Chattanooga v Auburn

Cam Newton, Auburn cleared by NCAA

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Apparently, the Cam Newton situation has abruptly come to, for now, an end — with one final major twist, of course — just in time for the entire focus to be shifted onto the SEC title game, a possible spot in the BcS title game, and the Heisman Trophy presentation in two weeks.

According to a press release issued by the NCAA, the Auburn quarterback was declared ineligible by the school Tuesday after “the NCAA concluded on Monday that a violation of amateurism rules occurred.”  Wednesday, however, the NCAA announced that Newton has been reinstated and is immediately eligible to compete.

So, yes, you read that correctly: Newton was ineligible for the SEC title game for a matter of roughly 24 hours.  And it didn’t hit the Internet rumor mill at all.  That may be the most amazing part of this story.  Other than a father pimping out his son, of course.

Speaking of which, the news was not good for Cam Newton‘s father, however.  The NCAA writes in their release that “according to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete’s father and an owner of a scouting service [Kenny Rogers] worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton’s commitment to attend college and play football.”

As a result of the investigation, Auburn has limited Cecil Newton’s access to the athletics program and Mississippi State has disassociated itself from Rogers.  Rogers, a former MSU football player, reportedly solicited between $100,000 and $180,000 from coaches at his former school on the behalf of Cecil Newton.

“The conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement.  “The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC.”

The reason for Newton’s reinstatement is simple.  “Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity,” said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs.

Newton was unaware of his father’s actions according to the facts gathered in the NCAA’s investigation and therefore did not participate — i.e. play in games — while ineligible, and is therefore eligible for reinstatement under NCAA bylaws.

Certainly new information could surface somewhere down the road that would cast a different light on the situation as the investigation is ongoing and active, but the only thing that matters right now is that Cam Newton is eligible and this cloud has been lifted off the Auburn football program.

And, with so much riding on the next couple of weeks, it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.

Tulane losing QB Devin Powell to transfer

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16:  Devin Powell #1 of the Tulane Green Wave drops back to pass against the Houston Cougars at Yulman Stadium on October 16, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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Being buried on the depth chart will ofttimes lead a player to move on and search for playing time elsewhere, and that’s what appears to be happening to the quarterback position at Tulane.

According to a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the newspaper has learned that Devin Powell has decided to transfer out of the Green Wave football program.  It also appears a destination for the redshirt season is known: Nicholls State.

As the Colonels play at the FCS level, Powell would be able to play immediately in what will be his final season of collegiate eligibility.

For what it’s worth, Tulane officials have yet to address Powell’s status with the team moving forward.

Over the past four seasons, Powell started four games.  He finished his Green Wave career by completing 51 percent of his passes (116-229) for 1,204 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.  The New Orleans product also rushed for minus-43 yards on 42 carries, and was sacked 21 times.

According to the Times-Picayune, Powell exited the spring third on the Green Wave’s depth chart.

San Diego State RB Marcus Stamps ‘probably’ sidelined for all of 2016

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 05:  The Aztec Warrior mascot of the San Diego State Aztecs awaits the opening ceremonies prior to playing the Mountain West Championship game against the Air Force Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2015 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images)
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The bad news for San Diego State is that its backfield has taken a hit.  The good news?  They still have Donnell Pumphrey.

On the negative front, head coach Rocky Long indicated that, more than likely, Marcus Stamps will miss the entire 2016 season.  The redshirt junior running back recently underwent surgery on his back, the nature of which wasn’t specified by the coach.

“He won’t be back this season, probably,” Long said according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “He felt something in his back during spring practice. They kept checking him out, then they suggested he get it operated on.”

Stamps played in the first eight games of the 2015 season before a knee injury essentially sidelined him the the remaining three regular season games plus two in the postseason — the Mountain West Championship game and Hawaii Bowl.  During the time he was healthy, Stamps ran for 33 yards on 16 carries.

As long as Pumphrey is healthy, though, the Aztecs’ running game should be in fine shape.

Pumphrey’s 1,651 yards rushing were seventh nationally last year.  Entering his senior season, Pumphrey needs just 318 yards to surpass Marshall Faulk (4,589 from 1991-93) for the most in school history.

Ex-Alabama LB Christian Bell announces transfer to Wisconsin

11 Sep 1999: A cheerleader of the Wisconsin Badgers runs onto the field with a Wisconson Banner during the game against the Ball State Cardinals at the Camp Randall Sradium in Madison, Wisconsin. The Badgers defeated the Cardinals 50-10.
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In last year’s opener, Christian Bell suited up for Alabama in their opener against Wisconsin.  For this year’s opener, he’ll be on that Big Ten team’s sideline as they take on yet another school from the SEC.

On his Twitter account Thursday, Bell announced that he has decided to transfer into the Wisconsin football program.  Over this past weekend, the linebacker announced via the same social media site that he would be transferring from the Tide.

Barring the unexpected, Bell will be forced to sit out the 2016 season and thus won’t be in uniform when UW opens against LSU at Lambeau Field.  Then beginning in 2017, though, he would have four seasons of eligibility remaining.

Bell took a “grayshirt” for the 2015 season, ultimately enrolling in classes at UA this past January. The Birmingham, Ala., native participated in spring practice with the Tide this year.

A three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com, Bell was rated as the No. 19 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 17 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

WVU’s Larry Jefferson arrested on drug charge, no longer listed on roster

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 7:  The West Virginia Mountaineers mascot The Mountaineer yells a cheer during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners September 7, 2013 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated West Virginia 16-7. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
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It appears the brief but up-and-down career of Larry Jefferson in Morgantown has come to an abrupt end.

The former junior college transfer had been suspended from participating in West Virginia’s spring practices for violating unspecified team rules.  Now, WV MetroNews is reporting, the defensive lineman was arrested late Tuesday morning and charged with drug possession. “Jefferson was stopped on Clay Street in Morgantown as officers were investigating a brandishing incident at South University Plaza in Morgantown,” the website wrote, and was subsequently found to be carrying small amounts of cocaine and marijuana.

According to the Dominion Post, Jefferson was holding .6 grams of coke and one gram of weed.

While WVU officials have yet to comment publicly on the situation, Jefferson’s name has been removed from the Mountaineers’ online roster.  Jefferson had not been reinstated from his spring suspension, but, prior to this incident, he had been expected to be on the field for the start of summer camp early next month and be a part of WVU’s line rotation this season as a pass-rush specialist.

After coming to WVU following two seasons at a Mississippi JUCO, Jefferson played in nine games for the Mountaineers last season.