Heisman Quandary

So, the NCAA has ruled that Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton is eligible.

It has also ruled that his father, Cecil, did indeed request money for his son to play at Mississippi State.

From the NCAA press release on the matter:

According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.

But since it has not yet been proven that Cam Newton knew of this pay-for-play scheme, he remains eligible, and it is Cecil Newton who is being punished by having his association with Auburn football curtailed (although one has to wonder how much of a punishment that is, considering the younger Newton is likely to declare for the NFL in a matter of weeks).

The effect on Heisman voters will be mixed.  By the letter of the law, Newton has been deemed eligible by the NCAA and the path is therefore clear for him to accept the Heisman.  But with the pay-for-play scheme now being verified by the NCAA, the spirit of the law is in a precarious position.  Voters must swallow the notion that Cam Newton had no idea that he was being shopped around. 

Based on the firestorm that has been created today over this matter, this can only hurt Newton’s candidacy.  It certainly gives credence to the notion that his recruitment was shady and that his eligibility survives only on a technicality.  

Amazingly, some commentators are saying that this ruling takes away any cloud that was hanging over Newton’s Heisman campaign and Auburn’s quest for a national title.  But they’re wrong.  This makes the cloud worse.

It won’t cost him the Heisman, but I think the taint is building.  It could be that allowing Newton to keep his trophy inflicts more damage on the Heisman process than not allowing Reggie Bush to keep his.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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17 Responses to Heisman Quandary

  1. Jack December 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    This investigation is far from over. This was just the NCAA eligibility team that ruled this, the enforcement team has said nothing yet. Auburn will go down in flames, it just won’t happen in time to keep them out of the title game.

  2. Travis December 1, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    The NCAA is keeping Cam newton eligible so that (most likely) Auburn will play Oregon in the title game. If TCU were to replace Auburn, the ratings and sponsorship for the game would decrease, which in turn means less money for the NCAA.

    I wish Cam Newton would’ve went to Mississippi State.

  3. Travis December 1, 2010 at 7:55 pm #

    Most likely the NCAA will bring about sanctions for Auburn after the NC title game has been played.

  4. Leigh December 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    Auburn declared Cam Newton ineligible Tuesday, and the enforcment team made him eligible again without conditions.
    “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs.

  5. Travis December 1, 2010 at 8:33 pm #

    Why does this not make him ineligible?

    SEC By-Laws Section

    “If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.”

  6. AUman76 December 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    Told y’all so! He wass reinstated and Auburn will not be punished in the future. Just as I said about him or Auburn being ok you can put that in the bank too. Might as well drop it and stop wasting your time trying to convict Cam or AU, ain’t a gonna happen. By the way the Heisman folks didn’t take back Bush’s Heisman he gave it back on his own. Would they have asked for it? Other than people that won’t talk, who knows? Think what y’all chose but it is possible his old man shopped Cam without his knowing about it. I’m pretty sure all of our parents have done things we either didn’t know about or don’t ever what to know about! Did his trying to sell Cam to MSU stink like shit? Hell yeah but that’s between him and his son. It could cost him his relationship with the kid instead of him living off Cam’s success. The young man has been through media hell thanks to guys like that sock sucker over on fox and the NY tmes mofoker. Maybe some day the folks that hire Thayer Evans will learn from his own checkered past. The man has been proven to have trouble with the truth and loves to swing the hatchet just ask Mack Brown and Texas. That’s why he’s at fox and not still in Houston. espn’s Joe Shad did his share of swinging the hatchet too. Then there ol mark slayball and his constant BS. But we expect that from a jealous uga grad. We often recruit many of the same players in ga and have done pretty well over the years. How nice if he could’ve helped richt save face and stop the outward flow of in state talent.
    The ineligible think was just a formality to allow the ncaa to save face and show respect for their ruling. By the way duck fans if we do get past SC, “We are AUBURN and you are
    FU(KED”. If oregon can get past that mighty OSU squad we’ll see y’all in Glendale. (great big ol GRIN icon here!) Now you know why I came back when I did HP. I knew what I knew and you didn’t. Cam Newton is and always will be yours and my 2010 Heisman Trophy Winner. That is #3 for Auburn University.

  7. AUman76 December 1, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    here’s why travis…they never agreed to pay nor receive one red cent. Money was asked for but not offered. May seem unimportant to you but so long as he only asked, which I agree is sorry for a dad to do, but MSU didn’t agree to pay no deal was struck. It’s really that simple. Will the rules be changed after this? Most likely..YES. Some think a can of worms have been opened that will allow kids to take cash but instead the ncaa and conferences will put in more stringent rules and by-laws. Let’s face it college football is the NFL’s minor leagues so it’s time for them to help pay kids a lil cash to help them through the college years. Why not when the NFL and the ncaa make millions off the college players sooner or later?

