Of all the things that have come out throughout this whole Cam Newton fiasco — it’s safe to officially refer to it as a fiasco, no? — one of the things that’s bothered us the most, and we’ve harped on over the past few days, is the January-July timeline gap as it relates to Mississippi State’s actions. Or, to be technically correct, their inaction.
By their own admission in a statement earlier this week, Mississippi State stated that they turned over information to the SEC in January “regarding an issue relating to its recruitment of Cam Newton.” The SEC requested additional information and interviews with MSU officials after the January disclosure but, the school’s own statement reads, “[d]ue to MSU dealing with ongoing and time-consuming eligibility issues involving non-football matters in the winter and spring of 2010, the specific SEC request went unfulfilled.” Then in July, the school suddenly found the time to provide the SEC with additional information the conference had been requesting in the six months after the issue was first brought to their attention. And then found the time to “cooperate fully” with the NCAA as well. All as a football season was getting into full swing, mind you.
That inaction on the part of MSU, though, has cast the SEC in a very negative light amongst many in black helicopter circles, with some assuming it was the conference that was simultaneously dragging its feet while dropping the ball on an issue that’s become the college football story of the 2010 season. The SEC has been criticized in some corners for a perceived lack of action — the word “cover-up” has been tossed around more than once — and that’s something that’s not sitting well with the conference’s boss.
In an expansive interview with the Birmingham News — we’d highly suggest you click HERE to read the entire piece — commissioner Mike Slive took Mississippi State to task for, in essence, dragging their collective feet and allowing the conference to come under scrutiny for a situation Slive claims his employees attempted to address.
Slive said the original phone calls from Mississippi State in January generated enough information for the conference to seek more about what was said and to whom.
“We got some limited information,” he said. “We said we need more information, go back and interview people.”
Slive said the SEC did follow up with Mississippi State between January and July.
“Without getting into any minute detail, for people to assume there was no follow-up for information (by the SEC office) would be wrong,” Slive said. “There was timely follow-up from our office between January and July. As Mississippi State indicated, these requests were not fulfilled. We followed up in a timely way. Given the need for people to have a month or more to do that, we asked again. In six years, we’ve never had a problem with that.”
Look, we understand that some of you are tired of us pounding on this issue, and the Newton issue as a whole, but for Mississippi State to basically put on ice an issue they brought to the attention of the SEC is wholly and completely unacceptable. Instead of this issue coming to the public light in, say, April or May, it’s blown-up with Auburn standing at 10-0 and with a clear path to the national title game, and Newton as the hands-down favorite to win the Heisman. And it’s blown-up at this time in large part because of MSU’s lack of follow-up over a six-month period.
Certainly if Newton or his father were part of a pay-per-play scam there will be repercussions, as there should be. Whether Newton or his father solicited and/or accepted money for a signature on a LOI is far and away more important than these other tangents the story has taken off on.
Still, it doesn’t change the fact that the timing of these leaks stinks to high heaven. And MSU’s inaction earlier this year is a stank that trumps even that.