“If at any time before or after matriculation in a member institution a student-athlete or any member of his/her family receives or agrees to receive, directly or indirectly, any aid or assistance beyond or in addition to that permitted by the Bylaws of this Conference… such student-athlete shall be ineligible for competition in any intercollegiate sport within the Conference for the remainder of his/her college career."
That is from the SEC Bylaws. And if you read this in plain English, it would read:
If a student or a member of their family receives or agrees to receive anything in addition to the scholarship of the student by any school of the conference, the student is ineligible to play sports in the SEC for their lifetime.
But with Auburn being on the cusp of the National title game and Newton bringing home the Heisman in a couple of weeks, neither the school or the SEC Commissioner Mike Silve is willing to do what is required of them. That is to declare Cam Newton ineligible to play collegiate sports in the SEC for his entire life. It is what is right and what the rules of the SEC says need to be done. But they are worried more about the money than what is right to do for this kid and others.
And that is where the NCAA should step in. Auburn, the SEC and the NCAA all agree that Newton's dad solicited money from Mississippi State to have his kid enroll at that university. So what does the NCAA do? They go to Auburn and tell them to declare Newton ineligible on a Tuesday, so they can reinstate him on Wednesday. What?! According to the NCAA talking point, this is routine in an investigation and happens every week in the NCAA conferences. Really? So why haven't we ever heard of this before? And why do we have potential All-Americans in basketball from Kentucky and Kansas that have their eligibility cases go on month after month where they don't know what is going on, but Auburn gets this thing done at light speed?
My personal belief is that there was actual money that changed hands here. But it isn't from institution to a family. It is from an institution to the governing body. I will never be able to prove it, but I believe that Auburn has paid off the NCAA in this investigation. I can see a wealthy booster from Auburn or a couple of boosters talking to someone in the investigation that has power and slipping him money or other things to have this blow over. Because what happens after Auburn possibly wins the National Championship and Newton wins the Heisman doesn't matter. Because Auburn will always have a national championship. You can take away the trophy and strike the records, but every week for the rest of time, there will be at least one person that sees Auburn winning the National Championship for this year. The same thing for Newton winning the Heisman. He will always have that moment in the spotlight of winning the award, no matter what happens to him later in life.
The NCAA has put their head in the sand here and I am sure that there will be more potentially damaging things that come out about the Newton's shakedowns at Mississippi State and possibly other schools. And I would suspect that Cam knew all about what was going on. The NCAA might not have the rule or bylaw that would make Cam Newton ineligible to play football for the rest of the season, but they should force their member conferences to follow their bylaws. Otherwise, why do we need the NCAA?
And the last point that I will make is that this opens the Pandora's Box for recruiting and additional benefits for families. If the standard for this is that the student doesn't know and he is still eligible and the family can request all of these things, then imagine a 5-Star recruit out of Florida. The family can request cruises, cars, homes, cash, and other things and then lie to the student and it is all legal under the NCAA standard that is being shown here. But don't actually give a kid a ride in a golf cart across campus because that will cause the kid to be ineligible. The NCAA needs to take a hard look at their rules and figure out whether or not they are going to enforce them or just play games. Because this situation with Cam Newton stinks to high heaven and they are the main cause. I only hope that the NCAA makes the right decision and starts enforcing the rules on everyone.