Blog Entry

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:33 pm
There are now at least three people on the record saying they have knowledge of Cecil Newton soliciting money for his son Cameron to attend Mississippi State.

There is a lot of stuff out there right now about Newton being ineligible at the moment at Auburn. Not entirely true, according to information received Friday from the NCAA.

My question to the NCAA: If a person related to a prospective student-athlete solicits money for that student-athlete at a certain school then that student-athlete is ineligible. Is that true no matter where he signs?

This e-mail came back from NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn: Generally speaking, eligibility issues are tied to the student-athlete, not the school. So if a student-athlete is ineligible at one school and then transfers to a second school, the school the student-athlete transferred to would need to seek reinstatement.

I then reiterated my question saying a "prospective" student-athlete -- in other words a recruit -- not a "transfer".

Osburn came back with: Correct.

USA Today
got much the same response when it asked a similar question of Osburn.

In Friday's editions the paper stated, "Even if Newton received no money to attend Auburn, soliciting money can be an NCAA violation jeopardizing Newton's eligibility."

To me, all this means that Cam Newton isn't a slam dunk to be found ineligible at Auburn as some seem to think at this point. It doesn't look good, I'll give you that, but consider the Albert Means case. The former five-star Memphis prospect was being shopped around by his high school coach Lynn Lang. Means committed to Alabama, but ended up playing at Memphis. I suspect the fact that it was his coach and not a family member, that was a mitigating circumstance.

In this case ...  

1) First, it has to be proven that Newton's father was asking for money at Mississippi State. We're not there yet but as mentioned, at least three folks say he did.

2) Second, it has be determined whether Cecil Newton asked anyone at Auburn for money. If he did, whether Cameron knew or not, that pretty much seals the deal.

3) If Cecil Newton didn't ask Auburn, then we're back to Osburn's "generally speaking" response that the eligibility issues would be tied to the student-athlete. In other words, Newton could be ineligible at Auburn but it is not certain.

Here is the NCAA bylaw (10.1 unethical conduct) that seems to govern this situation ...

Unethical conduct by a prospective or enrolled student-athlete or a current or former institutional staff member
(e.g., coach, professor, tutor, teaching assistant, student manager, student trainer) may include, but is not limited
to, the following: 
(a) Refusal to furnish information relevant to an investigation of a possible violation of an NCAA regulation
when requested to do so by the NCAA or the individual’s institution;
(b) Knowing involvement in arranging for fraudulent academic credit or false transcripts for a prospective or an
enrolled student-athlete;
(c) Knowing involvement in offering or providing a prospective or an enrolled student-athlete an improper inducement
or extra benefit or improper financial aid; (Revised: 1/9/96)
(d) Knowingly furnishing or knowingly influencing others to furnish the NCAA or the individual’s institution false or misleading information ...
Violations of 10.1 are enforced as follows:
10.4 Disciplinary Action
Prospective or enrolled student-athletes found in violation of the provisions of this regulation shall be ineligible
for further intercollegiate competition, subject to appeal to the Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement for
restoration of eligibility.

Obviously, Auburn is comfortable enough to put the quarterback on the field. Auburn coach Gene Chizik said this week that Newton will start against Georgia.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Jul 20, 2008
Posted on: November 12, 2010 4:37 pm

As long as it stays JUST Mississippi State Alumni

and supporters making these statements,  nothing will ever happen in this case.  There are too many stories changed and absolutely no solid proof anything took place to make Newton ineligible.  Miss. St. with plenty reason to be angry at him for standing them up, are the ONLY school that says the Newton's did ANYTHING wrong in their recruitment.  Too fishy to stick, sounds like to me.  Any way you look at it, Auburn has no reason to stop playing Newton now, that's for sure. 

Since: Nov 12, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2010 4:27 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

Excellent article.  We may be nearing a point where you can say there is credible evidence that Cecil Newton was shopping his son at Mississippi State.  But I don't think we are anywhere near the point where we can say credible evidence has emerged that Cam Newton knew his father was doing it.  You can speculate all day that he "must have known" what his father was doing but that is not enough.   Therefore, per the rule Dennis Dodd has quoted, which requires a finding that Cam knew what was happening, it would be flat out legally wrong, to say nothing of unfair, for Auburn to declare that he is ineligible at this point.  I would even think that Auburn would be opening itself up to a lawsuit if it.  You have to remember that declaring Cam ineligible is the death knell to his college career and Heisman hopes.  (A petition to the NCAA for reinstatement couldn't possibly be acted on in this case until well after this season has concluded.)  In sum, unless there is something Auburn knows about (such as something the NCAA investigators have told Auburn about) that hasn't come out so far, Auburn should not declare him ineligible.

