Cecil’s aggression will not stand, man.

I mentioned before in the context of Mike Slive’s faux concern over his hands being tied in regards to Cecil Newton’s shopping his son to the highest bidder – those damned ineffective regulations! – that it’s hard to see what steps the grand poobahs of enforcement could take to make college athletics a better world in that regard.

It’s not that they can’t rewrite the regs to give themselves more authority to do something.  John Infante has a few suggested changes you can read here.  They’re fine as far as they go, but the real issue is whether the NCAA and the SEC have the stomachs to enforce them.

Judge for yourself.

… NCAA president Mark Emmert discussed his organization’s ruling last week that reinstated Auburn quarterback Cam Newton without penalty, even though the NCAA said his father had solicited money from Mississippi State in exchange for his son signing a letter of intent. Emmert argued the facts, or the lack of them, compelled the NCAA’s decision, even as that decision “stretches credibility.”

“The burden of proof that we have to rely on before we make a decision that affects a university, a young man, a program, or a young woman in a program, is obviously greater than someone who writes in a blog or somebody who has heard a rumor or has a story,” said Dr. Emmert, speaking speaking before the commissioners.

I may write in a blog, but I’m not an idiot.  No one contests that Cecil Newton had his hands out for a six-figure payment.  We’re way past a burden of proof threshold.  Far enough past it that even Emmert admits in a nice turn of phrase that the NCAA’s ruling “stretches credibility.” I’m curious what part of it remains credible.

For whatever reason, in this case college athletics’ organizing body and the SEC were reluctant to enforce the rules on the books (does anyone really believe that neither has ever pondered the issue of a parent or relative seeking bids for a student-athlete’s services before?).  So what are a few new sentences in the guidebook going to do?

And I’m not sure that’s even necessary.  Jim Delany, arguably the biggest prick in college athletics and a former NCAA investigator, has a suggestion that makes a lot of sense.

… Delany, a former NCAA investigator, said, “Nobody likes the facts of this case.” He suggested that the rule be changed to put the burden of proof on the future Auburns and future Newtons. That’s what the NCAA does in infractions cases. It has not been as demanding in eligibility cases.

“In the eligibility area, there’s a tendency to look at the welfare of the athlete,” Delany said. “I agree with that. But then it comes to a point where certain circumstances, certain facts emerge, then the reversal of that presumption is appropriate.”

What I like about that is it takes the decision out of the hands of parties that may be compromised by, shall we say, market forces and makes it the responsibility of those who have the most at stake to prove their hands are clean.  Instead of having an incentive to cover up and hide (and I’m not saying that’s what occurred with the Newtons and Auburn, because I don’t know, obviously), the player and the school become obligated to prove that a violation didn’t take place.

It’s not a politically correct solution, though, which means it’s unlikely to see the light of day, Delany’s power notwithstanding.  Emmert’s walking a tightrope here.  He doesn’t have a lot of friends with the NCAA’s call and any attempt to offer a solution that is little more than window dressing is likely to be met with more skepticism.  Or maybe something even stronger.  We’ve still got showboating Congressmen out there, right?

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22 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

22 responses to “Cecil’s aggression will not stand, man.

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    Senator, you have observed before (more or less) that the only way the NCAA can salvage any credibility out of this mess is to keep digging away at Newton until they find something they can adjudicate beyond putting some sort of vague restrictions on Newton’s father.

    Seems to still seem true to me.

    On the other hand, wouldn’t finding something worse make them look even more stupid?

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    If you shift the burden of proof in individual eligibility cases, I feel like you’d be tempting a pretty fair due process constitutional argument, at least at state schools.

    • Is the NCAA bound by due process?

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        I’m thinking there could be some bootstrapping from the NCAA to the college or vice versa. “Mr. College President: you may accept the NCAA bylaws, but that does not relieve you of your legal duty.”

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          Most NCAA schools are state universities which are agencies of state government. I do not know if that would be enough of a state action connection but logic tells me that a bunch of state agencies cannot form an organization and allow that organization to act for them, then collectively, through the organization, violate someone’s due process rights and then claim their organization is a private entity.

      • Scorpio Jones, III

        Nope.

