“This is not,” one SEC official said before the game, “a black and white issue.”

I think you can guess which game that comment preceded.

Camgate is Mike Slive’s worst nightmare, because there’s so much at stake and because he’s got no control over where it goes from here.  It may not be a black and white issue for his office, but the question is whether the NCAA agrees with the SEC’s perspective.  So it’s reasonable to assume that most of his current ire is directed not towards Auburn, but Mississippi State for letting the genie out of the bottle, so to speak.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few things and see where the mess stands:

  • Nobody linked to Auburn is talking about it publicly anymore.  Not Gene Chizik, not Cam Newton, and certainly not Cecil Newton.  That doesn’t mean the press isn’t going to keep digging.  It’s too juicy a story to ignore, as much as the Auburn faithful may wish for it to go away.
  • The NCAA is meeting with Kenny Rogers this week.  The FBI interviews John Bond.  So for anyone to conclude that Auburn playing Newton this past Saturday is proof that the school’s due diligence turned up nothing that affected his eligibility is premature (or perhaps wishful) thinking.
  • The New York Times points out that there’s a lot of money tied to Newton’s success.
  • “There’s also the question of the impact of allegations that Newton committed academic fraud during his two years at Florida; if true, the NCAA will be interested in “whether the class grade went toward academic eligibility and if that grade was impacted negatively,” according to NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn, who said she was speaking in general terms.”
  • And the BCS picture has to be troubling for Slive, as well.  After Auburn, there is but a single one-loss SEC team, LSU.  And the Tigers still have to travel to Arkansas for the last game of the regular season.  If things break the wrong way, there could be a bunch of two-loss and three-loss teams which obviously won’t be considered for the title game and may not have strong enough resumes to generate a second team for the rest of the BCS slate.
  • All of which leads me to a couple of questions which popped into my head before I fell asleep last night.  Let’s say that (1) the NCAA finds that Cecil Newton’s solicitation of money from MSU representatives is a violation of NCAA regs such that Cam is declared ineligible; (2) that ruling from the NCAA doesn’t come until after the Iron Bowl but before the SECCG; (3) Auburn elects to play Newton in the Iron Bowl (if they let him play against Georgia, he’s playing against Alabama, right?) and wins; and (4) Auburn’s knowledge of rules violations is limited to what it was warned about this past week by the NCAA.  So, if the final decision made is to vacate Auburn’s last two regular season wins – vacate as opposed to forfeit, that is -  which team represents the SEC West in the SECCG?  After all, Auburn would stay undefeated in SEC play.  And if the Newton-less Tigers were to win the SEC championship and remain undefeated, would they play in the BCS title game?
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67 Comments

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

67 responses to ““This is not,” one SEC official said before the game, “a black and white issue.”

  1. Russ

    We can only hope it turns out so that both Auburn and Slive get the maximum burnage. Neither are very high on my list.

  2. Castleberry

    I had a similar thought over the weekend. Same scenario, but what if he’s declared ineligible after Auburn wins the SECCG and is selected for a bowl??? What if it’s after tickets are sold???

  3. X-Dawg

    IMO, your last bullet point is a “best case” scenario for Auburn. Personally, I want to see the nuclear option tossed at them. Auburn needs to call SMU to find out how they dealt with their version of CFB hell.

  4. Dante

    Auburn is hoping to push this as far as possible so they can pick up as many big-money allies as possible. Right now, the SEC is already on their side because of the financial ramifications. If they can last through the SEC Championship Game and beat Bama and South Carolina in the process, they’ll have the BCS on their side, too.

    @X-Dawg, the last people Auburn needs to ask about how to handle rules violations is SMU. SMU’s problem wasn’t its violations. It was their utter disregard for anything the NCAA did to them. SMU didn’t stop paying players just because the NCAA told them to. They decided to sundown the process by paying those they already committed to paying but no longer paying incoming athletes. The NCAA was not amused.

  5. To address that scenario, LSU wins the West (assuming they also don’t drop their last two games, in which case it’s Alabama if they beat Auburn, Arkansas if they don’t). Here’s why: vacating wins is out. In the past when teams had to vacate wins, it was because they played players who were unknowingly ineligible. Auburn has been advised of his eligibility risk and are playing him anyway. They just forfeited the Georgia game and will vacate the prior ten. So Auburn (per the scenario where something definite is handed down) is entering the Iron Bowl at 0-1. Even if they beat Alabama without him, 1-1 is not a better record than LSU, Arkansas, or Alabama has.

    • In the past when teams had to vacate wins, it was because they played players who were unknowingly ineligible.

      In the case of USC and Reggie Bush, wasn’t it a closer call than that? Wasn’t part of the issue that the RB coach knew what was going on, at least somewhat?

