Barnhart spins for the NCAA.

While the overall point that Tony Barnhart makes in his utterly predictable post about the NCAA’s ruling in the Newton case – that the organization can only act upon what it can prove – is incontestable, there are a couple of whoppers in there that deserve to be challenged.

Like this one:

… But remember that a slippery slope can slide both ways. If the NCAA punished School A because a father solicted money from School B (and no money changed hands and school A didn’t even know the solicitation took place), now you have another slippery slope where the possibilities are endless. If I’m a recruiter at school B and lost a recruit to school A, when the head coach starts chewing on my butt I can just put it out there that the parent solicited money from me and get school A in trouble and take the heat off me…

Wait a minute.  On that one narrow point, that Cecil Newton solicited benefits for himself from Mississippi State, this ain’t no “he said, she said” situation.  Nobody, including the Newtons and Auburn University, is disputing that version of events.  So Barnhart’s example of how the slope supposedly slides both ways here for the poor ol’ NCAA is total BS.  In fact, in this very case, we have an actual example of how reality works.  The NCAA chose only to believe half of Kenny Rogers’/the unnamed MSU recruiters’ stories about Cecil’s behavior.  They chose not to act on the alleged statements attributed to the Newtons that the money was better at Auburn, presumably because no corroborating evidence could be found.

There is only one slope worth being concerned about sliding down here.

Second, as a Georgia fan who watched the school pay a price for Green’s jersey sale, this really pisses me off:

… We know that the mere solicitation is a violation of amateurism rules, which is why Auburn had to suspend Newton on Tuesday. An NCAA representative told me the knowledge, or the lack thereof, of the athlete is a “mitigating factor” in whether or not the athlete is eventually reinstated.

But can you punish a school that is not involved in that solicitation simply because the athlete chose that school? Do you at least have to have evidence that the school did something wrong?

So in both instances we’ve got violations of amateurism rules that the schools were unaware of when they occurred.  Is Barnhart arguing that Georgia shouldn’t have been punished then, either?  No, because earlier he notes the difference is that money actually changed hands in the case of Green.  But if that’s the case, why should it matter if the school did something wrong?

The problem with his reasoning is that technically it’s not the school being punished.  It’s the athlete’s amateur status that’s at risk.  The school is an innocent victim if the NCAA decides to act.  Is that fair?  I’d argue that if all the high minded talk about preserving amateurism is meant to be taken seriously – and don’t forget that Auburn, last time I checked, is a proud member of the NCAA and benefits quite handsomely from the system that is supposedly being defended here – then, yes, it is fair.  From the standpoint of consistency, it’s certainly more fair than saying a school’s ignorance of a violation matters in one situation and is irrelevant in another.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The NCAA

50 responses to “Barnhart spins for the NCAA.

  1. Reptillicide

    I honestly think that Barnhart has gotten to the point where he won’t criticize what needs to be criticized for fear of jeopardizing his standing with his “sources.” I’m sick of the Newton apologists out there.

    • mwo

      You are exactly right, TB kisses every available arse to secure information from them. If that is what he wants, I am proud for him. Myself, I would rather keep my self respect and my sack.

  2. Normaltown Mike

    Tony Barnhart explains auto purchase protocol and slippery slopes:
    -So you give the guy the money and take the keys, but you don’t ask for the car title because that slippery slope goes both ways. What if he starts asking you to prove the authenticity of the money you paid him? You don’t know if its counterfeit or if the US Treasury can in fact honor that obligation so you don’t go down that slippery slope of asking about the car title.

    • Keese

      If this is not a court of law and the bylaws are subject to interpretation, what is the difference between this case involving money versus a player ineligible for academics from another school (such as a false transcript from high school or transferring colleges). It may not be the current school’s fault but the player is ineligible none the less.

  3. hodgie

    This case will make the “amateur” part of college athletics that much harder to police. I predict we will see MAJOR changes to college sports because of cases like this one.

