Posted on: October 12, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 5:38 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
It appears the Cam Newton Saga at Auburn has finally come to an end. The NCAA announced on Wednesday that it had found no major rules violations in Auburn's signing of Newton. The NCAA also announced that it had concluded an investigation into the claims of four former Auburn players on HBO's Real Sports that Auburn had provided the players with extra benefits, and again, the NCAA found no wrongdoing by anybody at Auburn.
"We appreciate the NCAA and thank them for their professionalism and thoroughness during this exhaustive investigation. We are pleased to put this matter behind us," said Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs.
As for the Newton case, the NCAA said it interviewed more than 50 people to find out if Auburn had provided Newton or any members of his family with improper benefits, and that there was no reason to keep the investigation open because the NCAA's findings did not meet a "burden of proof" that Auburn had done anything wrong.
If you don't recall, Newton came under scrutiny last season when it was alleged that his father Cecil Newton attempted to collect $180,000 from Mississippi State to get his son to transfer there from Blinn College, where Cam had transferred to after being kicked off the team at Florida. Auburn always maintained that Newton never asked for money from the school, nor did the school ever pay him anything to attend Auburn.
So, good news, Auburn fans. That national championship is not going to be taken away.
Click here to read the letter the NCAA sent Auburn
Posted on: April 14, 2011 11:06 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Given the press surrounding the soon-to-be-unveiled Nick Saban statue at Alabama and the new row of Heisman-winning quarterback statues at Florida, it was only a matter of time before some other school stepped forward to keep up with the Joneses in Tuscaloosa and Gainesville.
And this week, in a letter to fans and alumni, Tiger athletic director Jay Jacobs made it official that that school would be Auburn. The Tiger athletic department last year commissioned statues of past Heisman winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson, before having to add another sculpture to their shopping list when Cam Newton picked up the program's third Heisman last December. "Little did we know we would need to add a third statue so soon," Jacobs wrote.
Newton's honor likely pushed the timetable for the unveiling back from this weekend's "A-Day" spring game to the 2011 season; the artist's website says the Sullivan and Jackson statues are already completed. If there's any positive to the delay from the Auburn perspective, it's that it will give the program another few months in which to avoid unveiling the Newton statue should anything come to light in the still-ongoing (as far as we know) NCAA investigation into his recruitment.
But obviously, Jacobs and Auburn aren't expecting any developments like that soon, or ever; it's hard to prove a belief in a player's innocence any more emphatically than setting a nine-foot tall, one-ton statue of him outside the stadium directly alongside the team's two greatest legends, isn't it?
Posted on: January 21, 2011 11:45 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Such is the world of the NCAA and college football these days that the fact that Cam Newton was seen hugging his father on the field in Glendale following Auburn's win over Oregon became a national story. That's what tends to happen when the Heisman Trophy winner has a father who was trying to sell his son to the highest bidder, and has been told by stay away from the Auburn football program by the NCAA. Which is why it's hard to blame Auburn for asking Cecil Newton to stay away from the game, as athletic director Jay Jacobs and Cecil Newton came to a mutual agreement that he'd stay away from the game.
So is Jacobs upset at Cecil for being on the field after the game? Did it go against the agreement? Nope and nope.
"My understanding is he actually came in after the game was over for the celebration," Jacobs said. "Now, I haven't spoken to Mr. Newton. But based on what his attorney said, that's my understanding. As far as I'm concerned, he didn't go against anything we mutually agreed upon."
Newton's attorney said that Cecil watched the game off-site and came to the stadium after the game for the celebration. Which is somewhat odd considering that I'm pretty sure the fine folks at any stadium are busy trying to get you out of the stadium once the game is over, not allow new people in. I suppose it's possible that Cecil Newton may have told somebody at the stadium who he was, and they then let him in, but I'm not sure.
Whatever the case is, the bottom line is it doesn't matter. He was just a father who wanted to be with his son as he celebrated the biggest accomplishment of his life. I don't see why anyone needs to try and take that away from him.
Posted on: November 8, 2010 12:25 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
This has been a pretty magical season for Auburn. The team is 10-0, ranked second in the BCS, and a win this Saturday against Georgia would clinch the SEC West and have the Tigers bound for Atlanta to play for the SEC title. The biggest reason the Tigers have been so good this season is Cam Newton, who has pretty much run away with the Heisman Trophy thanks to his play on the field.
Of course, all anyone wants to talk about when bringing up Auburn is Newton, but it's for all the wrong reasons these days. The news broke last week that the NCAA is looking into Newton's recruitment, as Kenny Rogers claims that he offered to bring Newton to Mississippi State for $200,000 from the school. Considering the current environment in college football, in which the contact between agents and players have led to many suspensions, and Reggie Bush has had to give up his Heisman Trophy, there have been a few people who have already made up their minds that Newton is guilty. Lack of evidence be damned.
One sign that Newton will be cleared in this investigation, though, is the fact that he played on Saturday, and has played all season long while Auburn has been aware of the investigation. According to Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs, if they felt Newton had done anything wrong, he wouldn't be playing, though that doesn't mean the NCAA is done just yet.
"Any of our student-athletes, if we had any questions about them, about their eligibility," Jacobs told the USA Today. "We wouldn't want them to play."
"It's not a closed matter. It's still ongoing. ... But we look for Cam to continue to play for us."
Does this mean that Newton is innocent? No, of course not, but it's a sign that nothing will come from the investigation. Wins are nice, but if Auburn felt there was going to be any trouble over this, it wouldn't compound the problem by continuing to send Newton out there every Saturday.