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: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:30 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

You reported a lie. Great job! There were no benefits given or received. Way to go.

Since: Nov 25, 2007
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:30 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Of course, is father does not play football; but he acted as an AGENT for his son.  So, if we penalize other athletes for the dealings of their agents; then why is this any different?  You can go back and document a number past cases where similar activities took place, and the athlete was reprimanded.  This whole thing smells very bad, and there has to be some kind of political dealings going-on here.  Whatever the case, these are public institutions, and all of the facts need to be forthcoming --that is the law!  In a public institution (college) or organization (NCAA) you cannot be keeping secrets, because public funding is involved.  The kid should be inelligible because of the dealings of his agent --who in this case was his father. 

Since: Jun 8, 2008
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:20 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

 While I don't feel Auburn should be punished unless found to have actually given him money, it is quite clear that his father did ask for money for his son. Regardless of whether Cam knew or not should not be the issue and no I am not buying that Cam did not know ... I'd buy a stolen laptop before I buy that story. It certainly isn't above him to do so ... hell he did worse for only a measly 500- 1,000 laptop while cheating on tests at Florida.

 What should happen is that he should play out the season and be declared ineligible for all of next season. If Auburn is found of any wrong doing in the future regarding Cam Newton, then void the season like USC and Reggie Bush.

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 10:15 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

The sad thing about a three ring circus is that no matter how much we want it to stay, sooner or later it packs up and goes to a new location. Talk about $$$, dirt sells, doesn't it? Since when are you all smarter than the NCAA? Does it not seem strange to anyone else that no other school that recruited Cam Newton reported any irregularities or solicitations? Maybe Kenny Rogers steered Cecil Newton into that conversation and reported it all because Cam didn't go to MSU. How was there already a contact for pay for play at MSU?
What Cecil Newton did was wrong!
To you I say, "Prove what you say." Get out of the muck and write about something relevant if you know how.
And to TCU, quit whining. You are moving to a semi legitamate conference which should help your standing in future years. talk about 7 and 5. What would your record be in the SEC? You would be lucky to be bowl elligible.

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 9:55 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Naive. OJ was innocent too.

Presumed guilt is NOT the American way, but Cam already said he went to Auburn based on his Fathers wishes. $$ rules over morals and ethics in college football, plain and simple - especially in the $EC.

Since: Jun 30, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 9:49 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

The United States government and Cam Newton have something in common.  That would be the words "plausible denial."  That is knowing what is going on but not asking about specifics where the common response is acknowledging what is going on and followed with the words "I don't want to know."  The bottom line is Cecil Newton for a lack of better words decided to prostitute his son out to the highest bidder and this pimp/whore for hire relationship came to the surface as Mississippi State would not use a call girl and refused to pay. 

The investigation is not over and more definitely will come to the forefront.  Cam Newton will have confided in various teammates or relatives about what really did transpire and as certain people become angry or dissillusioned they will spill their guys and if Cam has a Heisman it will shame another athlete who did not have to ask for the money.  Now the Dad with the struggling church selling out his kid to the highest bidder is like putting Cam on the auction block and Cam if he did not know would be completely angry with his father for putting him in this situation.  But Auburn has put the gag order on Cam in fear that once he speaks he will insert foot in mouth and the walls will come tumbling down. 

Football players being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars is no novelty.  Everyone should watch the ESPN special on Marcus Dupree and how Oklahoma provided his Mom with a brand new trailer the day after he asked.  My high school teammates would tell me of time with their boosters at FSU, univeristy of Florida and Alabama.  The most common would be a booster assigned to each player who had tickets for the game.  The booster would approach the player and pad his pocket under the auspices of buying the tickets but no tickets ever changed hands as the boosters had premium seating.  Lantz Rentzel, former Oklahoma Univerisity, Dalas Cowboy wide receiver and convicted of exposing himself to children, wrote in his book "How Laughter Turned to Sorrow" about his job at Oklahoma which was turning sprinklers on and off at the football fields.  He showed up the first day with laughter erupting as they were on a timer.  One friend of mine had his job of cleaning up the football players weight room after the workouts which was self policed and finished by student assistants.

The bottom line is while there are boosters and coaches on the firing line there will be some aspect of corruption at many universities.  The SEC and Big 12 have a long history of impropriety and in the SEC the unwritten rule is not to rat anyone else out as they all are doing it and you would have a whole conference, absent Vanderbilt, on some type of NCAA discipline.  When you see kids with no money from the worst of economic backgrounds wearing designer labels and thousands of dollars worth of gold and diamond bling the red flag goes right up.  A reasonable person is going to look at that $10K earring in a star players ear and wonder how that player coming for a destitute family has an earring worth as much as his Mom's dilpaidated house.  That is the reality and when truth comes to the surface Auburn will have paid cecil thru a booster and Cam will have admitted knowledge as Auburn would outbid Mississippi State.  Cam made a statement to someone that the reason his Dad chose Auburn over Mississippi State for Cam even though Cam wanted to play for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State was that the money was just to good to pass up.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 9:48 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

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 ..."

This is as gray as gray can get.  Cam himself said that he was not involved in the recruiting process at all, and his dad was in charge of everything.  Well. we know that his dad asked for money, but we have no proof that he actually got any.  If it comes out that any money changed hands, Cam is done, or at least should be.  Wins should be vacated and this season will go down as the worst ever for Auburn, instead of what could be the greatest.  When Cam first said that his dad was in charge of everything, I commented that this was a strange thing for a kid to say.  I have never heard a recruit say anything like that.  He was the one that would be attending school there, and playing for the team.  Would he not want to be involved in at least some way.  But, he said he was not, it was all the dad.  That reaked of deniability there, but there was no proof at the time of anything. 

I have heard as of yet whether or not the NCAA has spoken to the two MSU players who said Cam told them Auburn was paying more, or whatever the exact comment was.  If these two kids are credible, and phone records can back them up, then that would at least become strike two against Newton. 

There was also the rumors that Cecil's church was repaired and no one knows where the money came from.  I don't know how much truth is attached to this, but clarification would be nice.  If the FBI is involved, then I trust bank records have been looked at, and so far, there is not much to this.

I just do not think that the NCAA would intentionally do something to ruin their integrity completely.  I know some already think that, but the truth is not there for a rational person to come to that conclusion, at least not yet.  The only thing I am sure of though, is that this is not over yet.  There are still way too many unanswered questions for this to go away.

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 9:25 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Not a TCU fan, but it seems like the NCAA is trying to keep them OUT of the National Championship game. If it were anyone else, they would be kicked out of school and banned from college athletics. The NCAA is saying Cam Newton had no idea what his father was up to? The NCAA is a f###ing joke!

Since: May 5, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 9:23 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

The NCAA is a joke! Cam Newton had not idea what his father was asking for?

Since: Dec 2, 2010
Posted on: December 2, 2010 9:21 am

Inside Cam's eligibility

Dennis.  I enjoy your work. 

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.

Shape up.

You owe it to readers AND to your company.


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