Cam Newton scandal: Finger pointing or legitimate gripe?
December 3rd, 2010
05:02 PM ET

Cam Newton scandal: Finger pointing or legitimate gripe?

The most talked-about college football scandal in years appears to have been resolved — at least for now.

When Auburn University quarterback Cam Newton takes the field for the SEC title game against South Carolina Saturday, he will have been absolved of any wrongdoing by the NCAA in spite of an investigation concluding his father shopped him around to programs asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars for his son’s signature.

And even though the Heisman hopeful has been cleared to play that game and the BCS National Championship should they win—the Tiger’s success won’t tame the talk. Newton’s story has been a hot topic because it speaks to the heart of many who suspect college athletics are corrupt.

For those who don’t know the Newton story, it all started a month ago when stories about a pay-for-play scandal started surfacing involving Newton and his father, the Rev. Cecil Newton. Here’s a recap of how we got here:

In December of 2009, Cam Newton committed to Auburn after taking recruiting trips there and to Mississippi State.

A month later, Mississippi State claimed it contacted SEC officials to notify of them that Cecil Newton and a booster named Kenny Rogers attempted to get money for Cam Newton’s commitment, a solitication MSU officials said was refused. The school waited six months before fulfilling a request from the league office for more information.

In July 2010, the SEC notified Auburn of suspected improper recruitment involving Cecil Newton. Auburn began its own investigation.

In early November, stories surface alleging Cecil attempted to secure about $180,000 from a Mississippi State booster in a pay-for-play scheme. Auburn refused to comment. The NCAA began its own investigation. As the weeks progressed, another former player echoed the allegations. The FBI questioned Rogers.

Monday, the NCAA said "violation of amateurism rules occurred" with Newton.

Tuesday,  Auburn quietly made Newton ineligible without notifying the media.

Wednesday, the NCAA ruled that Newton’s father and an owner of a scouting service did try to get money for Newton’s signature from MSU. But officials said there wasn’t “sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity,” and no evidence surfaced that the Newtons asked for money from Auburn. Newton was ruled eligible to play and reinstated.

The announcement set off a firestorm of criticism from bloggers. Even NBA legend and sports commentator Charles Barkley, an Auburn alum, told the "Dan Patrick Show" on  Thursday the ruling was “shaky.”  "I can't explain it, I can't justify it. I can't defend it," Barkley said.

Others echoed Barkley, saying the NCAA had opened a Pandora’s Box, that from now on any would-be college player could ask a school for money through a middle man and there would be no punishment as long as it couldn’t be proven the athlete was directly involved.

The criticism immediately put the NCAA on the defensive. President Mark Emmert said in a statement Wednesday, "We recognize that many people are outraged at the notion that a parent or anyone else could 'shop around' a student-athlete and there would possibly not be repercussions on the student-athlete's eligibility.” Adding the NCAA will "work aggressively with our members to amend our bylaws so that this type of behavior is not a part of intercollegiate athletics."

Newton's father is not the first to ask for money for a kid's commitment. And he likely won't be the last.

The question is this: Will Newton's discovery encourage more bad apples or will it, through awareness, succeed in changing the landscape of a potentially corrupt culture?

soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. BigGameJames

    And nothing is going to change in college sports until the rich, old white guys (boosters and alumni) and the sleazy agents start going to jail. Better yet start stripping their benzes and beemers from them. That's the only way to hurt the fat cats. Cutting into the money.

    December 3, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chris

    The NCAA truly exposed themselves as completely hypocritical and corrupt with this ruling, I fail to see how this is any different from what happened with Bush and USC. The fact is, Cam Newton should be ineligible to play; how are you going to say that this 20 year old did not know his dad was trying to shop him around, he makes the final decision! Besides, he was quoted as saying to Mississippi State that he was sorry that he could not come but that the money was just too much and he had to go to Auburn...he basically admitted it right there that Auburn paid him to come play....what a bunch of sketchy s#it.

    December 3, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Another_Guy

      Chris,

      The NCAA had proof that Bush recieved money. So far, there is no proof that any money exchanged hands. Does that make Cecil's actions any better? No. But compare facts. Not what you believe to be true.

      December 4, 2010 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. WINNAR

    Cam's dad P1MPED him out like a hoe!

    December 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    If it isan NCAA rule that any family member who solicits a school for money on behalf of of a relative who knows nothing about the solicitation makes him ineligiblen to participate in athletics, then that rule is unfair. There is no evidence that newton's father did anything wrong and even if he had done something without evidence and the son's knowledge, the son should not be punished.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • WINNAR

      "Wednesday, the NCAA ruled that Newton’s father and an owner of a scouting service did try to get money for Newton’s signature from MSU."

      Straight from the article. You should read articles before posting.

      December 3, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • NeoDio

      Where have you been ??? Cecil Newton confessed long ago he asked for money ($180,000) from MSU.