  4. Bad M

    Barnhart is almost more of an idiot than the NCAA. Auburn doesn’t have to be punished to enforce the rules. Cam Newton shouldn’t play. His father violated a rule, and as a family member, that makes Cam ineligible. According to the rules. This in no way punishes the school. It doesn’t take away wins, scholarships, bowls, TV, etc. What happens on the field is pure speculation and the NCAA shouldn’t be involved in that. Whether or not this is a starting QB or a back up punter shouldn’t fit into that equation. It would have been a tougher call had this come out after the season…how do you punish a player after he leaves…but they know about it NOW and they should do something about it.

    • Adam

      I agree with this, but (again pointing to the AJ situation), think that the culpability for the school comes, at a minimum, when they become aware of the situation and know that the player may later be deemed ineligible. In this case, that (at a minimum) would require vacating the wins against Georgia and Bama (which is fair to the school, just as it would have been fair to vacate Georgia’s win against UL-La if we’d played AJ despite knowing what was going on) and holding him out of the SEC CG and the bowl.

  5. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Barnhart has become a shill for the NCAA and the SEC. Shame on him.

  6. Biggus Rickus

    This is what kills me: the NCAA allowed for mitigating factors to influence this decision. The mitigating factors in this case being that neither Cam nor Auburn had any knowledge of Cecil shopping his son, as far as the NCAA can prove. However, this is not a fucking court of law. Shouldn’t the likelihood of the claim that neither Auburn nor Cam knew be factored as well? Am I to believe that the committee deemed it more likely that neither entity knew? Am I to believe they are that naive? Or is there some standard by which you have to have absolute proof when weighing the issue?

    • King Jericho

      People are thinking too hard about this. This isn’t a court of law and the NCAA can interpret it’s own rules however it wants. They are, after all, a business and looking to do what’s in the best interest of the business. There’s no checks-and-balances in play here and it’s not like we can just succeed from the NCAA if they feed us horse shit like this. They are an absolute monopoly with absolute power. It’s really hard for the corruption not to exist. There’s got to be a way to build a case on this whole thing to sue the NCAA, but where would we go if we do happen to get rid of the NCAA?

      This would be no different if I organized a paper football league in my office and started making matchups between all my co-workers. Outsiders would come and watch, I could charge admission, I could get sponsors and advertisers to come in, I could even have it broadcast in my break room for those that don’t want to travel all the way to the conference room to see the match. There’s a huge hyped up match between Bill and Joe brewing since both are very good and a lot of people are talking about how excited they would be if they finally got to play each other. It turns out Bill is actually an accountant from next door and by the rules that I made in the beginning, can’t play in the game, but I determine that since he’s done work for our office and I can’t prove that he works next door, I’ll allow it, but Bill can’t park in his parking space before the big game. Everyone still gets to see their superstar, Bill, compete against the self-proclaimed greatest player of all time, Joe, I get paid bank because all of the advertisers and tickets are selling much better than they would have if Sally was playing instead of Bill, and the integrity of my league is intact (or so I thought).

      That was a really dumb example, but it’s exactly like what’s happening. I started this thing for fun and competition, but it escalated quickly and when I saw the money that I was able to make by giving the people what they want, I knew what had to be done to keep milking that cash cow.

      • Biggus Rickus

        I don’t really see what financial stake the NCAA has in this. Shouldn’t they get the same cut of television revenue and what not no matter who plays where?

        • King Jericho

          I’ve got to be honest that I’m not 100% sure how the revenue ultimately works out, but I’ve got to think there’s a trickle-down effect somewhere in there. As in, having the top 2 teams in the MNC game this year is going to give the networks better numbers, thus going forward, they’ll be able to charge advertisers in 2011 based on the great numbers they got in 2010. And as we saw in the ratings earlier, this Cam Newton thing has been GREAT for numbers, so having the him sit out for the 2 highest watched games of the year would have to cost you somewhere. There has to be some sort of ratings : cost of advertising ratio that would mean more money.

