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. SixIron

    All I'd really like to know is what kind of car Cam has been driving since he arrived at Auburn. If he's been driving some old beater, he might have some credibility that it was all Daddy's doing. If he's driving anything respectable, his credibility is nil.

    December 4, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. 'Reverend' Newton

    "Yoose want da cam? Den gib me sum muhfuggin monys."

    Is he really a reverend or is he a "reverend" – the kind they call themselves?

    December 4, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. RESTOMAN

    Keep throwin it Cam. Get your Heisman so you can get back some of the millions you made for these leeches in the NCAA.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. gobiwinds

    The universities have one of the biggest scams going with their football programs. They make billions, and the labor is works for free. The universities are like the plantation owners when USA had slavery. They are making billions and they need to share that with the students athletes that are responsible for billions these colleges make.

    December 4, 2010 at 3:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Willy Brown

    It's all about the money.

    December 4, 2010 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. HRPufnstuf

    Being a Steve Spurrier hater, I'm torn as to who to root for Saturday. If I pull for Auburn, I'm supporting a cheater. If I pull for South Carolina, I'm supporting Mr. Crybaby Spurrier. I guess I could root for either one in the SEC game, then against the winner in the National Championship game. And all this from a big SEC fan. Go Gators ("wait 'till next year!)

    December 4, 2010 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. 1stString

    "Shopped Him Around to Programs" is an absolutely lie. Where did the writer, inventor, creator come up with this statement? An agent with ties to Mississippi State suggested to Cecil Newton that he could get money if Cam signs with Mississippi State and Cecil Newton listened. Cam also visited Oklahoma, Tennessee and Auburn but no "shopping" was done at those schools. So where did this fantasy come from for this writer?

    Auburn had 4 scholarship quarterbacks when an assistant coach visited Blinn Jr College to find out more about a running back in school at Blinn. While there the coach saw Cam Newton and told the Auburn head coach that this kid needs to be signed. Chizik was not sure Auburn needed another QB and was concerned about Cam's background with the purchase of the stolen lap top but was willing to take a look at him. When Cam visited Auburn he was told that if offered he would have to compete for the starting QB job. So some people think that a 2nd year coach, under no pressure to immediately win, would go along with paying for a kid that might not even be good enough to be the starting QB. That is the fantasy which ESPN (BSPN) has been promoting. No ESPN reporter has done any investigative work but have only repeated and repeated the same things known since this past summer. Have any reporters from ESPN actually interviewed any of the participants at Mississippi State?

    This is a Mississippi State problem and not an Auburn problem. Mullen of Mississippi State, will probably head out the door to another coaching job soon to get away from pending probation.

    December 4, 2010 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. 1stString

    And just one more thing.

    28 – 27

    December 4, 2010 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Carroll

    I'm tired of hearing this? Why hasen't there been a white QB trashed like Cam Newton??? Plus I feel these kids should get some of the money to live on and relax too. All the money out there for male NCAA Football, Baseball and Basketball. The schools are getting all the funds??? Where is that money going? And how much? The NCAA is a joke to me, making up rules as they see fit for some. But if the kids father / mother or someone other than the player has knowledge of anything under the table, the Player should not be punished for other gain or wrong doing...

    December 4, 2010 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. NoWay

    And Cam didn't know he was being 'shopped'? We are no fools out here.

    December 4, 2010 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. AUinATL

    The NYTimes (one of the first to break the story) got this right yesterday when they said that the NCAA did the right thing in not ending the hopes and dreams of a young adult due to the corruption of an elder adult. There's no evidence that Cam knew of the unethical behavior of his father. He's incredibily talented, resilient, and seems to be working to turn his life around. Have we reached such a point of cynicism and sensationalism that we prefer a negative outcome to a positive one? Good luck, Auburn!

    December 4, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. Buckeye

    This is typical of Awbarn football. They are cheaters and are a joke of a football program. They cheat there way to a winning season and then expect people to believe that a little farm college in nowhere alabama is on the same playing field as other big schools. Im so sick of hearing about Auburn, they suck.

    December 4, 2010 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard Allen

      legitimate win Vs Alabama = the real deal. Sorry you don't like them. That's a personal issue you will eventually have to deal with. Stop being a sore loser and grow up.

      December 4, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Buckeye

      Sorry bud, SEC Sucks this year. I would like to see them beat Wisconsin or Ohio State.

      December 4, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Buckeye

      I have a personal issue with cheaters.

      December 4, 2010 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Former_Ohioan

      @Buckeye, I am from Cleveland, Ohio, and have been a OSU fan for most of my life... However, even I am not that delusional!!! The SEC is by far the best conference in college football, and Auburn rules the SEC... Until OSU proves that it can beat an SEC team, your comments make you look foolish...

      December 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Buckeye

    This is the same college that when playing LSU, a BARN caught on fire next to their stadium.

    December 4, 2010 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. The Truth

    Tebow was the first ever really clean winner. He did it the right way. Cry? Sure he did and so would you if you were as passionate about this as he was. Quit talking about people crying. You probably do all the time and that's ok. Go Gators. Lovin the new players coming in. SOooooo many 5 stars you would think you took a ride on the space shuttle. Ha.

    December 4, 2010 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  15. Wanna KNow

    Thank god his father is a "man of god".... LOL What would happen if he weren't?? The guy knew what was happening, as did the entire family!

    December 4, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
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