      December 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John

    Never heard of this guy. Why is there little to no coverage of soccer? We have our own national team, and league.

    December 3, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Evan

    This ruling was ridiculous. Now maybe the rules aren't fair about the parents (but I would disagree). But those rules are in the books and have been used before on other players. There was actually a ruling that happened including Cam and his father that there was inappropriate behavior and he was reinstated faster than others that had significantly less severe allegations against them. They moved slow and safe on ruling him ineligible, which with what they could take away seems somewhat reasonable. But then they ruled that an activity occurred that is supposed to come with repercussions and instead of suspension, or anything, they bent over and kissed his (and Auburn's) you know what. Um, you'll change what in the rulebook for the future? I thought it was already in there. You just bent over for money. But I'll say this, Cam is still the best player in college football, he was worth more than 200k.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dennis2547

    For what it is worth regarding what I have read for the many weeks prior to the above story that we all are commenting about now. I see another Reggie Bush ending. Look the money from gambling is taking the college game in a sleazy direction. We all have seen so many questionably officiated games this year that it is better than watching a television soap opera. So CAM Newton gets to play ball. Auburn gets the money from their appearance in the BCS Championship game. All the fame to the University and the SEC conference. All is quiet and the Heisman Trophy gets awarded.
    So the Head Coach keeps his job, all is swept under the carpet until this kid goes to the PRO's and then the NFL has another black eye issue that has followed one of it's Marque players from the college ranks.
    So we all can sit back and wait to see a College Football Program get hammered and lose it's season sometime in the future. The Heisman trophy will be taken back. The player will tearfully say I had nothing to do with this that or whatever. Still he will be found to have been involved. The University will have the tens of millions of dollars in it's bank and the SEC Conference will still take a hit but move on.
    So what's new? NOTHING, the folks in VEGAS get rich and make money the only way they know how these days. They are a bankrupt town and industry, doing what they are doing these days to make money. Too bad the Chinese island of Micao is not closer to the USA. Then they could really bury this story with another corrupt angle.
    So way, we all just have no say in anything these days. We can all talk until we are blue in the face. The casino's and other questionable folks in this industry are and will make money and destroy the game just like the NFL has.
    We have had this virginal image of college sports. Right? If you believe that there are ...................

    December 4, 2010 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. thr2

    Bad for college athletics, bad for Auburn, bad for the SEC, and bad for the NCAA. It really makes it look like money is all that matters to any of them and if it all gets stripped away later, well all the above have already made their money.

    I just gained new found respect for Sir Charles Barkley, who even though he is an Auburn alum, refused to stand behind this controversial ruling.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bill

    Absolute sensationalism! Only writers like this one trying to grab attention by making their stories seem more exciting and compeling than the facts support are using the term "scandal". This story is about Cecil Netwon and what was alleged to occur at Mississippi State, and not about Cam Newton. There is no evidence that Cam had any knowledge of any requests for money if they did occur and there is no evidence increminating Auburn or any other school besides Mississippi State. This is why the NCAA and SEC were able to quickly conclude that Cam Netwon is cleared to play and that there will not be any wins vacated by him playing. Unfortunately there will be these types of stories because writers like this have access to the Internet and are free to right such sensational garbage. I'm hopeful that most Heisman voters are smart enough not to be influenced by this type of reckless, unsupported journalism.

    December 4, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • WINNAR

      Thanks for letting us all know you don't follow college football.

      December 4, 2010 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  10. bonnie

    charles barkley was paid , so what is he talking about , just like all the other athletes. It is only because auburn is having a great season that the haters dont want newton to shine. so lets destroy his character, huh.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. NCAA=Corrupt

    Don't punish USC in 2005 when their ratings are through the roof thanks to Reggie Bush – wait FOUR YEARS until they aren't generating millions in TV ratings and media darling Pete Carroll is gone. Don't punish Auburn now when their ratings are important.

    4 years to rule on Reggie Bush – 48 hours to rule on Auburn??? NCAA=Corrupt.

    Reggie should at least keep his $50 Heisman trophy for the millions he generated for the NCAA.

    December 4, 2010 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. bonnie

    If they investigate all the heisman trophy winners there would be no winners

    December 4, 2010 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. CWBarrett

    Regardless Cam WILL win the Heisman. I love that they shut up the tide.

    December 4, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. WINNAR

    auburn is a one year wonder they'll be 5-7 again next season

    December 4, 2010 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
    • AUBURN

      So your response let's us know you are a Bammer. Why is it that Bammers are such haters?? Because your team SUCKS this year, you down everyone else. You blame other people for the many losses on your schedule this year. When you hire the devil (Nick SaTan) as coach, you get what you asked for!!!

      January 3, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. coramae

    I love Cam!

    December 4, 2010 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
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