Blog Entry

Inside Cam's eligibility

Posted on: December 1, 2010 4:44 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 5:20 pm

Did the NCAA do Mike Slive a favor?

Certainly, tacitly.

Start with the timing of Wednesday's announcement that Cam Newton had been reinstated by the NCAA and was eligible to play. Curiously, it came three days before the SEC championship putting a nice, neat bow on a slimy case that had been ongoing for a month. It helps everyone -- Auburn, the NCAA and the SEC -- that this case is "resolved" before the biggest TV show on the SEC calendar.

The obvious attempt at a publicity grab helps everyone who was in line to be helped. The NCAA was being criticized for dragging its feet. There was a perception that Auburn was a rogue operation. The SEC and Slive, the commissioner, was taking heat for what it knew and when in the Cam case. Mississippi State is the whistle blower. Folks were starting to write how they would not vote Newton for Heisman. CBS couldn't help but mentioning the case on its telecasts.

"Honestly, it is a major story in college football and has to be covered fully," Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, said this week.

There was, then, lingering embarrassment all around. That's why this was a bit of a grandstand move and, to me, still an unresolved case. 

"There are hundreds of cases each year where schools go to the NCAA an self-report a violation," said a source with intimate knowledge of the NCAA process. "If nobody knows about it, the NCAA reinstates the athlete and they don't make announcements. It's obviously because this was high profile and they want to try and put this thing to rest."

"It is interesting," said Doug Zeit, attorney for former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers who was part of Wednesday's NCAA statement, "[this happened] three days before the championship."

We got our Cam back. We got our villain, his father Cecil. We got our co-conspirator. The NCAA said Cecil collaborated Rogers in a "pay-for-play scenario." The NCAA doesn't actually use names but when Slive added his own admonishment we knew who everyone was talking about.

"The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics," Slive said.

The NCAA cited a bylaw that applied to the case (12.3.3). It states that, "Any individual, agency or organization that represents a prospective student-athlete for compensation in placing the prospective student-athlete in a collegiate institution [getting] financial aid shall be considered an agent ..."

That seems to label Cecil who now will have limited access to Auburn athletics. What that means no one seems to know. Maybe Cecil can't become a financial advisor within 100 feet of Jordan-Hare Stadium. But what about Cam reportedly telling a Mississippi State recruiter that "the money was too much" at Auburn? Wednesday's release seems to let Auburn off the hook, but you have to read between the lines. Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs said, " ... at this time we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity ..." (Emphasis added).

That should tell you the case is not over, but for the purposes of Saturday's SEC championship game it's game on. As for the bowl game? Check back with the NCAA later. This story isn't going to die after Saturday.

The bylaw (12.3.3) seems to clears up the NCAA interpretation of this case. A couple of weeks ago a lot of us were breathless over the apparent NCAA bylaw that applied to this case. It turns out the case probably revealed a gap in NCAA legislation. In essence, the NCAA had to find a bylaw that best fit the "crime," -- a parent soliciting money for his son's services without the son's knowledge.

However, the NCAA concluded that neither "Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to this reinstatement."

"I think the NCAA is trying to say, 'We found a violation so we're going to put this on the father and Kenny Rogers because they were acting as agents," the source said. "The violation occurs when the prospect agrees to be represented by them. [Cam] didn't know anything about it. My argument would be there hasn't been a violation here."

On that confusing basis, Newton was allowed to regain his eligibility. It also gives the deniability excuse to any kid who is ever shopped by his parents, uncle or handler. That's why the NCAA is working hard as I type on a new bylaw to close this loophole.

This story started with Rogers who apparently will not go quietly. Rogers, who runs a scouting service in Chicago, was reported to have sought $180,000-$200,000 from Mississippi State for Cam's services. The school on Wednesday "disassociated" Rogers. However, Rogers was not found to have been a representative of the university's athletic interests in the letter sent to him by the school. So what exactly did Rogers do wrong? 

"This is like a knife in his heart," Zeit said. "This is his alma mater. For them to suggest this is beyond the pale but not surprising ... He never solicited any money. That is patently false."

Zeit said Rogers will consider his legal options including defamation suits against "media outlets" and "people from Mississippi State."

Another reason to believe this isn't over: Check this second-to-the-last sentence in Wednesday's release -- The reinstatement process is likely to conclude prior to the close of an investigation.

