Cam Newton is the biggest deal in college football right now for both good reasons and bad.
The good is that he's the star quarterback of the undefeated, No. 2-ranked Auburn Tigers. If they win the rest of their games, they'll likely play for the national championship.
He's the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, awarded annually to college football's best player.
And he's expected to be a top NFL draft pick and make millions when he leaves college after either this season or next.
The bad comes not from the millions he might make but from the thousands he might have been paid already.
Allegations are flying that when he was being recruited it was made clear that whichever school got him would have to pay him. The latest accusation, from an ESPN report, says Newton and his father each talked money with Mississippi State. The Newtons allegedly asked for around $200,000, according to some reports.
NCAA rules prohibit schools from paying players. The NCAA considers the full scholarship Newton and most other players on the big-time college teams get, fair compensation for the millions the players help generate for their universities.
Auburn, which beat out Mississippi State to recruit Newton after he left a junior college last year, is passionately defending him. Coach Gene Chizik calls the allegations "garbage" and said Newton is a "great football player, great human being, and comes from a great family."
And he'll be on the field Saturday for Auburn's big game against Georgia while the allegations are investigated.
Even if the allegations prove true, Newton would be far from the first college player to be paid in violation of the rules. In September, Reggie Bush, who now stars for the NFL New Orleans Saints, returned his 2005 Heisman Trophy when it was revealed he received improper payments while at the University of Southern California.
And ESPN's 30-for-30 film this week, "The Best that Never Was," detailed illegal offers made to top recruit Marcus Dupree in the early 1980s.
Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg said the accusations about money bother him less than some of the academic allegations that have surfaced.
And Yahoo's Dan Wetzel said even if Auburn did pay Newton to come play for them, they're getting a great deal.