          Plus there’s going to be a lot of bandwagon merchandise purchased, etc., etc., etc.

      • Sally

        You screwed me man, you screwed me!!!!

  7. Scorpio Jones, III


    You just don’t understand. Tony Barndoor could be banned from the lunch buffet at the SEC Championship game or the champagne brunch at the BCS national championship if he takes a contrarian view of an NCAA ruling.

    What really amazes me is that people actually asign some sort of value to Tony or Brad/Schultz.

    It’s fun to pick them apart, I guess, but at the end of the day doing that, to me, is like stepping on ants.

    What’s the point?

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agreed. Mr. College Football talks out of his a$$ all day. It’s pretty amazing actually. Why would anyone listen to or read his blather. Same guy who went to florida’s camp and came back reporting Brantley to Debose was the combo for winning the sec east this year.

    • Zdawg

      My favorite Tony article is him telling us that after putting up with gator players and fans trash talking sh*t for 20 years, I should be upset that our D coordinator made a choking sign to their kicker.

  8. Normaltown Mike

    You can’t spell amateur without Auburn.

  9. Mr. Tu

    I guess it makes no difference to the NCAA that the man doing the shopping of his son was the man who ultimately made the decision on where his son went to school

    • Marmot

      No, it doesn’t matter to the NCAA. They are just interested in the actual receipt of extra-benefits and any unfair advantage those benefits provide. Should they care about more than that?

      • Mr. Tu

        If that is true, then why was Cam initially ruled inegible at all, before he was re-instated? There is no evidence of “receipt of extra benefits” in this case.

        • Bulldog Bry

          THAT is the question I’d like for them to answer……….

          • Marmot

            Auburn ruled him ineligible and the NCAA immediately responded with “that won’t be necessary but thanks for fulfilling your duty as an NCAA governed institution”. Just following protocol in an orchestrated lets-get-this-resolved-before-the-SECCG-and-Heisman move between Auburn, the SEC and the NCAA. The message is basically that the NCAA doesn’t have time for this s*** (call them when someone gets paid) but they had to do something since it had become a national story. The inside story from unconfirmed sources is that Auburn vetted Cam’s recruitment from the very beginning with the NCAA (thus Cam’s dad doesn’t come with Cam on his Auburn visit, which seemed strange at the time). I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it explains the pass Auburn is getting here.

  10. slive sux

    Cheating pays / ncaa .The sec (ncaa) always protects the high rated team. Is all about the money. The time has come to let the switzers,holtz,fords (auburn, smu too) of the world be the face of cfb/cbb. Kiffin and Harrick will be a superstars with these rules .

    • W Cobb Dawg

      “sec …protects the high rated team”.

      SOS is going to be tearing that visor apart on Saturday. Ya know the refs are warming up their flag throwing arms right now.

  11. Pumpdawg

    Y’all leave Tony alone.He IS Mr. College Football.Or haven’t y’all heard?

  12. MinnesotaDawg

    Its the double-talk and hypocrisy that goad me. The SEC and the NCAA want it both ways. From both entities and media shills like TB, you hear resigned suggestions that this outcome was a result of a “loophole” under current rule. They’d lead us to believe it’s the RULES that need to be fixed, and that this result, although problematic, is out of their hands.

    HOWEVER, under the NCAA rules, Newton could be ruled ineligible for violation of the amateurism (in fact, he was on Monday). And the SEC could rule him ineligible based on a reasonable reading of its by-laws. Nevertheless, the NCAA needlessly goes out of its way to rule him eligible because of “mitigating” circumstances: insufficient proof of knowledge by Cam himself. BTW, in almost all legal cases, the mitigating factor must be proven by the ACCUSED rather than the accuser. But based on the NCAA’s own language (insufficient proof of Cam’s knowledge), its very clear that they never passed that burden on to Newton.

