Tag:Mississippi State
Posted on: November 17, 2010 11:47 pm
 

Tipping point coming for Cam Newton

The only question left seems to be, will Cam Newton's eligibility status remain unchanged through the end of the season?

It seems now that the NCAA or Auburn has to re-address the quarterback's status in the near future. Eligible? Ineligible? The walls are closing in.

There are now two persons close to Mississippi State at least intimating that Newton's father demanded money from the school for his son's services. ESPN.com reported Wednesday that a Mississippi State booster received a text outlining a payment plan for Cam Newton. Bill Bell, a former Bulldogs player, told the website that the now infamous Kenny Rogers sent the text detailing three installments to Newton's father totaling $180,000.

Rogers, another former Mississippi State player, changed his story last week telling a Dallas radio station that Cecil Newton told him it would take between $100,000 and $180,000 for his son to attend Mississippi State. Rogers, another former Bulldog player, has been interviewed by the NCAA his lawyer said. John Bond, who originally reported that Rogers had been seeking money for Cecil Newton, has been interviewed by the FBI.

This case seems to be coming to head as accusations and revelations fly. TMZ reported Wednesday that the FBI was looking into Auburn booster Milton McGregor. Technically, a solicitation of money by a parent is an NCAA violation that follows the player wherever he enrolls rendering that player ineligible -- "generally speaking" according to an NCAA spokesman. 

It's not clear what the situation is with Newton at Auburn but his future is getting increasingly cloudy. Cecil Newton reportedly told Auburn officials last week that he approached Mississippi State for money but that Auburn was not aware of it. Auburn seems confident that it is OK playing Newton.

This story isn't going away soon especially with several news cycles to go before the Iron Bowl on Nov. 26. 

 

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 13, 2010 10:14 am
 

It's on Auburn now whether to play Newton today

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.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:33 pm
 

Cameron Newton's eligibility issues

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
Posted on: November 10, 2010 5:42 pm
 

Mississippi State admits contacting SEC

The national Cam Newton discussion has led us this far ... We now have Mississippi State admitting it contacted the SEC in regards to "an issue" relating to Newton's recruitment.

One can only imagine was that "issue" was. We've been pulling our hair out about it since Thursday night. The release below does clear up some time line issues. For the first time we have on the record that the SEC knew about the Newton recruitment since January. 

(Released Wednesday afternoon from Mississippi State)

 Mississippi State University acknowledges that it contacted the Southeastern Conference office in January of 2010 regarding an issue relating to its recruitment of Cam Newton.

Shortly after the initial call, the SEC office requested specific information to include interviews with involved staff from MSU.

Due to MSU dealing with ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving non-football matters in the winter and spring of 2010, the specific SEC request went unfulfilled.

Some additional information was provided to the SEC during July of 2010.

Once the NCAA enforcement staff became involved, Mississippi State University cooperated fully with its investigation.

MSU is confident the SEC office has managed this process consistent with its established procedures and the university is committed to the conference’s ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with SEC and NCAA rules.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: November 10, 2010 11:19 am
 

No Auburn statement

There will be no statement forthcoming from Auburn regarding the latest allegations from ESPN.com, a school spokesman said Wednesday morning.

That seemingly is a change in the school's stance since Friday. The school, particularly Gene Chizik, has vehemently stated on many occassions that quarterback Cam Newton is eligible. Chizik said Tuesday that, "I'm trying to defend something that is quite frankly garbage. Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don't know."

ESPN.com reported Tuesday night that Cecil Newton told a Mississippi State recruiter that it would take "more than a scholarship" to get his son to Starkville.

