Nearly a year after allegations first surfaced of Cam Newton‘s father soliciting money in exchange for his son’s football talents, the NCAA’s investigation into the alleged situation has come to a conclusion.
And, in what will surely come as a surprise to some/many/most, the results are favorable toward Newton’s former school.
The NCAA informed Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs in a letter dated Oct. 11 that, following The Association’s 13-month investigation into the allegations involving the 2010 Heisman winner, “the enforcement staff has not substantiated any… violations” involving the current Carolina Panthers quarterback. It had been alleged that Newton’s father, Cecil Newton, as well as a “middle man” had attempted to obtain in the neighborhood of $180,000 from individuals connected to the Mississippi State football program in exchange for Newton’s signing in February of 2010.
From the NCAA’s letter to Jacobs:
Regarding Mr. [Cam] Newton, the enforcement staff and the university conducted over 50 interviews regarding an alleged pay-for-play scenario. Additionally, an extensive number of documents, including but not limited to, bank records, personal IRS documents telephone records and email messages, were obtained and reviewed as part of the inquiry. … It was also determined that Mr. [Cam] Newton and university representatives were not aware of that [pay-for-play scenario].
In a statement, the NCAA wrote that they are “committed to a fair and thorough investigative process. As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding.
The letter to Jacobs does note that, “should the enforcement staff become aware of additional information” regarding Newton’s recruitment, the NCAA “will review that information to determine whether further investigation is necessary.”
Additionally, the NCAA wrote in their missive to AU that they were unable to substantiate any of the allegations made by former Tiger players during an HBO show earlier this year. Those players — Raven Gray, Stanley McClover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick — all alleged that they had received extra benefits and impermissible inducements from boosters and/or AU coaches.
Through interviews with Gray and his family, his claims could not be substantiated and in some cases was disputed by others. The other former players refused to cooperate with NCAA investigators “despite several attempts to interview those individuals.”
“We appreciate the NCAA and thank them for their professionalism and thoroughness during this exhaustive investigation. We are pleased to put this matter behind us,” Jacobs said in a statement.
Add it all up, and it means that, barring any new information surfacing in the coming months and years, Auburn will get to keep its crystal for winning the 2010 BcS championship and Newton will hold on to his stiff-armed trophy. And, finally, both parties might actually be able to enjoy the spoils of their on-field success, regardless of the cloud of suspicion that will continue to hang over both entities despite being “cleared” by the NCAA.
UPDATE 7:16 p.m. ET: Cam Newton has (very briefly) addressed the end of the NCAA’s investigation and its positive outcome.
Cam Newton said Wednesday he was not surprised that the NCAA cleared Auburn of any wrongdoing in his signing after more than a year of investigations.
“I could have told you that,” Newton told the Charlotte Observer as he left the Carolina Panthers’ facility
Asked for an additional comment, Newton said, “No, let’s let old wounds” heal, he said.