Per Charles Robinson, the NCAA “… has made Auburn aware of potential eligibility issue.”
I still think Newton plays tomorrow. But I wouldn’t want to be the guy making the final decision on that.
You’d like to believe we’ve entered an enlightened era when college football players are judged strictly by their ability and not by their skin color. Sadly, College of the Sequoias coach Curtis Allen says that’s not the case.
Allen, a former Fresno State cornerback who also played in the Canadian Football League, has been around college football for 30 years. Since taking over the COS program in 2005, he’s sent 130 players to four-year schools. He knows what recruiters are looking for when evaluating a player, and he believes race plays a role.
The numbers back up Allen’s assertion.
Out of 120 Division I football programs, 110 of them have a leading rusher who is black.
There is only one white starting running back in the NFL — Peyton Hillis of the Cleveland Browns. Out of the top 40 NFL leading rushers, Hillis is the only white player on the list, and he ranks No. 17.
“For a long time, they didn’t want any black quarterbacks either,” Allen said. “I don’t understand why those perceptions are there. A player is a player. If he can play for me, I don’t care what color he is.”
I’m not sure I buy the premise in the header of this post. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’d like to believe that the defense shows up tomorrow and holds the Auburn offense under the season high 34 points it gave up in Jacksonville, but Auburn’s offensive stats coupled with Georgia’s season-long problems with running quarterbacks suggest otherwise.
Now I agree with Aaron Murray when he says the plan is to “not try to think that we have to score 100 points and just keep doing our thing.” I just hope that Mike Bobo realizes that Georgia’s passing game is part of doing that. On passing plays of 20 yards or more, Aaron Murray is one of the ten best quarterbacks in the country.
I don’t advocate abandoning the run, of course, but Georgia isn’t going to win a battle of rushing attacks against the Tigers. For Georgia to score in the 40s, Murray will need to sling the ball around. What should give Bobo confidence attacking Ted Roof’s defense is that even playing against a much tougher secondary and turning the ball over four times, Georgia still put 31 on the board against Florida. If the Dawgs can hang on to the ball tomorrow, there’s no reason they can’t surpass that number. And it’s very likely they’ll need to.
Start with this:
“The solicitation of cash or benefits by either a potential student-athlete or another person on their behalf is not allowed under N.C.A.A. rules,” Stacey Osburn, an N.C.A.A. spokeswoman, said Thursday. She was speaking about N.C.A.A. rules and not specifically about Newton.
Asked what the punishment would be in those cases, Osburn said: “That would depend on the specifics of the situation. It would be like any other rules violation. It would depend on the level of responsibility of either the student-athlete or the university as well as the scope of the violations. We look at a number of factors for all of our rules violations.”
If the N.C.A.A. provides Auburn with evidence that Newton or his father broke rules, Auburn would have to decide Newton’s fate.
… Speaking generally, Osburn said that knowingly playing an ineligible student-athlete could make a university “subject to harsher penalties down the road.”
So, if proven, the mere solicitation of cash by Cecil Newton from MSU is a NCAA rules violation. Auburn’s immediate problem, then, arises if it receives information from the NCAA that there is fire accompanying all the smoke we’ve smelled the past two weeks. How far fetched is that? Put it this way – a lot less than we thought before the last three days. Yahoo!’s Charles Robinson writes that the NCAA may recommend today that Auburn sit Newton for tomorrow’s game.
From the Tigers’ perspective, that’s rough being asked with all that’s at stake to sit the best player of the 2010 season because of something that happened on the recruiting trail at another school and which didn’t directly involve the player. But as much as they may want to fulfill the promise of 2010, how much do Auburn’s coaches and administration want to jeopardize the future of the program by tempting the NCAA to impose more severe penalties?
The calculus that has to be weighed in making a determination isn’t pretty. To proceed as if there’s no risk, Auburn has to be convinced that:
If I’m Auburn, I’m mighty uncomfortable with that list after Kenny Rogers.
UPDATE: If all else fails, maybe they can blame it on Dan Mullen.
Regardless of Newton’s playing status tomorrow, he’s responsible for at least this:
… Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has worked his players more this week than usual on tackling to prepare for Newton.
“When you do tackle him, he’s a big guy and he can make guys miss,” Grantham said. “You’ve got to pursue. You’ve got to make sure when you get on him that you wrap him up and you kind of hang on a little bit.”
He added: “You’ve got to accelerate your feet. You can’t let your feet die, because he’s a big guy. You’ve got to be aware he’s a stiff-arm tackler because when you come in to tackle him, he’s going to use his off hand because he’s a big, strong guy.”
If you’re a Georgia defensive coordinator, you can never work your guys too much on tackling.
Maybe sweating the small stuff is another reason, in a year that’s on pace to become the second highest scoring one of all time in D-1, that Georgia’s ranking in scoring defense has improved from 63rd in 2009 to 23rd so far this season.