Let’s be real here, with all the rumors, reports and investigations going on can we just all be honest about this? Cam Newton and his father Cecil did something wrong. Did Cecil ever specifically mention pay-for-play? Maybe not. Did Cam know it was going on? Maybe not. But all of these things taken together mean one thing: There was definitely something shady going on.
Regardless of the semantics of whether or not Cecil specifically laid out a payment plan, or what he did or didn’t say, we can all agree that with the mountain of evidence piling up against them, the Newtons violated rules, if not the letter of the law, certainly the spirit of it. They tried to sell Cam’s services to the highest bidder. Were they successful in getting money for Cam to play? We don’t know yet. But we do know that when it comes to NCAA impropriety, where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. And there’s a sh*tload of smoke around this one.
Honestly, I have no dog in this fight. I’m not a fan of any of Auburn’s rivals and don’t really care if they win out, go to the BCS title game and win the thing. I’m just being real about this.
It’s not like this is a situation where Newton was having a good season and Auburn was undefeated and everyone just started making stuff up. The first allegations against the Newtons were reported by Mississippi State back in January. This isn’t a recent thing, it has just been made public recently.
Toss on top of that the fact that we have been told by sources in two SEC athletic departments that in a meeting before Saturday’s game the NCAA implied that it would probably be best if Auburn benched Newton during the Tigers’ game against Georgia, and you’ve got a huge mess on your hands. Yes, two sources* told us (independently) that they were informed through back-channels and sources that the NCAA may not have specifically told Auburn that Newton shouldn’t play, but it was certainly implied.
Auburn chose to stand by their man. But really, what could they have done? Sitting Newton would have looked like an admission of guilt, and in what has been a magical season for the Tigers, that just wasn’t going to happen.
Our sources – who, again, come from two separate rival athletic departments – both agreed that Auburn has been put in an impossible situation because of all of this. They had to stand behind Newton or risk what could be the most successful season in school history. While, if they play Newton, they risk the wrath of the NCAA.
Again, let’s all be real here, allegations of this nature don’t just come out of nowhere. Especially not with so many people corroborating the evidence. And now we’re hearing of text messages and voice mails that exist and may be the final nail in this coffin.
The Newtons did something wrong. And pretending otherwise is a joke at this point.
The worst part is hearing some talking heads in the media (specifically ESPN) try to rationalize or make sense of this mess, or even attempt to discredit the rumors. The other day someone (sadly, I can’t remember who) said that we need to remember that Cecil Newton is a man of God. As if that would preclude someone from doing something shady for financial gain. Reggie Bush’s stepfather, LaMarr Griffin is, by all accounts, a wonderfully nice, God-fearing man. Pleasant and polite. People have always raved about his kindness. Yet it was Griffin who first proposed Bush making money off of his name while at USC.
When money, especially lots of money, is involved, people’s personalities change. Greed is an incredibly powerful emotion.
In the case of Cam Newton, greed may end up tarnishing what could have been a phenomenal legacy.
*These are incredibly reliable sources who have been accurate concerning NCAA compliance issues in the past, and requested anonymity due to the nature of their claims and the fact that this is an ongoing investigation involving a rival school. Both sources told us almost the exact same story concerning Auburn’s meeting with the NCAA. Which means they’re either right about it, or they are getting their information from the same source, which is unlikely.