Camgate: something new every day

Let’s see if we can organize what news came out yesterday on the Cam Newton front:

  1. Mike Slive disclosed his unhappiness about Mississippi State failing to follow his precious reporting protocol.  Not because the conference would have done anything substantive, though. “Slive maintained that it’s not the SEC’s role to influence an institution’s decision on a player’s eligibility. That decision remains with Auburn.” No, he’s complaining because developments have made his office and the conference look bad.“Any time our process is not followed, it’s a concern and a disappointment because we have an expectation based upon the rules passed by our presidents and athletic directors that the process will be followed,” Slive said. That’s what passes for leadership.
  2. Mississippi State officially confirmed that Cecil Newton had his hands out during his son’s recruitment.  But the school was careful to limit what it disclosed to the SEC based on what it knew.  That didn’t include how other schools were interacting with the Newtons.
  3. And then, of course, last night’s bombshell“A source close to the situation exclusively told Channel 2 Action News investigative reporter Mark Winne that the player’s father, Cecil Newton, has admitted having conversations with an ex-Mississippi State University player about the possibility of under-the-table money if Cam Newton signed to play football at Mississippi State, though he’s steadfastly maintained that no money ever changed hands and said no official at Mississippi State ever made such an offer.”

So what conclusions can we draw from those developments?

  • First, everyone on the MSU side tells one consistent story about Cecil Newton’s solicitation of money in exchange for his son’s commitment.  And the SEC has confirmed that it was told at least that much in January.
  • It’s clear that Mike Slive wants to pass the buck for the lack of action taken between January and July to Mississippi State.  Since it’s unrealistic to expect MSU to have investigated contacts between the Newtons and other schools recruiting Cam, either Slive thinks the admissions alleged to have been made by the Newtons to MSU about Auburn offering cash had some basis in reality or he’s simply hoping that enough people direct their angry attention towards Mississippi State that the conference’s lack of guidance will be overlooked.
  • Unless the “source close to the situation” is Cam or Cecil, it’s prudent to take the disclosure skeptically for now.  But it seems to me that if it’s true, we’re supposed to accept a huge, steaming turd purely on Cecil’s word:  “Cecil Newton said his son’s hands are clean, and has made it clear that Cam Newton himself and his mother knew nothing about the money discussions, nor did Auburn University…” In other words, he was motivated to talk about money once, was turned down, and then never raised the subject with another soul throughout the rest of Cam’s recruitment.  Right.  If that’s the case, I sure would like to know why he was so insistent that his son reject his first choice of schools in favor of Auburn.
  • Speaking of which, does anybody wonder if Jay Jacobs, in doing the due diligence that we all are assuming he’s immersed himself in the past few days, has spoken directly with Cecil Newton?  Sure, Jacobs can’t force Newton to disclose what he did, but if Newton refuses to be forthcoming with Jacobs, knowing that ultimately it’s Jacobs’ call as to whether Cam plays the rest of the season, wouldn’t that confirm Jacobs’ worst suspicions about what happened?  And if Jacobs didn’t include Cecil Newton in his due diligence, wouldn’t that confirm the NCAA’s suspicions about Auburn’s role?

I still think Cam plays today.  Auburn’s way too invested in the “all in” mentality now to back down.   (I bet Jacobs wishes Chizik had not been so demonstrative about Newton earlier this week.)  But it’s hard to see how this ends well for anyone.  Except for Cam, of course, who’s going to make money at the next level regardless of how the 2010 season plays out.  Unless you’re Donald Jackson, it’s an incredible stretch to believe at this point that Cecil Newton didn’t ask MSU for money.  That’s a flat out violation of NCAA rules.  Going forward, Auburn is playing with fire with every game in which it allows Cam to participate.  And when the dust settles, that’s likely to make the SEC look even worse.

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48 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

48 responses to “Camgate: something new every day

  1. Bryant Denny

    Unless Auburn is navigating the most narrow of precipices through the NCAA rule book, Newton (based on what we can conclude from your summary above) is ineligible.

    I dont care how ALL IN a school is, to continue to play a player they know is ineligible is suicide.

    Have a good day, Dawgs. Hope y’all win regardless of who plays.

    Roll Tide,

    BD

  2. Brandon

    The decision makers at Auburn are insane if they allow him to play any further for them, you simply cannot risk your whole program’s future on the word of a cat like Cecil Newton, to do otherwise is unbelievably short sighted. Sure its going to piss a lot of people off but you’ve got to do it if you love the school. The NCAA is going to really lower the boom big time on somebody (I’m talking death penalty) one of these days and this set of facts if proven to be true and Auburn played him anyway is just the kind of thing they have been waiting for. Auburn like Georgia is just the kind of school they’d do it also, it is a highly visible, historically successful program, but not one of college football’s fair haired children (USC, OSU, even BAMA) that will be spared for tradition’s sake. Auburn would make a perfect example.