    Then the SEC determines that they can’t revoke eligibility either. Not because a rule doesn’t exist–but because Slive goes out of his way to interpret the rule in a very narrow way (despite the fact that their is no precedent for any such interpretation–as he notes), such that Newton is off the hook again. Slive’s rationalization for such an interpretation is essentially that bad application of the rule (by who? Slive and the SEC!) might result in bad results later on. I guess we’re supposed to ignore THIS result.

    For all his hypocritical finger-wagging and head shaking, Slive’s justifications, arguments, and findings sound like they’re straight from the mouth of Auburn counsel. In other words, Slive is full of shit.

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Plus several….obviously cold weather does not impair your thinking.

      • Tired Dawg

        To follow up with Minnesota Dawg: In the Travis article cited earlier, Slive directly states: “To the extent that the current legislation is not thorough enough, we are going to work to get national legislation passed to close this loophole,”.

        So, you’re going to close a loophole you just waltzed right through . . . well played sir. There are 6 term Senators in D.C. who are completely impressed with your efforts here Mr. Commissioner.

      • MinnesotaDawg

        Well, my brain doesn’t start to freeze up until we start having single-digit highs….I’ve probably got about a week.

  13. Scorpio Jones, III

    It just dawned on me I am like a Awbun fan in that I am really glad I’m gonna get to seen Newton play a couple more games.

    And, just like a Awbun fan I could care less what happens later.

    But I am not a Awbun fan, and I hope what happens later happens to Awbun and not somebody else.

  14. Go Dawgs!

    Used to respect Barnhart. He’s becoming more and more of a shill, and it’s sad.

    • Macallanlover

      That’s where I am. Since going “independent” he seems to be playing everything towards the middle. Hate to see it but there is no rational explanation for this. Have seen him “gray” on other issues this season as well on sports shows.

  15. AlcoholicGenius

    Hey, Senator. I know, that you know, that I know, that you know, that I know, that you know, that we know . . . but it don’t matter – – cause of the Bucks. Aint no one ever said Justice deaf. She blind, but money, it do talk. I hope that Wikileak fool take a break from chasen all them womens and get some these NCAA records. Heh! They tagged Reggie Bush – – AFTER he couldn’t make them no more money. Lets see what comes down after the checks be cash and Newton in the NFL. I’ll bet if Newton had been a Chinese, it would be different.

  16. ChicagoDawg

    Guys — There are no arbitrary rulings or conclusions in this case. The NCAA and Mike Slive have explained this quite clearly and Tony B. has seen the wisdom in their conclusions. You can as well, if only you will accept the following…..

    a.) Cam did not know what Dad was up to
    b.) Cam’s ignorance of Dad’s activities is a mitigating circumstance that should not result in his being punished
    c.) The attempt/intent of Dad is an interesting tidbit, but because Dad is not a closer there is no real crime, but presumbly if Cecil were a better salesman/negotiator then there would be an offense worthy of punishment
    d.) The AU was ignorant of Cecil’s pimping activities and again serves as a mitigating factor that innoculates them from being punished
    e.) AJ Green should have known that anonymous internet guy was in fact a registered NFLPA agent or representative for an agent
    f.) The acts of AJ and anonymous internet guy SHOULD result in a punishment for UGA (loss of player for 4 games), even though UGA, similar to AU, was unaware of the activites
    g.) The rulings on elgibility in both the AJ and Cam instances were NOT arbitrary and were proportional to the respective offenses

    Got it. I am sold. I just can’t understand why you guys are so thick. Take off your red and black shaded glasses.

  17. 69Dawg

    The big surprise is that so many people are surprised. It’s the SEC and it’s bitch the NCAA that are involved here. After the money is had they will take the FBI findings and execute Auburn, since Cam will be gone and Auburn will return to mid-level status with the rest of us. The only way the FBI is involved is due to the tapes and if there was nothing on them the FBI would not have cared at all. From the FBI standpoint this has zero to do with college football but a lot to do with bank fraud. By the way as an ex-IRS agent Mr. Newton better get ready cause I’m sure the referral from the FBI is on it’s way. They will audit both the church and his personal records and not too many of the non-denominational churches can take a good audit.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I also think that, now that the investigation has started, the FBI may also be looking into game-fixing by SEC refs at the direction of Slive and his minions. It does seem a bit of a stretch to the imagination that the SEC always has undefeated and 1 loss teams in such a balanced league, doesn’t it? And that an SEC team plays in the BCSNCG almost every year and this year will be 5 in a row. And that there are all these “funny” calls in SEC games that always seem to go the way of the favored team, particularly at the end of the season. And the payout is an astronomical amount if an SEC team gets into the BCSNCG. Lots of coincidences there, a few too many don’tchathink?