  8. NCAA=JokeWithBadPunchlines December 2, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    Cam Newton isn’t the “best player” in college football . He is the top free agent not currently suited up on a NFL roster …

  9. Tom December 2, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    A whole bunch of Trojans just threw up in their mouths a little bit.

  10. Travis December 2, 2010 at 6:48 am #

    @AUman76: I’m not doubting Cam Newton, I’m just doubting his eligibility.
    I feel that this has more to do with the NCAA losing money by having TCU play in the title game rather than Cam Newton/Mr. Newton/Auburn/(and the name of that booster/agent which escapes me at the moment) actually breaking the rules and being properly punished for it.

  11. Inert1 December 2, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Inasmuch as Newton would have to sign the LOI, show up, and play, one would need to have the intellect of an SEC fan to believe that he didn’t know that he was being shopped.

  12. USC_23_AUBURN_0 December 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Personally I hope USC sues the NCAA for a billion dollars. That should get their attention.

    College football is very corrupt, but selectively so.

  13. AUman76 December 2, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

    y’all just jealous lil cry babies. that needs some of mommies tit. Even when the ncaa says he cleared y’all still can’t accept the truth. He didn’t take money and neither did daddy. Had he done so I would say bye bye to the wins too. I would personally like to thank bammer for this decision for it is the same by-law that was used to allow fat albert means to leave bammer and immediately play at Memphis State. Trust me the ball is in motion at this very moment to close that loophole. But then there are gonna be some bad outcomes for kids that get taken advantage of by guys like rogers and the one involved with the Bush family. It may also open the door for one school to put someone up to making up shit about a recruit or player just to keep him off the field against them. Don’t say it can’t happen cause it can. College football better start sharing a few $$$$$$ with the kids that make it for em or all hell is gonna break loose.

  14. Dave December 3, 2010 at 5:58 am #

    Anyone comparing this case to USC is lacks a brain.

    1 – Reggie was not punished for Reggie’s Dad asking fer benefits and being turned down. Reggie was punished because several people said yes. And Reggie himself directly benefited.
    There is a HUGE difference between an actual Quid Pro Quo and someone wanting one.
    2 — USC was not punished because Reggie’s Dad asked for benefits. They were punished because the NCAA felt Garrett/USC had no interest in compliance whatsoever. Garrett’s attitude, a skeleton compliance staff, and the Mayo-Bush-McKnight trifecta all created a poor situation to begin with. Hiring Lane “A NCAA investigation is a compliment” Kiffin was the icing on the cake.
    3 — USC’s enforcement ruling was handed down years after the incident and a ridiculous amount of investigation by numerous institutions. The investigation of Newton’s just getting started.

    As for those who think Auburn’s walking away from this…. Please. The FBI is asking questions for a reason. No one had subpoena power in the Bush case, and everything still eventually worked its way into the light. This will come much faster and with much more clarity. By this time next year, Newton will be returning his Heisman (if he wins it), and Auburn will be trying to answer some very difficult questions. Enjoy the ride while it last, Auburn.

  15. Dave December 3, 2010 at 6:00 am #

    should say, “lacks a brain”

  16. AUman78 December 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    dave, Auburn has already answered all the questions asked. The FBI has also deemed AU not to be involved in anything wrong. Could they did a lil deeper and acuse by nassociation? Anything is possible when the government is involved. The fact that the ncaa wrote a poorly worded by-law ain’t anyone’s fault but their own. Their intent was to try to protect a player yet still have control over these type situations. Problem is it now seems you can’t always have both. The rule change is happening as we speak so this may never happen again. To al the folks that don’t believe Cecil Newton couldn’t hide things from Cam…..ask your own parents a few questions about their past and see if they have always been truthful with you about everything they’ve done or said concerning theirs and your life. Like it or not it is possible. Unless Cam Newton says otherwise he didn’t know and that is as far as thing goes. The ncaa can dig as deep as they wish but AU isn’t hidding shit. They didn’t hire a former FBI agent as their compliance offer for the fun of it. He’s a hardass and that’s how the University President wants it. The media is the reason this thing was rushed to it’s current conclusion. One last time…Auburn did not pay Cam Newton nor his dad a damn penny much less hundreds of thousands of dollars. End of rant and end of story also!


  1. DawgsOnline » Newton fallout: facts, questions, A.J., Oher, the SEC, and huh? - December 2, 2010

    […] the ultimate outcome of the investigation, I think HeismanPundit is correct: this is hardly vindication for Newton. He’s cleared to play for the next two games before he […]