    • JBJ

      I think you are correct. The NCAA has to rule with an iron fist to keep everyone in line regarding these types of violations. Makes perfect sense that if Auburn ignores warnings about Newton and plays him, then they could face the death penalty for the football program. The NCAA would be making a statement to everyone that it doesn’t take these things lightly. To do the unthinkable and take football away from one of the oldest and most powerful programs from the SEC would send shockwaves.

      I would hate to be an Auburn fan these days. That’s what I have always appreciated about CMR. He runs a clean program as best he can. If someone breaks rules or there is even a sniff of a violation, you are going to sit until it is sorted out.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        First, there is no evidence that Auburn or some alum/booster acting on Auburn’s behalf paid Newton to go to Auburn. That is what got SMU the “death penalty.” They also still have plausible deniability as the NCAA has not yet ruled that Newton is ineligible and there still is a story out there that gives them cover. Could the penalties be worse for not sitting him? Sure, but likely only more loss of scholarships, etc. There is also the lack of responsiveness by the SEC to be considered. If the conference had acted earlier we would not be in this situation. Newton would have been declared ineligible before the season started instead of when the best team in the SEC, indeed the only team in the SEC to have a really good chance to play in the BCSNC game, is undefeated after 10 games and about to have to forfeit all its wins. He is a manipulative dishonest asshole who is too clever by half. The Commissioner of the SEC is supposed to protect the conference from this sort of thing by taking corrective action at the right time. Slive dragged his feet on this, purposely it appears. Slive is really only about money and because of his inaction the conference is going to lose a lot of it. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Slive needs to go.

    • If Auburn knows none of their actual staff paid out money to Cam/Cecil, then whatever punishments they get will not be that huge.

      Its not a LOIC violation if one booster paid for one player.

      Worst case (again, assuming no Auburn staff were involved in the paying) they are looking at vacated wins for games he played in (which nobody gives a crap about) and MAYBE some probation or a few scholarships lost.

      Best case, they win the MNC.

      Its not hard to decide which way to go there, imho.

  3. JBJ

    Great article. You bring up some very interesting points about the people involved.

    First, the lack of leadership in the SEC home office. I don’t see any way Silve comes out of this looking like anything except an incompetent leader.

    Second, Chizik is either going to come out looking like a hero or a goat for his strong words earlier this week.

    Third, Sir Cecil stands to lose his church and possible legal problems if he did receive cash under the table without reporting to the IRS.

    Lastly, Saint Cam will likely come out of this with a multi-million dollar NFL contract. I live in Gainesville and I followed the laptop incident with interest as a Dawg fan. Unbelievable how people want to have a revisionist history on that incident. I don’t care how he came to have the laptop, he knew it was stolen. He wrote his name on it. He threw it out the window when the police came to talk to him. End of story.

    Life is all about incentives. This case is going to be a clear cut example of how the superior college athlete has nothing to lose breaking rules because there is a paycheck waiting either way. Someone like Cam Newton has absolutely no loyalty to the school.

  4. Wolfman

    The more I read of this, the more I’m reminded of the position UGA took with A.J. Green at the beginning of the season. His violation was much less serious, and yet he was still “pre”-suspended, before the media or the public knew anything about anything. I know there’s a comparison somewhere, but I haven’t laid my finger on it yet. If nothing, it makes me happy CMR is our coach.

  5. I was flummoxed by the Slive article. “So, uh, Mike … what would ya say ya do here?” Seriously, can you blame MSU for going over the SEC’s head? Slive is as useless as tits on a bull.

    And the Newtons are basically mercenary hustlers. I remember an interview with Cam where he described the year in Blinn as “a business trip.” But now he’s all rah-rah about Auburn? Doubt it.

    If MSU was his first choice, I’d really like to know how Auburn pried him away.

    And Cecil is emerging as more of a piece of work by the hour. What’s worse than the fact that he tried to pimp his son was the fact that he wasn’t going to tell him about the money. Despicable, if true.

    • Normaltown Mike

      My take from Slive’s comments is that MSU soft pedalled the facts in their initial submission to SEC. The paucity of damnable offenses in initial report led SEC to not put as much pressure on Auburn to tread carefully and on MSU to complete a thorough “internal investigation”.

      My guess is that MSU omitted the fact that coaches (and not merely a former player) have actual knowledge of a solicitation of pay for play.

      If Slive had that from the get go, the ball gets kicked to NCAA where they would likely have ruled him ineligible.

      • C3

        The thing that I cannot get over is that Cam wanted to go to MSU, but Daddy wanted Auburn. Why was it Daddy’s decision, and what was the deciding factor? I refuse to believe that money was not involved, proof or no proof. Best case scenario is he plays and we beat them anyway, but God I hate Auburn and just want to win.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Assuming MSU was his first choice, I find it nearly impossible to believe he would have switched to Auburn without knowing his dad was getting paid.