By the way, I'm an Alabama fan, not an Auburn.

Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: November 12, 2010 4:11 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

At what point does Nancy Grace take this story and air it 24/7 on the "hang 'em before the trial" channel?

Since: Aug 24, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:48 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

The question in the conversation was clear, but the answer was not in keeping with the Unethical Conduct rule.  Parts a, b & d do not apply.  Part c talks about involvement in offering improper inducement by staff to a recruit or enrolled student.  There is nothing about the student or his agent seeking improper inducement, as is alleged to have occured in the Newton case.  Therefore, he is not in violation of any NCAA rule.  Doubtless he is not in violation of any Auburn University rule.  Obviously under the circumstances, an offer was made by the agent to MSU staff, but no deal was made.  Almost certainly some such offer was discussed between agent and Auburn staff.  We know Cam wanted to play at MSU, so if no money was given, he would have gone to MSU, instead of Auburn.  Obviously, one or more Auburn staff members are central to this issue, but actual evidence supporting improper inducements is missing.  The prior record at Florida, possession of stolen merchandise, obstruction of justice, classroom cheating and repeated motor vehicle violations reflect poor behaviour and represent a character disorder, but do not disqualify anyone from playing football.  The Heisman award is not even worth discussing.              

Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:47 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

"There is no verbiage in the NCAA's rules that preclude asking for money"

I'm pretty sure that you will find asking for money is covered by the part of the rule that states "but is not limited to", assuming that there isn't another part of the bylaws that covers it directly. There is no way that asking for money would be considered OK by the NCAA.

Since: Nov 12, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:39 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

Oh my God, this is tooooo funny. Why the hell would Auburn sit Cam Newton at this point? If he's proven to be ineligible, they risk forfeiting wins, sec championship, or National title for playing as long as he has already this season. Bammers need to chill out with all of this. NOBODY IS LISTENING TO YOU!!! YOU'RE ONLY LISTENING TO YOURSELVES!!! The people closest to this situation know what they need to know and we don't and anything else you hear is exactly that "hear say" that gone through several layers of human hands and ears by the time it reaches yours. I'm not saying Cam Newton or his father or Auburn is innocent. But, they are however, all innocent until proven guilty. The NCAA will advise Auburn to sit Cam Newton if they feel they are close to deeming him ineligible. No one has done that yet. As for on the field matters, I feel no team in the country can beat Auburn right now if Cam is on the field. You can deny it if you want to, but fact is he is the best athlete to step on a college football field in a long time.... maybe since Herschel Walker. If he stays eligible Auburn will go all the way to Glendale and end the season in a shootout with Oregon. Oh yeah and lets not all be so naive as to bleieve that Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, and 80 or 90 percent of the other division one schools in the country don't commit NCAA infractions on a regular basis. If Auburn did pay Cam or his father, I think he's a hell of a deal at 200 grand. Hell Alabama paid 250,000 for Means and he never even played a down! WAR EAGLE!

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:35 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

Sorry everyone for the big text -- user error.   SaltyDogz

Since: Jul 22, 2010
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:33 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

Auburn09, As you seem to be an Auburn fan, I don't blame your wishful thinking.  However, it's obviously not that simple.  As we say in the south, "there's more meat left on that bone" than your childish haha.  I have friends at both schools, and my Bama friends hope Cam is ruled eligible so they can face Auburn at their best. 

IMO, Miss State should be getting more plaudits for doing the right thing, but most of the attention seems to be going to Cam and AU.  I understand why, but I'm just saying..... 

Since: Apr 3, 2007
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:30 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

this article is a waste of time.  clearly from the rule that was cited that if there was an NCAA violation, Newton is ineligible regardless of school.  that makes the main point of the article ridiculous.  secondly, the rule cited in this article isn't even the right rule.  ESPN cited to the correct rule on sportscenter today.  it is the rule dealing with the "soliciting of money by a student athlete or a person acting on their behalf."  CBS has the wrong rule.

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: November 12, 2010 3:22 pm

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

pstrjohn - Or should I call you Pastor Cecil?  You become a CBS Sportsline member just for this Newton story, and you have been the most outspoken apologist for Auburn and Cam, even as more reports of wrongdoing come to light.  I'm actually on the side of "innocent until proven guilty" and don't know if we've got all the facts yet, so I'm not ready to banish him from the league.  However, the fact that you have come on this website and have done nothing but criticize everyone outside of the Newton family and Auburn University makes me think that you have something more at stake???  Curious...

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