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.

Car accident will sideline starting FAU lineman Reggie Bain for 2016

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On off-field incident late last week will cost FAU one of the top offensive linemen in Conference USA moving forward.

Over the weekend, FAU confirmed that Reggie Bain sustained injuries that were described as “not life threatening” in a car accident Friday. However, the non-specified injuries will likely sideline the true junior offensive tackle for the entire 2016 season.

“I have been in constant contact and have visited with both Reggie and his family,” a statement from head coach Charlie Partridge began. “His FAU football family has surrounded him with support and will continue to do so. Out of respect for Reggie, his family and our team, all questions should only be directed to me. I know that inquiries may be well-intentioned, under the HIPPA law, and per the request of Reggie and his family, there is very little I can disclose.”

No details surrounding the accident have been released.

Bain has started all 24 games in his two-year career with the Owls, earning second-team all-conference honors following the 2015 season. Coaches made Bain a preseason all-league selection last month.

Bryce Love ‘unlikely’ to play in Stanford’s opener vs. K-State

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 12:  Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal is tackled by Kyle Gibson #25 of the UCF Knights in the first quarter at Stanford Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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It appears someone else will have to ease the load for a newly-minted starter under center and a Heisman Trophy contender, at least in the very early portion of the season.

According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Stanford head coach David Shaw has deemed it “unlikely” running back Bryce Love will play in the season opener Friday against Kansas State.  Love sustained what was described as a lower-body injury at some point during summer camp.

The good news for the program and the player is, after the opener, the Cardinal goes on a bye before hosting 20th-ranked USC Sept. 17.

Wilner writes that “Love… is considered central to eighth-ranked Stanford’s efforts to take the pressure off new quarterback Ryan Burns and tailback Christian McCaffrey.”  Burns has thrown one career pass and will be making his starting debut against K-State.

Last season, Love averaged 7.8 yards on his 29 carries.  He added 15 receptions for 250 yards, and three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving).

Rico McWilliams, 18-game starter at corner for Gamecocks, gives up football

BATON ROUGE, LA - OCTOBER 10:  Malachi Dupre #15 of the LSU Tigers catches a pass in front of Rico McWilliams #1 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during the third quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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South Carolina has seen one of the most experienced members of its secondary not only leave the program but the sport as well.

Rico McWilliams has decided to leave the Gamecocks and give up football, first-year USC head coach Will Muschamp announced Monday.  No reason was given for the decision.

McWilliams had started 18 the past three seasons, but began to tumble down the depth chart in the spring and failed to gain much ground in summer camp.  He had left camp early on for what were described as personal reasons, but eventually returned.

I am back with the team and have to stay focused,” the cornerback said just three days ago.

As a redshirt junior last season, McWilliams started 10 of USC’s 12 games, the lone exceptions being the contests against Georgia and Texas A&M.  He was credited with 32 tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.

Additionally, Muschamp announced that redshirt freshman wide receiver Christian Owens had left his team as well.  A three-star 2015 signee, Owens didn’t play as a true freshman.

Jim Harbaugh clarifies comments on Colin Kaepernick anthem controversy

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Via social media, Jim Harbaugh has attempted to walk back some of his strong talk.

Monday, the Michigan head coach was asked to comment on one of his former San Francisco 49er players, Colin Kaepernick, who kicked up quite the controversy this past week by sitting down during the playing of the national anthem to protest what he believes to be the mistreatment of African-Americans in this country. Not surprisingly, the outspoken Harbaugh didn’t mince many words.

“I acknowledge his right to do that, but I don’t respect the motivation or the action,” the coach said.

A short time later, Harbaugh took to Twitter to offer a clarification that he had no issue with Kaepernick’s motivation, merely his methods.