I picked on him yesterday, but Clay Travis raises an interesting point in today’s Camgate post:
The Southeastern Conference bylaws offer specific language that could render Auburn quarterback Cam Newton ineligible to play any sport at all league institutions. That’s what careful study of the Ethical Conduct provision of the SEC bylaws has revealed to FanHouse. In particular, Section 14.01.3.2 dealing with Financial Aid states (bold added for emphasis):
“If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference (except such aid or assistance as such student-athlete may receive from those persons on whom the student is naturally or legally dependent for support), such student- athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career.”
It has been alleged that Cecil Newton, who is Cam Newton’s father, solicited payment for his son to attend Mississippi State. If this is true, a clear reading of this SEC bylaw would suggest that in making this demand “a student-athlete or any member of his/her family … agrees to receive, directly or directly,” an improper benefit that would rule him ineligible not just at the school in question but at all schools in the conference in every sport. A solicitation is a request or encouragement of another to perform an act. If Cecil Newton solicited Mississippi State then he agreed to receive the improper benefits by nature of the solicitation.
It’s that “agrees to receive” that’s the nub. Clay argues that’s implicit in making a solicitation in the first place, but what little I remember from my first year contracts class in law school is that it takes an offer and acceptance to reach an agreement.
I will say that if Clay’s right, Slive doesn’t seem to be as lacking in authority to act as he claims he is. And perhaps it’s somewhat revealing that the commissioner who isn’t afraid to throw his weight around when coaches snipe at each other – or more relevantly, when a member school reports information on a potential violation directly to the NCAA instead of going through league channels – seems reluctant to involve himself more in what could turn out to be one of the biggest scandals in SEC history.