Category: NCAAF

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:19 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Kensmi, no  ... let's get this straight. You don't think anyone took any money. But a kid blew off hsi letter of intent for another school after his father DID ask for 180k to attend another school of his father's choice.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:17 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

When Reggie Bush parent took money he got to play in BCS championship even with rumors out there. Newton should get to play but Auburn has to know if later it is proven dad asked for or got paid just like with USC they forefeit the games if they win. If he gets Heisman he will lose that to. No one is going to tell him until proven he cannot play. Same as no one told Bush he could not play. The risk is later what I listed. No double standard seems a lot like what happen with USC and Bush he played.

Since: Oct 31, 2006
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:14 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

I have to agree. Money, the very thing that brings opportunity has ruined college football. From top to bottom, the list of people involved in this matter (Lowder, Newtons, Rogers, Bond, Bingo Parlor Guy etc.) are not the kind of people I would ever want to be associated with. They cant do things honestly. AJ Green sells a jersey, I think it was for $1000, but regardless, he got a 4 game suspension. Newton gets nothing? Bruce Pearl should have offered some recruit's parents $200K instead of trying to feed them some hamburgers at his house... He got 8 game suspension. Who this hurts is Arkansas, because the hogs got jobbed by ridiculous calls in the Aub vs Ark game. I think member schools should be able to file suit against others for damages when an investigation reveals cheating or rules violations. I also think that coaches should be issued a license from the NCAA to coach that allows discipline to follow them. This would work just like a brokers license to a member firm that is issued by the NYSE. It would allow the NCAA to have some means of getting roague people away from athletics. The level of cheating is beyond comprehension and we have people like Lowder to thank for it.

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 11:13 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Nobody took any money. Let's get that straight.
Come on TCU. The Ohio States, Alabamas, Oklahomas and this year, Auburn got where they are the hard way. They earned it. You can too TCU and Boise State. Just play somebody.

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:47 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

If TCU WASN'T in the 3 spot and some Big 10 school were, Newton would have his ass suspended.

I like conspiracy theories as much as the next person, but, IMO, it doesn't fit here.  Nothing has happened to Newton because the NCAA doesn't have, at the present time, any credible evidence Newton knew about any payments.  They can't suspend him just because it seems highly unlikely he wouldn't know about the things his father was doing.  Especially when there is a lot more that can be investigated.

What the NCAA said yesterday does not mean Cam Newton has been exonerated and the case has been closed.  Maybe that will be how it eventually plays out, but we're not to that point yet.  Basically, the NCAA said, we're not stopping him from playing.

Since: Oct 2, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:47 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

every time a bama fan or a big10 homer angel gets their wings.

Since: Oct 20, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:43 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Cam is back and that is all that matters.  Whether he took money or not is irrelevant at this point.  The NCAA says he can play so he can play.  I agree that once all the facts come out he may be ineligible then but that time is not now.  I think the NCAA is doing the right thing in letting him play until all circumstances are brought out.  After all we are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  The cheating at Florida is a different issue entirely and that made him removed from the Gators team.  People report on this issue because its news worthy and he is probably the front runner for the Heisman and will probably play for the National Championship.  If this was on another team that was struggling this wouldn't even be news.  Everyone wants to see the fall of a hero.  I for one hope that when the dust settles he is cleared and that he is awarded what he is due as the best player in college this year.

Since: Feb 22, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:36 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Please get on the right track with this Auburn/Newton thing.  I am really dissappointed in you and all of those who have things backwards.  Presumed guilt is NOT what this country was built on, and it's awful journalism.

If Dodd was a Judge deciding this case, you'd be absolutely correct.  But he's not.  He writes a column.  Cam Newton, or his father, can sue for lilbel if they choose.  But they won't.

I can understand why people have an opinion on the whole PayForPlay issue but seriously, you people need to drop the whole CHEATING AT FLORIDA issue cause its obvious someone dropped the ball when it comes to privacy issues at Florida. It's like announcing to the world what is in your MEDICAL RECORD at a hospital.

The stuff from Florida never should have been disclosed.  That, however, is a totally different thing than saying you can't factor that information into the analysis once it is, in fact, known.

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:35 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

I'm sorry...but didnt a player get suspended for selling his jersey for a mere $500.00. So Cam Newton's dad took $200,000.00 and the he knew about it. And this is what he gets. No games..nothing! Just a "don't do it again"? Really? If TCU WASN'T in the 3 spot and some Big 10 school were, Newton would have his ass suspended. But becasue the Ring of terror(the Ohio States of the world), we can't have TCU in the national championship. The Big Boys don't want to be made fools of by the Mid-Majors.

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:33 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

The difference is agents are hired. The father acted in the interest of his church, not his son. The son never asked him for any representation. It is not unusual for parents to influence their childrens decisions.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or