers' comments yesterday, it certainly seems as if Cam Newton 's eligibility could be in question. After all, Rogers directly implicates Cam's father Cecil Newton in a plot to secure payment from Mississippi State for Cam's recruitment, and that is itself a major NCAA violation regardless of whether any money changed hands.
It's important to note, however, that Newton has not been declared ineligible by anybody, nor has the NCAA publicly recommended that Newton sit until the end of the investigation -- as North Carolina did with its 13 players and as Georgia did with A.J. Green -- to begin the season. The one change in the situation, however, is that Auburn is now refusing to comment on whether Newton's going to play this week.
Of course, if Auburn is still planning on playing Newton for the rest of the season, as Gene Chizik had insisted earlier in the week, it might not be in the Tigers' best interests to maintain that stance. After all, the more uncertainty Georgia has about Newton's status, the more Mark Richt has to prepare his team for Newton's backup, likely sophomore Barrett Trotter.
And yet, Auburn runs a serious risk of incurring more NCAA wrath than necessary if it continues to play Cam Newton in the face of major allegations. It's one thing for the Tigers to maintain no role in funneling money to Cecil Newton or his church, and that may very well end up being the case. But if the school is aware of allegations of severe misconduct by people connected to one of its players and lets that player be on the field anyway, it won't have much of a case for leniency if the NCAA concludes the allegations were legitimate. That's the type of hubris that can cost a school wins, bowl eligibility, and scholarships -- not to mention cost a head coach his job.