Chattanooga v Auburn

Cam Newton, Auburn cleared by NCAA

81 Comments

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.

New Mexico State’s leading receiver joins Maryland as grad transfer

Teldrick Morgan
New Mexico State athletics
Leave a comment

Teldrick Morgan had been a significant part of New Mexico State’s passing game the past two seasons.  In 2016, he’ll try to play the same role at a Big Ten school.

Maryland announced in a press release that Morgan, a native of Hanover, Maryland, has transferred to the university and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Terps.  As Morgan is coming to College Park as a graduate transfer, he will be eligible to play immediately in 2016.

The upcoming season will be the wide receiver’s final year of eligibility.

“Teldrick brings a great deal to our program and we’re excited that he’s a part of our family,” first-year Terps head coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. “It’s always great to bring a local kid back home, and on top of that he’s very skilled and brings a wealth of experience to our receivers unit.”

Each of the past two seasons, Morgan led the Aggies in receptions.  He caught 75 passes in 2014, although that production dipped to 45 in 2015.  A part of that drop was due to a groin injury that cost the 6-0, 195-pound receiver three games, as well as the continued emergence of Larry Rose III (1,651 yards rushing).

Morgan totaled 120 receptions for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns

Two years after ‘parting ways’ with Baylor, WR Robbie Rhodes dismissed by Bowling Green

Robbie Rhoads
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Some kids/young adults will simply never learn, at least not the easy way.  Case in point: Robbie Rhodes.

In June of 2014, reports surfaced that Rhodes had, ahem, “parted ways” with Baylor “for undisclosed reasons.”  That move came a month after Rhodes was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and tampering with physical evidence, even as charges were never filed against him.  Two months after “parting ways” with BU, Bowling Green announced that the wide receiver had transferred into its football program.

Nearly two years later?  He gone.  Again.

According to the Toledo Blade, Rhodes has been dismissed from the Falcons football team.  The only stated reason was an unspecified violation of team rules.

Rhodes, a four-star 2013 recruit rated as the No. 8 receiver in the country that year, appeared in 11 games as a true freshman for the Bears, recording 10 receptions for 157 yards.  After sitting out the 2014 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Rhodes played in seven games for the Falcons last season, recording three catches for 130 yards.

Rhodes’ departure leaves the Falcons with just two receivers who have caught passes at the collegiate level — Ronnie Moore (third on the team in 2015 with 72 receptions for 954 yards and six touchdowns) and Scott Miller (7-29 last season).

Five-star ‘Bama signee set for second surgery in three months

Lyndell Wilson
Rivals.com
1 Comment

Even as Lyndell Wilson has yet to play a down of college football, the highly-touted 2016 signee simply can’t buy an injury break.

In late March, Wilson announced via Twitter that he would be undergoing surgery in short order to repair a torn labrum in one of his shoulders.  Three months later, the linebacker announced via the same social media site that he has to undergo a medical procedure to repair a torn meniscus in one of his knees.

Per Wilson’s tweet, that has since been deleted for whatever reason, the surgery will be performed Tuesday.  There’s no prognosis on how much time Wilson will miss, including whether he will be available for the start of summer camp in early August.

While the tweet announcing the surgery no longer appears on his Twitter feed, a retweet and another of his own tweets suggests he has yet another injury hurdle to overcome.

For what it’s worth, the school has yet to address any potential health issues with which Wilson may be dealing.

Wilson was one of five Rivals.com five-star recruits signed by the Tide this recruiting cycle. The Montgomery, Ala., native was rated as the No. 4 outside linebacker in the country; the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Alabama; and the No. 26 player overall by that recruiting service. 247Sports.com had the 6-1, 235-pound high schooler as the No. 15 overall prospect in the Class of 2016.

Art Briles played a role in Auburn landing ex-Baylor signee

WACO, TX - SEPTEMBER 06:  Head coach Art Briles of the Baylor Bears during play against the Northwestern State Demons at McLane Stadium on September 6, 2014 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
1 Comment

Art Briles may be out as Baylor’s head football coach, but he still has some influence over at least one member of his last recruiting class.

Over the weekend, Kam Martin announced via Twitter that he had committed to play his college football for Gus Malzahn at Auburn.  The running back chose Auburn over another contender in TCU.

Malzahn and Briles are good friends who, prior to Briles’ dismissal in the wake of the sexual assault scandal in the football program, brainstormed together this offseason.  When Martin received a release from his BU National Letter of Intent, he turned to Briles for advice, with his former coach advising him that Auburn would be “a great fit.”

“He helped me — I still have a great relationship with him,” Martin told 247Sports.com. “He just told me Auburn is a great fit for me with Coach Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff. He said if I was going to Baylor and he was there, it would be the same type of vibe (as at Auburn). He told me Coach Gus would take care of me. He said with him, it’s about the player, about the university.

“And shoot, he’s an offensive guru.”

A four-star 2016 prospect, Martin will be eligible to play for said guru’s squad this coming season.