The next comment out of Chizik is likely to come today when he speaks on the SEC coaches conference call at approximately 12:30 p.m. ET.
Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 22, 2010 11:10 am
 

Halfway Son of Weekend Watch List

BCS bowl projections halfway through the season:

BCS championship: Oregon* vs. Alabama*
Rose: Boise* vs. Iowa*
Fiesta: Nebraska* vs. West Virginia*
Orange: Florida State* vs. Ohio State
Sugar: Auburn vs. Oklahoma

*-automatic qualifier

Notes: Oregon and Alabama win out to advance to the championship game. Alabama beats both LSU and Auburn assuring that there will be no undefeated teams in the SEC. It then beats the SEC East champion to advance. Despite one loss, it vaults over undefeated Boise, the TCU/Utah winner and perhaps even Oregon.  It doesn't matter for the Ducks who stay in the top two because undefeated Boise, Utah/TCU can't catch it in the BCS standings. Meanwhile, other current undefeateds Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Missouri also lose locking in Oregon. Alabama would be playing for the first back-to-back national championship since Nebraska in the 1990s. Oregon would be playing for its first.

--The Fiesta Bowl would gladly welcome Nebraska which it hasn't had since 2000. West Virginia would be making a second trip to the Valley of the Sun in four years.

--The Orange Bowl gets one of its more intriguing matchups as Florida State returns to the big time returning to a BCS bowl for the first time since 2005. Ohio State has to settle for an at-large berth after failing to win a sixth consecutive Big Ten title. The Buckeyes return to the Orange for the first time since 1977.

--The Sugar is filled with two at-large participants. Oklahoma returns to New Orleans for the first time since the 2004 (2003 season) national championship game loss to LSU.


Ranking the remaining MICs

11. Urban Meyer, Florida: Let's not forget that 20 years ago, Florida football didn't matter. Post-Zooker, Meyer made it a bigger national power than it was under Spurrier.

12. Joe Paterno, Penn State: No matter how his career ends, JoePa will leave the program in great shape.

13. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech: An example of having patience with a good coach. Beamer started out terribly but the administration allowed him stay. Now he's one of the best in the country.

14. Al Golden, Temple: The nation's hottest young coach has got it back to the point where the Big East should consider inviting back the Owls.

15. June Jones, SMU: The first and only coach to lead the Ponies to a bowl game since the death penalty. That's good enough for me.

16. Mike Riley, Oregon State: Beavers win eight or nine each year and are always a factor in the Pac-10 race. Don't forget the Civil War is in Corvallis this year.

17. Larry Blakeney, Troy: In the same category as Snyder and Paterno on a smaller scale. Would Troy even exist without Blakeney?

18. Pat Hill, Fresno: Never won a WAC title but kept the Bulldogs relevant to the point that they're jumping to the Mountain West.

19. Jimbo Fisher, Florida State: It's early but all the signs are good that FSU will soon be back on the national scene.

20. Bronco Mendenhall, BYU: Like Meyer, Bronco is allowed a down year.

21. Bo Pelini, Nebraska: If the NFL doesn't come calling, Nebraska will begin winning championships again under Bo.

22. Bret Bielema, Wisconsin: Saturday's win allowed BB to make this list. Ohio State was his second win over a ranked Big Ten team. Barry Alvarez' hand-picked guy is trending upward.

23. Greg Schiano, Rutgers: The momentum has slowed since 2006 but Rutgers is back among the living under Schiano to the point that the Big Ten is sniffing around.

24. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: Operating with a low budget against Big Ten giants, the Wildcats are more than competitive with Fitz.

Oregon set the school season scoring record Thursday in the season's seventh game. The Ducks have 386 points and are averaging more than 55 points per game ... Strange how two Big Ten programs defined themselves by invoking Vince Lombardi this week. First Minnesota AD Joel Maturi said, "It's not like he would be replacing Vince Lombardi," of the new coach after firing Tim Brewster. Then Rich Rodriguez said this about his struggling defense: "Listen, Vince Lombardi could come too and [it's] not going to fix some of the problems we have on defense." ... Ohio State (at Minnesota) hasn't lost consecutive games since 2004 ... TCU has lost one fumble this season ... Texas A&M has lost 12 consecutive televised games dating back to 2008. The Aggies play at Kansas Saturday on Fox Sports Net ...