  3. Go Dawgs!

    I still contend that Cam Newton should already have been ruled ineligible based solely on the fact that Cecil Newton admitted to soliciting money. The way I read the NCAA statutes, that’s all it takes. The idea that he did it at Mississippi State and not Auburn seems to me to be a fabrication of a loophole, not an actual loophole itself. Either way, it’s laughable to think Cecil solicited funds from MSU and nobody else. It’s further laughable to think that Cam, he of the laptop theft and the (ahem… alleged) academic fraud at Florida, is just an innocent bystander. Especially when people came forward claiming that he said his dad was making him go to Auburn because of the money. Whether that’s the failed bid at MSU or anything at Auburn is immaterial, if he said that, clearly he knew what was up. Perhaps that’s hearsay and wouldn’t stand up in a court of law. The NCAA isn’t a court of law.

    • Silver Creek Doug

      That’s the way the rules were explained to me when I was recruited in a non-revenue sport 20 years ago.

      The distinction here is family. If Rogers had put his hand out without the Newtons’ knowledge, that’s one thing and I can accept the NCAA ruling. The fact that it was a Newton family member makes it something different and the NCAA ruling becomes laughable.

      • The Realist

        Exactly. If it were Rogers, then screw him and leave the Newtons alone…

        But, it’s Cecil, who admittedly made the decision where to sign. That’s a violation of Newton’s eligibility. The Auburn program doesn’t even enter into it. They may be clean as a whistle (chuckle), but Newton should have been ruled ineligible. Why he was not is incomprehensible.

        • Macallanlover

          You guys nailed it, there is no ambiquity in this. The rule was violated pure and simple, it was not necessary to prove Cam knew. I agree that had it been Rogers soliciting alone, the NCAA would have some legs to stand on. This ruling cannot be allowed to stand or the NCAA will have lost all control of the enforcement of this issue. Odd since the new Prez wanted to use 2010 to establish firm control of this issue and now he has made a fool of himself in the very first incident. Emmert will have to develop a taste for crow, I don’t see another option.

          • Go Dawgs!

            It’s no stretch to say that this ruling, if it stands, will just lead to uncles and dads and all sorts of people soliciting money “behind their sons’ backs”. That’s not some paranoid fantasy, that’s just obvious truth.

            I also don’t think it is any stretch to say Cecil learned of the chance that the rules would be interpreted this way, and admitted only what he had to in order to take the heat off of Cam and get him through to the NFL Draft in the best shape possible.

  4. Biggus Rickus

    Isn’t demanding that a school prove a negative kind of an impossible standard?

  5. Bryant Denny

    I contend that if Auburn had lost a game down the stretch, before or after the scandal hit, he would have been flushed.

    When Auburn kept winning, all the SEC saw was dollar signs.

    • Russ

      Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

      I agree 100%. That’s also why I think they’ll drop the hammer next summer, after all the checks are cashed.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Word on the street is that the FBI is investigating Bobby Louder for bank fraud and came up with evidence that clearly shows money paid by Louder to Cecil Newton. That has not been released to the public yet because of the ongoing criminal investigation of Louder. It will be released when the investigation and/or prosecution of Louder is finished. That may take a couple of years but when the evidence comes out it will demonstrate beyond any doubt, not just a reasonable doubt, that Cam is dirty. Bye-bye undefeated season. Bye-bye Heisman trophy. Forfeit all games played. Forfeit any championship(s) won. Too late, though, as Auburn will continue to claim in all its literature that season’s victories and championship(s). The media will let them skate, too (Auburn coaches, players and fans “didn’t know,” etc.). Auburn will get all the benefits as if it was an honest victim of the situation. Just wait and see. It will make you want to throw up. The only way for this to come out justly is for Auburn to get the death penalty. Louder is so entrenched at Auburn that maybe the NCAA will treat it as if the school itself paid the money. Also, one has to believe that Cheezit was in on it all along. Hard to prove unless someone rolls over, though.

        • almightytmc1

          Well, Lowder is the Chairman of the finance committee at Auburn. And Pat Dye was on the board at Colonial bank. So basically all of the money was coming out of Bobby’s pockets. In one way or another.

  6. MinnesotaDawg

    I’m clearly not as familiar with the rules as Delany and these other administrators, but seems to me that in this one, there really is no need to shift the burden of proof re the violation. How about just shift the burden of proving the “mitigating circumstances” (“He just didn’t know!”) to the accused (Newton)–using some sort of a more-likely-than-not standard. This approach is consistent with the treatment in most legal treatments, wouldn’t require a change in the rules, and seems to be a fair one going forward. Would Cam, Auburn, and the Newton gang have a pretty tough time in this case? Probably…but isn’t that part of the problem here?

    Of course, this solution would only be reasonable if you take the NCAA at it’s word–that it really is chagrined at the result here.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Oh I think they are chagrined….at the way everybody in the known world has seen through their elaborately created verbiage smokescreen.

      It are a brave new world out here, NCAA.