The clock has seemingly started on Auburn.
No more 10-month old reports. No more Mississippi State. The decision for Auburn to play Cam Newton going forward starts right now. If an Atlanta television report is true, Cecil Newton has copped to "the possibility of under-the-table" solicitation of money for his son's services at Mississippi State. However -- and this is suspiciously important -- Cecil Newton says neither his wife or son knew and no money changed hands. Auburn, the report says, did not know about the "money discussions."
At first glance this clears Cam Newton to play going forward. Anything but if you read my analysis of the NCAA rules on Friday. The NCAA says a solicitation of money for a prospective student-athlete renders him ineligible and follows him to whatever school he attends -- "generally speaking" according to an NCAA spokesman.
That's probably why you heard a no comment out of Auburn AD Jay Jacobs Friday night when asked if Newton would play. We now have three sources and Cecil Newton himself saying there was a cash offer at Mississippi State. That means an NCAA violation has occurred. Now it's up to Auburn to decide whether playing Newton will be a violation. It is likely seeking an interpretation from the NCAA. The association may render an opinion but it won't be hard and fast. Remember, this is an active investigation. There could be more information coming forward.
So this is it for Auburn if the above report is true: Play Newton and take its chances on a magic season being wiped from the books, or sit him while his eligibility is determined.
There is nothing at stake except Newton's career, the Heisman, the SEC West, the SEC and the national championship.