      In any event, it should make for some interesting motivation speeches from Miles, Saban and Petrino to their teams, no?

      • That’s a good point. One key difference is the NCAA had not contacted USC during Bush’s tenure to say “these are the risks if you play him.”

  6. CASHFORCAM

    CHIZIK KNEW!

  7. Bryant Denny

    Good think you guys aren’t listening to Rick & Bubba this morning.

    My goodness…did they watch the same game as everyone else?

    In a nutshell, Georgia has a bunch of thugs and Chizik is a great man and coach for saying how embarrassed he is.

    Wow. Not one mention of Fairley’s dirty play.

    BD

  8. Bryant Denny

    You’ve got it pegged, Senator. MSU is going down and Auburn is being protected. There’s too much money involved.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Maybe, but the NCAA has no vested interest in Auburn’s success, and they’re the ones who will ultimately make the determination on eligibility and whether or not probation is warranted. All they have to do is establish that Auburn at least knew about Cecil shopping his son. If someone flips on Auburn and confirms they not only knew, but paid for Cam’s services they’ll come down on Auburn hard. MSU may get dinged a little, but at worst I think it’ll be a few scholarships for three years.

  9. D.N. Nation

    Would the SEC like to comment on the rash of cheap shots on Georgia players?

    No?

    Okay, then. Keep it up, fellas!

  10. Scorpio Jones, III

    “Academic fraud at Florida”…..

    Secret meeting at Worldwide Order of Weasels HQ in Bowling Green. (yeah, who knew?) via teleconference.

    Urb: “Look, Gene, we’re gonna have to drop a coin or two on you guys to get the NCAA off our butts about the academic thingy. I tried to warn you, remember?”

    Gene: “Hell, Urb, academic? Awbun is all in, and I don’t mean in class…we don’t worry about that stuff, but what do you know about Cecil?”

    Pet: “You boys seen Erick Ramsey?”

    Dan: “Gene, remember I called you about this? I promised not to tell, but they made me, and Urb said it was ok, but I feel bad.

    Urb: Timmy would never have let this happen. Guys I have to go get my blood pressure checked.

  11. heyberto

    Wow.. this may not exactly be the place for this… an Auburn fan sent me this. I hadn’t looked at Bleacher Report in some time, and was actually surprised at home bad they were. I had really forgotten.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/517057-georgia-auburn-gets-ugly-why-richt-must-go

    • Normaltown Mike

      What garbage. You know its gonna be bad when the article begins with: “it all started with just over two minutes…”.

      No dipshit. It all started when Murray was pile driven (starting in the 1st QTR), speared (3rd QTR) and chopped (4th QTR). What’s more, the 4th QTR hit was a full step after the throw and required Nick Felony to angle his body away from momentum towards the knee.

      Which is nothing to say of sCam punching a Safety in the 1st QTR (Rambo?).

      Then he goes into the litany of 11 “arrests”. Funny, that’s fewer than the the 13 citations sCam got at Flarduh.

      As a native of Atlanta, I grew up with many Auburn people. They are good people. I never knew or came into contact with the Alabama natives that pull for Dirty Birds/Kitty Kats (save for when I go to full service stations in route to Destin). The craven defense by the rank and file Barners of the stinking mess that is this team proves how myopic-kid-brother the mentality is of those “people” that reside in the state to our West and pull for the Dirty Bird/Kitty Kats.

      • It should be noted that that particular article is associated with the Georgia bloggers and not the Auburn ones. I think the point of the article was to provide a reason to fire Richt, not to elevate Auburn.

      • heyberto

        Very well said. This was so far over the top, even for BR standards… +1 to you sir.

    • Zdawg

      I make it a point never to click on any BR links. Total trash. Playing into their hands by going there and reading it.

  12. Richard

    I’m with X-Dawg on the thermo-nuclear option for that Lee County bunch.

  13. AlcoholicGenius

    Statement just released by Chizik:

    “Too weak to break the chains that bind me
    I need no shackles to remind me
    I’m just a prisoner of love
    For one command I stand and wait now
    From one who’s master of my fate now
    I can’t escape for it’s too late now
    I’m just a prisoner of love”

    – James Brown, 1967

  14. Normaltown Mike

    Senator:
    I’d like to propose, if I may be so bold, a word to describe that “school” in Lee County, Alabama adjacent to Opelika.

    To wit: SPAPOLA (pronounced /ˈspæ-pə-loʊ/)
    noun: Sanction Prone Alabama Polytechnic Of Lower Alabama

  15. Irishdawg

    I’m hoping Auburn gets absolutely ass-raped by the NCAA over this. Newton’s dirty, Auburn knows he’s dirty, and they just don’t care. Auburn fans know it, Chizik knows it, and none of them give a shit.