In this Week of the Head Shot in the NFL, it's interesting to note that Arkansas' Ryan Mallett was knocked out of Saturday's game with a concussion. He practiced Tuesday and will play Saturday against Mississippi ... The last six Auburn-LSU games have been decided by six points or less ... Mississippi State is ranked for the first time in nine years ... Until BYU kicked a field goal in Saturday's 31-3 loss, TCU had not allowed a point in almost three games -- 175 minutes, 10 seconds. A third straight complete shutout would have marked the first time in college football since Boston College in 1992.

 

Posted on: October 14, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2010 1:31 am
 

Son of Weekend Watch List

Watch Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon at Texas Tech. He just might be the best receiver in the country. The problem is OSU is 0-6 in Lubbock during the Big 12 era. Overall, the Cowboys haven't won in Lubbock since 1944 ... The remaining 59 teams in I-A will have played half of their regular-season schedules after this weekend, including USC which will play its seventh of 13 games ... If Ohio State is able to hold on to the No. 1 ranking for four more Sundays this season it would pass Oklahoma to become the most-frequent No. 1 in AP poll history. The Bucks became No. 1 for the 94th time this week. Only Oklahoma (97) and Notre Dame (95) have been No. 1 more often ... If anyone had told you Louisville would be 4-2 halfway through its first season post-Kragthrope would you have laughed? The Cards would be just that if they win Friday night against Cincinnati...

Miami (3-2) reaches the halfway point in its season this week at Duke a candidate for the nation's most disappointing team. The record isn't terrible, it's more where the program stands right now -- No. 3 in the state. Jacory Harris has been uneven. FSU ran the Canes out of their own building. You look at the talent and just think Miami should be better. You can have your argument between Florida State (5-1) and Florida (4-2) right now but it's clear the Hurricanes -- in the middle of a comeback -- are in danger of finishing back in the pack in 2010's in-state race ...

Bad game of the week: Eastern Michigan (0-6) at Ball State (2-4). The teams are a combined 4-32 since the beginning of 2009 ... Army and Rutgers play the first college game in new Meadowlands Stadium ... Utah (at Wyoming) has scored at least 56 in three consecutive games ... Jim Tressel is the first Big Ten coach to win 100 games in 10 seasons ... Alabama continues a rather remarkable streak not having allowed a 100-yard rusher in 40 consecutive games ... Mississippi State (at Florida) is shooting for its first four-game winning streak since 1999 ... Something to consider while boarding the South Carolina bandwagon: Stephen Garcia is 11-2 at home, only 1-5 on the road heading to Kentucky ... Steve Spurrier is 18-0 vs. the Wildcats combined at Florida and South Carolina ... Oregon State has lost one turnover this season ... TCU is back in a familiar spot leading the nation in total defense. That's where the Frogs finished the last two seasons ... Denard Robinson's Heisman season -- and maybe Michigan's season -- hangs in the balance. Robinson is facing the country's No. 2 rush defense in Iowa ... Michigan State (vs. Illinois) is going for its first 7-0 start since its 9-0 start in 1966 ...

I thought we'd gotten over this: The replay official in last week's controversial Oregon State-Arizona game was an Arizona grad. How can that be?

 

Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:44 am
Edited on: October 13, 2010 10:45 am
 

National notes

It only seems like Alabama obsessed all offseason about facing six SEC opponents coming off bye weeks.

The SEC schedule wasn't finalized until late summer as the school and league tried to move opponents around to keep from the dreaded six-pack. The Tuscaloosa News had revealed that over a three-year period Alabama had faced more bye-week opponents (17) than any SEC school. The best Bama could do was move Georgia State from a Saturday to a Thursday in November, thus allowing nine days before the Nov. 26 Auburn game.

That doesn't help things now. The Tide are on the brink of falling out of national championship contention after Saturday's loss to South Carolina. Their fall from No. 1 to No. 8 in the AP poll is the second-biggest fall for an in-season No. 1 since 1996. (Nebraska fell to No. 8 that year after losing to Arizona State). While Bama can still win the SEC and compete for the national championship, the final six conference opponents are going to be well rested. At least one columnist said the schedule already has caught up to the former No. 1.

