The cock-eyed looks said it all, at least for many fans outside the Auburn base. They had long decided about the Cam Newton case.
Never mind the established facts, or lack thereof. Many perceived that Auburn’s quarterback got paid, and some with love.
Pay the man, some on Twitter said. Who cares how much? He’s a generational player, earning millions in revenue and exposure for his school, conference and such.
Then the NCAA said eligible is Cam. No conditions, they said. Just scramble on, and ham.
His dad angled for money, but we do not believe anyone at Auburn knew. We do not believe that even Cam Newton knew.
At this time, we believe Cam, to which many in college football fandom said, what a scam.
It’s all about protecting college football’s best and most dynamic player for big games to come, pure and simple. So the NCAA took the easy way out rather than create so much as a ripple.
For those struggling to digest it all, here’s one dummy serving a glass of NCAA for dummies, sweating and tall.
So unfasten that belt to dangle near the hip. Just sit back and sip.
q q q
When understanding the NCAA, forget prior cases. The governing body of college sports doesn’t do precedent, and the NCAA reminded everyone in Wednesday‘s release announcing its decision to reinstate Newton after Auburn followed protocol and first ruled him ineligible.
“During the reinstatement process, NCAA staff review each case on its own merits based on the specific facts,” the joint NCAA-Auburn-SEC release said. “Staff decisions are made based on a number of factors including guidelines established by the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.”
The NCAA sees each case as different, either in obvious or nuanced ways, and treats each case differently.
They can do that because they’re the NCAA. Their rules don’t have the force of law. They have no subpoena power, and no one will go to jail for lying to NCAA investigators.
So each case comes down to the NCAA’s best judgment based on information they can gather. They can also consider all the “mitigating factors” their bylaws either allow or fail to rule out.
But many taking issue with the NCAA’s ruling in the Newton case went on citing precedent, so let’s dish.
The Cam Newton case is similar to others in that a parent and/or third party was the major player in a finding of violation. Also, the university where the athlete in question is on scholarship claims to have not known, and the NCAA has found no evidence to the contrary.
That’s where similarities end.
In cases like Reggie Bush and Albert Means, which some have thrown back at the NCAA in light of the Newton ruling, the NCAA found that money changed hands.
Also, the NCAA’s finding of violation in the Newton case involved his recruitment by another university. Had Newton signed with Mississippi State after his father apparently talked money there, chances are he’d be ineligible.
The most controversial element of the NCAA’s reinstatement of Newton involves the NCAA’s judgment that he didn’t know of his father’s activities. Southern Cal athletics director Pat Haden has spoken out, citing his understanding that “the parent is the child.”
Assuming that Haden was told such by NCAA officials, the Newton case will no doubt come up in USC’s appeal of severe penalties levied in the Bush case.
But it‘s not specifically covered in NCAA bylaws, so the Newton case — landmark in its nuances — has revealed a scary loophole. Imagine all the dads out there preparing to take over their son’s recruitment the way Cecil Newton is said to have taken over Cam’s.
The NCAA will no doubt close that loophole legislatively, and soon. That way, NCAA rulings in such cases won’t cause so much indigestion.
Joe Medley is The Star’s columnist. He can be reached at 256-235-3576 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @Jomedstar.