Hunker down, you dogs.

After a week plus of intense media scrutiny/speculation, it’s inevitable that we enter the next phase of Camgate.  That’s right, bring on the institutional ass covering.

… In a statement, Mississippi State’s athletic department said Wednesday that it first contacted the Southeastern Conference regarding “an issue relating to its recruitment of Cam Newton.” The statement said the SEC asked for specific information including interviews with university staffers. Mississippi State didn’t provide more information until July, citing “time-consuming eligibility issues” related to other sports, presumably those involving basketball players Renardo Sidney and Dee Bost.

The statement said Mississippi State has “cooperated fully” with NCAA investigators, but did not make any reference to the alleged phone calls between recruiters and the Newtons.

SEC spokesman Charles Bloom said Wednesday evening that there was also no mention of the reported conversations in either of the school’s reports to the league.

You’ve got to love MSU’s excuse there:  people, you can’t expect us to spend much time on the eligibility of a player who didn’t sign with our school when we’ve got our own players’ eligibility problems to handle!  (Maybe if we were a school with greater resources, like Alabama, who knows?)

One thing of interest there is the money talk alleged to have involved the Newtons which Schad reported, that the SEC claims to have no knowledge of until they were made public, while the school kind of dances around whether it informed the NCAA about that in July when they made contact.  At best it sounds like MSU wasn’t following official league protocol, which will no doubt lead to another Mike Slive-inspired Tony Barnhart scold column.

At this point, I’ve lost track of who’s deserving of being held credible here, but there’s way too much smoke now for somebody or some institution not to have been burned.  One thing’s for certain, with the NCAA and the FBI involved, something’s going to turn up.

And while you ponder that, here’s an interesting counterpoint to consider:

… As for Newton supposedly being shopped for up to $200,000 … well, nobody who follows college football is surprised. That doesn’t mean Newton got paid. It means players get paid all the time.

What I find remarkable is that, if all of this is true, the under-the-table payments are what would upset people the most. I mean, yes, it is against NCAA rules. But in any other segment of society, if a college kid found a way to use his talents to bring in money to support his father’s church, he would be a hero. There would be glowing newspaper profiles and probably a few humanitarian awards. If a kid does it in college football, he’s a villain.

Not exactly.  There is that pesky little “it is against NCAA rules” thing.  I wonder if Rosenberg would paint the same picture about a drug dealer who took the profits from his trade and did something similar.

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33 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

33 responses to “Hunker down, you dogs.

  1. Bourbon Dawgwalker

    The drug dealer analogy isn’t accurate. Drugs are illegal in the US, while accepting money to go to a certain school is just against the rules of an association. A better analogy would be if Pete Rose used his gambling winnings to pay for food aid in Africa.

    • Yeah? So when did the FBI become interested in enforcing the rules of an association?

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        “So when did the FBI become interested in enforcing the rules of an association?”

        Oh…so that’s what is driving the FBI’s (reported) interest?

        I thought it must have something to do with FERPA violations….color me corrected.

        • What would John Bond know about FERPA violations?

          • Kevin

            I think the FBI became interested when the heard tax-exempt churches might be involved. If any of that money went into Cecil’s pocket then we are talking federal laundering charges. No joke.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              I thought the FBI became interested when it appeared that Rogers might be attempting to shake down a major university for $180,000 across state lines. Note his total cooperation since FBI involvement was announced.

          • Scorpio Jones, III

            If my question seems snarky, I apologize for the snark, but I still don’t understand what crimes have been committed.

            The only thing that, it seems to me, would remotely interest Fart, Barf and Itch would be some sort of FERPA violation.

            But it is also possible the FBI interest falls under the “public corruption” investigative agenda local FBI offices are very much interested in pursuing. (Much to the chagrin of a boatload of public officials in multiple states.)

            Or as Kevin points out below, an IRS question, although I thought the IRS did its own investigations.

            • Don’t get me wrong – I think there’s a lot of fishing going on right now. I’ve got no more of an idea that a crime has occurred than you do.

              But I also have the feeling that once they’re invested into a search for something, something is what they’ll wind up finding. Even if that’s completely different than what they started out looking at.

              Which probably isn’t good news for Auburn, when you think about it.

              • Scorpio Jones, III

                Oh I absolutely agree. The FBI does not stick its nose in unless there is more than a whiff of stink.

                And, baby, they always get somebody even if it is not necessarily the man they set out for.

                And you are correct, this does not bode well for Auburn, and, in a larger sense it may not bode well for anybody.

                • Scorpio Jones, III

                  I posted one of my dire Tony Barndoor pontifications on another post, but this whole thing is beginning to make me itch.

