Well, it’s all but official now. Someone is in the midst of a massive behind-the-scenes tear-down project of what Cam Newton’s built over the first ten games of the 2010 season.
Fresh on the heels of a report alleging a six-figure payment was being sought for his services before landing at Auburn, there’s yet another report that casts the Heisman frontrunner in a negative light.
According to Thayer Evans of FOX Sports.com, and citing an unnamed source, there were three different instances of academic cheating by Newton while at the University of Florida. That, not the laptop incident or Tim Tebow deciding to stick around for his senior season, led Newton to leave the Gainesville school early in December of 2009 and make his way to a Texas junior college.
Newton was arrested for the theft of a laptop from a Florida student’s dorm room in November 2008. He again violated the university’s honor code by putting his name on another student’s paper and turning it in, according to the source. Newton was caught after the instructor asked the real author of the paper why he had not turned in his work, the source said.
According to the source, after the student said he had turned in a paper, he and the instructor went through all the submissions and discovered that Newton had put his name on the paper in question.
Newton subsequently turned in a second paper to the instructor, but it was later found to have been purchased off the Internet, according to the source. The source said Newton was to appear for a hearing in front of Florida’s Student Conduct Committee during the spring semester of 2009, but instead transferred to Blinn College.
Evans, who was one of several national writers to come out recently with a “Don’t vote for Cam for the Heisman” platform, also reports that Newton wasn’t even enrolled at UF when he decided to transfer. Newton’s father didn’t exactly help his son’s case in this latest imbroglio.
“I wasn’t there,” the elder Newton said. “I cannot confirm or deny. At a time like this, I’m taking a defensive posture.”
What it does, however, is bring up a couple of questions that need to be asked but will be almost impossible to answer. Why is this coming out now, nearly a full year after Newton decided to attend Auburn and ten games into a season that could end with a national title for the Tigers? Perhaps more importantly, who is responsible for it?
It was rumored that Urban Meyer was the impetus behind the first set of allegations coming to light. These latest accusations seem to point squarely at someone in Gainesville pulling the strings of the media on one whale of a payback/screw job.
Based on emails from a couple of media types this morning, the latest speculation being churned out by the rumor mill, and again this is merely the underbelly of the college football world speculating here, is that Meyer and/or someone associated with the Florida program is pushing this issue in an attempt to get Newton declared ineligible before the SEC title game. Why? The Gators have a play-in game with South Carolina this weekend that would give them the SEC East title, while Auburn would represent the West with a win over Alabama. Obviously, a Newton-less Tigers team would be a much easier path for the Gators to an SEC title and the subsequent automatic BcS berth that would come with it.
Again, this is all just speculation and this is a rumor mill, but…
Move over, Phillip Fulmer. You may have some competition for the inaugural class of the SEC Snitch Hall of Fame.
UPDATED 11:06 a.m. ET: Meyer has emphatically denied being involved in the Newton situation. “It’s a ridiculous claim and simply not true,” Meyer said late this morning.