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?