  6. heyberto

    If they sit him, it won’t be announced until game time.

    • Brandon

      Agreed. If I had to bet I’d say they are and they are holding out until then to help out Chizik as much as possible by creating uncertainty for Georgia. Unless they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no manner of truth to any of this at all, if they play him they are being beggars to their own demise and are truly the ignorant rednecks the worst of their critics have always painted them to be.

  7. Scorpio Jones, III

    So, it appears Vladimir Saban is writing for Mike Slive these days, either that or Slive has spent some time in one of Saban’s re-education camps.

    Slive’s comment on the MSU/Newton situation sounds like Saban explaining the loss to LSU.

    Process, Process, Process

    Like sands through the hour glass.

  8. NCT

    I guess I’m naïve. The part of this story that makes my head spin is what kind of person(s) is(are) willing to fork over six figures so a kid will go to your school? How does one account for that kind of money? Sure, an agent has financial incentive to throw that kind of cash around, but how much would an agent care about which school wound up with the player? I mean, damn. I got nervous when I tweeted a compliment to Phillip Daniels about a high school performance his son had.

    I guess it’s all a matter of perspective and scale, though. I’m sure there are people in the world who think I’m crazy for forking over only four figures to go to six or seven games a year.

  9. A Different Jim

    What position is he going to make millions in the NFL? Tight end? H Back? Fullback? He will not be a quarterback as he is nothing but a more powerful Tebow. The NFL would chew him up? I guess like Tebow he will get the signing bonus and then not amount to anything.

    • Jemarcus Russell

      The transition from oversized college QB to the NFL is easy:
      (1) Cash check
      (2) Report to training camp at Shoney’s All U Can
      Eat buffett
      (3) Retire

    • Biggus Rickus

      He has a better arm and more traditional throwing motion than Tebow. He’s more like Vince Young without the hitch in his release.

    • S Couch

      I beg to differ with you. Tebow is a young player for now, just wait until he more seasoned. I predict Cam laughs all the way to the bank, and you WILL be hearing about him doing GREAT in NFL. He is just to talented not to.

  10. King Jericho

    I’m in Auburn for the game, so I’m hearing every defense possible for Cam, but this one’s actually good:

    The only people that are claiming he wanted money was MSU. Oklahoma said it was clean, Kiffin says it was clean (take that with a grain of salt), and Auburn says it was clean. Perhaps this Kenny Rogers character brought the idea of money up to Cecil and naturally, he was curious. For whatever reason, Cecil ended up doing the right thing, and instead of getting in bed with snakes at MSU, without telling Cam why, he wanted him to go to the cleaner program and chose Auburn.

    I guess that would require some stories of Cam talking about the money being too good at Auburn being false, but that’s not too farfetched.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Don’t respond to anybody trying to sell you something today.

      • Nigerian Prince

        I have the entire Cam Newton story in my file cabinet in Lagos, but the Nigerian government has confiscated it pending payment of back taxes.

        If you will wire me $10,000 I will pay the taxes and sell the story to Paul Finebaum for $100,000 whereupon I will split the profits with you.

      • Brandon

        EAT MORE, LOSE WEIGHT WITH DIETISTA AMERICANA!

    • Macallanlover

      I honestly feel for the Auburn fans, we have all been let down by our players at one time or another, but this is a huge stretch……even for a fan. The sudden change to Auburn, where there was a minimal connection, from MSU where Cam had a direct connection to his former Offensive Coordinator and his public statements about wanting to go there raises suspicions. Add to that the last ten days of information and it is really getting slimey.

      The other person who may have been thrown under the bus is Cam. Not saying he has ever been a choir boy despite his winning smile, but not sure he could control daddy’s greed. Bad situation for all of CFB, expecially the fans and teammates who may all have to pay a big price and see their dream crushed.

      • Meh. It’s hard to feel bad for Auburn fans considering they’ve been playing the whole head-in-the-sand, fingers in ears while singing “NANANANANA I CAN’T HEAR YOU” routine regarding all the allegations. It’s one thing to hope for a good outcome, but the Auburn fans have just selectively ignored what is pretty damning evidence and claimed it was all part of a conspiracy or “haters” out to get Auburn. So no, in hindsight I don’t really feel bad for them at all.

      • Julie

        I don’t feel sorry at all for Cam. This is a young man who obviously has no respect for the law — hence his 13 traffic citations. He obviously has no respect for another person’s property — the stolen laptop. He also will cheat (multiple times), if the reports are credible, to get his grades. It’s laughable to think he didn’t know he was being sold. I just hope the Feds find a receipt from Cecil in Bobby Lowder’s safe.

