Welcome FoxSports.com and TMZ.com. It’s quite a mix, you guys and ESPN.com and the New York Times.
Welcome to FoxSports.com’s source, whoever you are. There’s a table for you in the room with unnamed Auburn officials who can’t speak publicly in deference to the NCAA but can’t help themselves and speak privately. We’ve got a guy going to get more chairs.
Welcome academic fraud to the mix of player shopping, character assassination and other accusations slung at Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, people close to him, people allegedly close to him, his former coaches or any other alleged source.
Welcome to the FBI, which reportedly wants to talk to John Bond, the former Mississippi State quarterback who appears to have started it all.
And welcome, John Bond, to more than you ever bargained for when he you went on record with ESPN.com this past week.
What a day of accusations and even revelations these folks gave us late Monday and Tuesday. That whole FBI-is-involved thing? Bond’s lawyer confirmed it, so that’s pretty heavy.
As for the FoxSports.com report that Newton claimed another student’s work as his own then bought a paper on line, file it under “accusations from a source“ at this point
Then file the file in the “irrelevant” drawer.
The accusations of academic fraud gave all following this national story more reason to ponder the young man who wears a 6-foot-6 frame, perma-smile and striking cool amid it all. There’s more smoke gathering around the most exciting player in college football this season, more smoke where dry ice should be.
But absent hard evidence that the original story and its spin-offs have lacked, it’s all smoke. The latest accusations change nothing but the amount of smoke surrounding Newton.
Want to believe Tuesday’s tales of academic fraud?
Hey, it’s a free country, and no one has denied it. Newton and his father haven’t exactly denied it, and Auburn coach Gene Chizik’s “garbage” characterization could be taken two ways. Is the accusation garbage, or was it the fact that the accusation was made, thereby uncloaking Newton’s academic history at Florida?
Go ahead and mire oneself in the details of the latest accusations. Maybe they will change a Heisman Trophy vote or two, but the academic fraud accusations will likely never be proved.
Whether Newton did or didn’t cheat also means nothing for the central questions in all of this.
Did Bond’s former teammate at Mississippi State seek money to deliver Newton, as Bond has alleged that Kenny Rogers suggested through this person and that person?
Did money change hands?
Did interests representing Auburn, the school Newton ultimately chose, pay money to secure his services?
Answers to those questions will determine whether Newton’s playing eligibility is affected, either during this season or retroactively.
Whether Newton’s playing eligibility is affected will determine the fate of undefeated and second-ranked Auburn’s season, either during the season or retroactively.
We’ll all know soon enough. Investigators from the NCAA have been digging, and the FBI reportedly will bring its scarier investigative tools and skills to the fray.
NCAA and FBI types want hard evidence, the kind found in financial statements that Newton’s father says he has supplied to NCAA and Auburn officials.
Feds and NCAA heads won’t care much whether Newton cheated on his school work at Florida, because, well, he’s at Auburn, and it’s unrelated to allegations of player shopping.
But Tuesday sure was a wild day of headlines and chatter in Cam Scam 2010, the kind of day that keeps the TweetDeck moving faster than one can read it.
Welcome to all the new players, and to all a good night.