              • “But I also have the feeling that once they’re invested into a search for something, something is what they’ll wind up finding.”

                See also A. J. Green.

            • Brandon

              I thought FBI stood for Female Body Inspectors, at least that’s what the t-shirt said in Panama City.

      • Bourbon Dawgwalker

        I don’t think the FBI cares much about the NCAA rule book, but they do care about money laundering through a not for profit church. Whatever they find out about NCAA rules violations will be incidental to the criminal investigation.

    • Joe

      According to Democrats they are not drug dealers, but rather “undocumented” pharmacists!

  2. The Realist

    There is no rule prohibiting Cam Newton from using his football talent to prop up daddy’s church or feed the poor or cure cancer. He just can’t make said money playing college football.

    College football is not a right. It is a privilege that he can accept and abide by the rules or forego in the interest of financial gain. It’s black and white with no gray area here.

    • Kevin

      You know the rules coming in. If you don’t want to play by them, well, no one’s forcing you. Take your talents to the CFL.

      Willfully signing up for a game in which you thing the rules/laws are unjust is just stupid. If you don’t agree, don’t play. As you said, it’s a privilege.

  3. X-Dawg

    Hypothetical question: What if AJ had used the $1,000 from the sale of his jersey to help out Cecil Newton’s church?

  4. Puffdawg

    “There would (not) be glowing newspaper profiles (from the AJC and the Red & Black) and probably a few humanitarian awards hours in Athens Clarke County jail for not possessing the proper business permit(s).”

  5. This is the same Mike Rosenberg who wrote an overwrought expose in the Detroit Free Press about Michigan practicing too much. So just so we’re clear:

    Auburn allegedly paid $200K for Cam Newton: Cam was helping his family! Let’s just let it all play out.

    Michigan practiced for 20 minutes too long on a number of occasions because their support staff thought (incorrectly) that stretching is not part of practice: Rich Rodriguez is a win-at-all-costs devil! Burn him!

  6. Xon

    Yes, if you don’t agree with an association’s rules you are free not to belong to that association. And, yes yes and triple yes, I would fight my own grandmother over the importance of maintaining (restoring, actually) free association rights in this country, and would NEVER support government intrusion upon those rights. So the violation of NCAA rules is a true point, and a fine one to make.

    That said, I don’t believe that something being potentially criminal is relevant. It all depends on the moral status of the action, and moral status is not determined by criminality (at least not in my opinion. Or Aristotle’s. Or Thomas Aquinas’s. Or Plato’s. Etc. :-) )

    We have lots of stupid laws against things that are not immoral. So I do think the analogy to a drug dealer is a bridge too far here.

    Better to just say that breaking an association’s rules when your membership is entirely voluntary and uncoerced exposes you to that associaton’s consequences. It’s as simple as that.

    • We have lots of stupid laws against things that are not immoral. So I do think the analogy to a drug dealer is a bridge too far here.

      The libertarian in me says that criminalizing consensual private behavior is immoral.

      • Mike

        Now I have another reason to like you.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        I guess helping people commit suicide is OK then. All the anti-drug laws, including dealing, violate that premise, too. Prostitution, alright. Incest? Fine. “Slippery slope, sweeping pronouncements are.” Yoda.

  7. gernblanski

    Not sure if there was a crime committed here but FBI’s and Justice Department’s interest in sports in this matter as well as steroids, etc. reminds me of the government investigations of quiz shows back in the 1950′s.

    The government began looking into the quiz because there were reports that the producers were helping contestants to fix the outcomes of what was portrayed by the networks and perceived by the public as “fair competitions.” As it turned out, rigging the quiz show was not technically against the law and Congress had to amend the Communications Act to make it illegal. Everyone who was prosecuted for rigging quiz shows then were brought up on charges of perjury and obstruction.

    Since money laundering was brought up, I would guess that FBI is looking into financial aspect of it too. But remember … Bonds and Clemens were indicted for perjury etc and not for taking illegal steroids. In this case some of their interest is based on that same credo that the public believes or wants to believe that our competitions are fair and that one side is not gaining a competitive advantage by circumventing the rules.

    Of course we can go back and forth all day about whether or not the FBI should be investigating …

  8. aristoggle

    All I want to know is if Cam’s father quoted Blagojevich when he tried to sell Obama’s Senate seat. To wit:

    “I’ve got this thing and it’s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for fuckin’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. “

  9. 69Dawg

    A free bit of legal advise coming from a former IRS agent. Do not talk to anyone. You have the right to remain silent use it. They may not get you for the crime they want to get you for but they will Martha Stewart your butt so fast your head will spin.