        • Macallanlover

          Fair points about Cam. I was thinking more along the lines of a young man being thrown under the bus by his dad, tough situation. But he is 21 years old and no virgin to trouble so he is accountable too.

          I stand by the comment about the fans and teammates. Many fans put a lot of faith in their athletic department and assume they are smart enough to not ignore storm clouds. I think the UGA fanbase is as guilty of playing the conspirarcy card as any. Chizik and Jacobs are the ones who may have been negligent (in addition to Slive.)

      • NCT

        It’s Auburn. Absent some actual human tragedy involving life or limb, I will never feel for them.

  11. Russell

    If they play Cam, it means they could care less what the truth is…They are ok with cheating

  12. Derek

    At this point the issue isn’t truth, it’s what the NCAA decides is the truth. By playing cam they are not calculating that Cecil did not ask for money, but that the NCAA will decide that Cecil didn’t ask for money, or they’re suicidal.

  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    If Newton does not play today, and I think he will, that means he won’t play against Bama, or, in fact ever, for Auburn again.

    Won’t play against Bama.

    Ok you are Auburn, you have an opportunity to win with Newton, or maybe not without him.

    What matters, beating Bama or taking a chance for later?

    Knowing the importance of the Bama game to Auburn what would you expect to happen?

  14. the Coondawg

    I think they sit him and this is why…

    A.J. was caught selling a jersey, that was his, to a guy who he befriended on Facebook. This came about due to the NCAA investigating a rumor he was in Florida talking to an agent. Now, as an NCAA Investigator, it seems the investigation into his rumored trip to Miami a simple one. Show me proof you were not their son. He shows his alibi, friends, family phone records to prove he was always in the State and the investigation is done. Problem is, they investigate everything. As it is difficult to explain to an Auburn fan that Cam “may” be clean in regards to “these” rumors. This doesn’t really say he is coming off scott free. Cam has a terrible past and you would hope he cleaned his act up. Is it possible???? Yeah, Is it reeeeaaaalllly possible??? Nah.
    The NCAA and FBI will find that Cam walked, talked, traveled, paid, got paid, met with, played with, ate with, slept with, rode with someone or something he was not supposed to and for that….the anvil will fall.

    Auburn was warned that possible violations have occurred. They can bench him now and step away from the whole thing and let the investigation play out. If someone on staff was found to be a part of this….he/she is fired or punished properly.

    If they play him, they are in this whole sordid tale much like the getaway driver on a bank robbery and I believe they will get hammered. The SEC/NCAA will lay a helmet to helmet on Auburn and Mississippi because of how bad this has made the league look.

    I think somewhere in the Auburn Athletic Office is someone that is able to see the whole picture after taking his tainted AuburnTigerPlainsmanWarEagle glasses off.

    I think he sits. If they start their Offensive series with Cam behind center….man, it’s gonna be a helluva week!

  15. The 3rd Richt

    I hope he plays and I hope we lay it on him! Go ahead, get a couple of roughing the passer penalties if you have to but put his @$$ in the dirt. Houston-at least 3 sacks. Better yet, let Houston grab the bottom half and let Ogletree lay out the top half. Then let Dent take that silly smile off his face. WarDamnJunkyardDawgs!!!

  16. Siskey

    What about the bigger picture ramifications? Meaning that this year we have already seen numerous teams hit with player suspensions for agent activity including two SEC teams. We have as a conference long enjoyed the reputation as the most crooked conference with Alabama and Auburn being the most crooked. Could there concieviably be a conference ban ? I really doubt this but the conference as a whole won’t come out of this looking good.

    • Elmer Gantry

      You make a good point. Why don’t we just kick Alabama and Auburn out of the Southeastern Conference? That would mostly clean the conference up right there. Let in FSU and Miami to take their place….wait, maybe not those two…..How about letting in SMU and Texas A&M…no….that doesn’t work either….How about USC from the Pac-Ten?….Oh, forget it!

    • Curious… Are Auburn and Alabama honestly considered the most crooked in the conference?

      I don’t disagree, but I just wanted to start a little mini-discussion on that question.

      • Siskey

        In my opinion yes, they are the last two to receive post season bans. Off hand I remember that Florida too was banned in the early 90s. So any combination of the three being the most crooked or at least the worst at getting away with it.

        • Siskey

          Although according to a list I just saw we are second to Auburn in major infractions. Looks like they’ll be putting a little more space between us soon though.

  17. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Auburn’s first TD Commings gets blocked in the back–no call.

  18. Mayor of Dawgtown

    2nd half. Onside kick. Player on left of Aburn line clearly offside. No call.

  19. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Fairley is a dirty player. He hit Murray late all game and the refs didn’t call it for the most part. I was glad to see some fight in the UGA players about that at the end. Bottom line, SEC refs did another bad job.