  18. Bright Idea

    It was AJ’s jersey and Cam’s ass for sale. In the SEC, one is illegal, the other legal. Go figure.

  19. shane#1

    So, Cam didn’t know that his Dad was shopping? Cam did not talk to the would be agent? The gambling magnate did not put money in anyone’s pocket? The same guy that was bribing public officials? Auburn knew nothing, even though Missy State had informed the SEC that money was being solicited on Newton’s behalf? This stinks to high heaven. Cue the black choppers boy, ’cause this here is a conspiracy! boy!

  20. aious

    So basically the NCAA will write a law that specifically includes family of the recruit AFTER the season

    That way they can claim that it wasnt this way before

  21. If Mettenberger was related to me, I would be out shopping his a$$, without his knowing about It, of course. Is that possible?.

  22. almightytmc1

    Here is just an idea.
    Instead of slathering us with his worthless and redundantly obvious opinion,
    why doesn’t Mr. BarnHeart do something that resembles journalism?
    Like say, find out who in the fuck is paying the Newton’s Lawyer since they are supposed to be so meager and poor as fuck?
    Last I heard attorneys cost money.
    If he is offering his services free wouldn’t that be an improper benefit?
    If Auburn is paying for his services, wouldn’t that be an improper benefit?
    And if Cam or his Daddy is paying for the Attorney. Where the fuck did they get the money.?
    Two weeks ago this Johnny Cochrane-style bullshit salesman attorney was talking about how “meager” the Newton’s were. And miraculously they got the money to save The Right Reverend’s Church. (I know a whole congregation that might be going straight to hell for following the teachings of a defrauding preacher. ) Where did that blessing come from? Come on Tony, tell us something we didn’t already figure out.
    Hell, nowadays the Newtons can afford to buy a high $$$ attorney to lie to the media and then recant on Cecil’s innocence.
    So somebody needs to ask ol’ Tony…where did they get the money at?

  23. almightytmc1

    While I am ranting.
    Shouldn’t some damn body tell the NCAA that they let THIS Genie out of the bottle.
    It a little late to come out with these statements to clarify the situation. Its out there. And I fear that the NCAA will be spending years trying to fix and defend this little precedent.
    Why dont we just be a little more realistic about this.
    Everyone who has played Auburn this year dealt with shitty refs, cheap shots and a QB who was ineligible.
    Everyone with half a brain knows that the whole “Cam and Auburn didnt know a thing” statement is utter bullshit.
    Everyone knows that Auburn sucks a fat lady’s ass and
    Everybody hates Auburn.
    I am sure the 12 people watching the BCSCG will be thrilled but to me, Watching Auburn play in that game is an embarrassment and a disgrace to the SEC. Becasue they did everything dirty they could to get there.

  24. NC Dawg

    Let’s break this down to its most basic level: The NCAA determined that a violation had occurred; consequently Cam Newton was suspended for ONE day, and quickly pronounced eligible again before even another practice could be missed. No mention of Cam’s famous “The money’s too much” quote, leading one to believe that it may not have even been proven, disproven or even check out to any extent. Now, who WOULDN’T feel slightly suspicious?

  25. Never a doubt

    The SEC runs Tony Barnhart’s column on its website. It basically puts him on the CBS network (SEC has a lot of say in that). Why on earth does anyone think that Barnhart would do anything other than shill for the SEC? He has too many financial ties not to.