  16. 69Dawg

    The only reason there is even a chance that Auburn will be in trouble in any way is that the NCAA has no dog in the BCS fight. If this was basketball nothing would happen. NCAA basketball is so corrupt that the fans need to shower after the games as much as the players.

    Let’s look at the best case for Auburn. NCAA can’t find out that the money in Cecil’s church/off-shore account came from Auburn. They do however choose to believe two coaches that if they lie to the NCAA will never coach in college again. Then Cam is ineligible by rule. If the NCAA makes Auburn forfeit the UGA game because they were on notice and played him anyway, and he can’t play at Bama and Bama kills them, LSU goes to SECCG if they win out.

    Worst case for College Football is the NCAA does it’s usual slow ass thing and Auburn runs the table and you’ve got USC and Bush all over again. If I’m the Heisman Committee and the NCAA is even sniffing Cam I’m eleminating him from consideration.

    • Biggus Rickus

      The problem with that is if they don’t come up with anything, you’d have egg on your face. The Heisman voters are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Unless some kind of ruling comes out before the voting deadline.

      • NRBQ

        If I had a vote, there’s not a chance in Hell I would cast it Cam’s way.

        Putting the play-for-pay issue aside, we know he possessed stolen property and tried to hide the evidence from the Po-po, that he cheated academically, and that he’s an extreme repeat offender in regards to traffic laws.

        Isn’t the Trophy supposed to be about more than performance on the field?

        • Biggus Rickus

          I don’t necessarily disagree with that, but dinging him for stuff that happened two years ago and he may have learned from (or maybe Auburn police sweep things under rugs for the football program) is somewhat unfair. Now, I think it’s highly likely he will be declared ineligible at some point in December or January and wouldn’t vote for him because of that, but I can understand why some Heisman voters are hesitant to vote against him.

  17. Keese

    Senator…so let’s say Auburn goes on and continues to play Cam and wins the SECCG and BCS…and is later stripped of those wins, the SEC would still keep the large payout from the BCS?

    Looks like Slive is on Auburn’s side. Conflict of interests? Probably so. This will get real, real ugly. A systemic atomic bomb is going to go off in college football, and in multiple directions.

    The devil be messin’ indeed.

  18. Julie

    I think Auburn has for months been banking on MSU not following up on the reporting of the shakedown by Cecil so that they wouldn’t be any more sullied than they are. It’s an easy question to answer: If Cam really, really wanted to play for MSU and it wasn’t willing to pony up, and assuming that no other team had the Brinks truck heading to the the church, then why isn’t Cam at MSU? It is in damage control mode now, and the MSU athletic director can’t get a catapult big enough to throw the Newtons and Auburn under the bus, and you know the two assistant coaches have probably signed off on affidavits sitting at the NCAA offices right now. That, coupled with Kenny Rogers, John Bond, the MSU grad Bell, plus cell phone records, credit card receipts, etc. will leave a trail of dollar bills right down I-85. Auburn’s “due diligence” was no diligence. Chizik’s, Newton’s, and Fairley’s behavior during the last two minutes of the game was all I had to see to convince me there is a complete and utter lack of institutional control at the Loveliest Village. This is not going to go away, and I bet Slive wishes he had done something about this abortion back in July.

  19. AlcoholicGenius

    Julie, will you marry me?

  20. Sefdawg

    I suppose the difference will be between vacating and forfeiting, but what if the Dawgs screw the pooch against the yellow jackets, then the rulling comes against the Tigers. Would we go from 5-7 and no bowl to 6-6 and low tier eligible? Or does this past Saturday cease to exist all together? And if so, what of our stats? Is Boykin truly the all time return yardage leader at that point, etc?

  21. Big Shock

    This is off subject, but did anyone that attended the game at Auburn enjoys seeing people tailgating everywhere, on the sidewalks, in every open field, all around the stadium. Reminded me of how Athens used to be on gameday, with people everywhere, standing around grills and fires, watching games on the TV, and generally enjoying a game like a college fan should. You feel like you see everyone you know walking to the game…even got to interact with the folks in the RVs. Really put in perspective how much worse the gameday experience has gotten in Athens with the parking garages and open container laws, etc.

  22. Dubyadee

    How poetic. Plainsmen see flaming Toomer’s Corner as metaphor for Cam’s assault on the SEC. They find out only too late that it’s a metaphor for what Cam has done to Auburn.

    • Bulldog Joe

      The burning bush is a message from the NCAA that Newton is to lead the Auburnites out of contention and back into probation.

  23. Bulldog Joe

    Nothing will be done about it until the BCS bowl checks are cashed.

  24. slive sux

    The check is mightier than the hoard.