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.