Meanwhile, Nick Saban is trying to turn that offseason obsession into an in-season footnote. After 19 consecutive victories that included a national championship, Saban said this week his team may have believed a bit too much in itself.

"It's drinking the Kool-Aid, thinking that just because they say it on ESPN, it's so. Reading the newspapers all week. Just because you beat Florida 31-6, people start talking about you being the best team in the country. We're not the best team in the country. We had the best team in the country last year, and we proved it. We proved it over 14 games.

"This team hasn't proved s---."

Rhymes with spit.

Hey, that's the best Sabanator outburst since my question led him to the famous "pimp" line in July. 
 
"Excuse my language," Saban immediately told reporters on Monday. "That's how I feel about it. I'm really upset that I used bad language."

Anything colorful from Saban is always appreciated. It beats "behind-the-scenes" mini-docs where the only thing behind-the-scenes is what you don't see. This was raw emotion, a glimpse at Saban's soul at this point in the season. The message got through. Saban won't be taking bye weeks as an excuse going forward. It's clear that playing three consecutive top-19 opponents (in the AP poll) took something out of the Tide. Now they have to play Mississippi, Tennessee, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn coming off byes. Both teams will have a bye coming into the Nov. 6 meeting at LSU.

"Everybody out there assumes that having a bye week is an advantage," Saban said last week. "I've always answered that question by saying, 'I don't know if it's an advantage or disadvantage.'"

Maybe we're starting to find out.

 


**There is a dicey situation developing at Penn State where Joe Paterno is approaching his 400th career win.

But when?

The Nits are 3-3 after a depressing home loss to Illinois. Joe needs three more wins to become the third coach ever to win 400. There is growing doubt, though, that JoePa doesn't reach that mark this season. And what if he doesn't? What does that do to the program if Joe holds on (or is held over) for 2011?


In one sense, a 5-7 season can be written off as rebuilding year. Quarterback Rob Bolden is a true freshmen and has loads of upside. In other sense, there has to be concern. This is the first time in a long time, Penn State hasn't had at least one playmaker on either side of the ball.

The (mostly) cushy non-conference schedule has gotten Joe halfway to those six he needs, but the road ahead is littered with broken glass -- or at least formidable Big Ten opponents. Penn State still has to play the Big Ten's top three teams -- Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State. Assuming losses in those, Joe will have to win at Minnesota, at Indiana and at home against Northwestern to get to 6-6, 400 wins and a bowl game.

Is that a sendoff or a rebuilding year?



**
I'm starting to get intrigued by Oklahoma State. Coach Mike Gundy has ridden new offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to a 5-0 start, the team's third such beginning since 2004.

The problem with OSU is that its schedule is typically backloaded with second-half meetings with Big 12 South heavies Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, Gundy has never beaten the LongSooners, or is it the SoonHorns? (Combined 0-10 against the two schools and 21-23 after Oct. 1.) Holgorsen has been the difference this year with his version of the spread option,  getting the most out of new quarterback Brandon Weeden, established tailback Kendall Hunter and breakout receiver Justin Blackmon.

The problem remains a defense which has finished above 89th nationally only once in Gundy's previous five seasons. This season's unit is marginally better in its second year under coordinator Bill Young. It is No. 88 nationally allowing more than 400 yards per game.

The difference is Holgorsen, a 39-year-old Mike Leach discipline who spent eight seasons at Texas Tech as an assistant, the final three as offensive coordinator. Holgorsen came to Okie State after a couple of seasons tutoring Case Keenum at Houston. Keenum is out with a season-ending injury but is seeking a sixth year of eligibility in 2011 during which he could become the NCAA's career passing yards leader.

Weeden, who turns 27 this week, is a former minor-league pitcher who is finding a new career playing pitch and catch out of the shotgun. Almost halfway through the season, Weeden has the fourth-most passing yards in the country leading the No. 2 scoring unit.

"[Weeden] was just a poor practice player," Gundy said. "There's a reason why we changed offenses. He can't execute [OSU's 2005-09] offense. It wasn't set up for him. ...We thought he could function at a high level, but we didn't know."

 

 

 
 
 
 
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