Quote of the Day:
“It’s Auburn.” –Cecil Newton
Rumors that Cam Newton, or rather his father Cecil Newton, received $200,000.00 to play football at Auburn have been swirling since December of 2009. As anyone who follows college football knows, the story has now blown up. Check that–the rumors, innuendo, assumptions and, did I mention rumors?, have blown up. So far, here are the facts: a former MSU player has stated publicly that another person approached him who was in turn previously approached by another former MSU player offering to send Cam to State in return for a discounted price of $180,000.00. Cam has stated on the record that he wanted to go to State, but his Dad chose Auburn for him. MSU reported the financial demand to the SEC, who six months later informed the NCAA.
But the fun part is the rumors. Did I mention there are a bunch of ’em? The rumor du jour is that MSU made tapes of Cecil demanding money and of Cam apologizing to a coach because Auburn offered too much so he had to take it. A sub-rumor is even beginning to circulate that Cam will be held out of competition Saturday. The way things are blowing up on the web in fact, these rumors may be passe by the time I hit “publish.”
Meanwhile, MSU seems to be taking more of a public flogging than Cam himself. At least so far. If those tapes exist, and lord I hope they do, this thing is gonna turn against the Tigers in a hurry.
But there is a bigger story here. Does anyone….ANYONE….think Cam is the only player being paid in the NCAA? Is he or Auburn more guilty than anyone else because he got paid more than the going rate AND he’s worth it? But on the other hand, does the fact that “everybody does it” mean Cam should skate free? I don’t think so.
Because what TB really wants to see in college athletics is consistency. Either pay the players or keep the current amateur requirements in place and enforce them fully and evenly against everyone. Impossible, many people say. Balderdash! College football and basketball are flush with money. Charge each school a fee based on a percentage of their revenue and hire an army of investigators who don’t merely respond to allegations, but who monitor each and every school and athlete. Drive through the parking lots and document all the vehicles. Go to their homes and photograph their houses. The house and the car don’t match up? Dig deeper.
That’s just one simple idea. There are a thousand ways to uncover illegal benefits and if the rule is to remain and if it is to be enforced at all against certain teams, then enforce it uniformly. Otherwise, pay the players based on a salary cap and a wage scale and take some of the booster involvement out of the game. Well, come to think of it, we’ll still need the enforcement army even in that event. But at least some of the hypocrisy of the game will be lessened.
In the meantime, the NCAA, MSU, Florida, Alabama, ESPN, or whoever in the hell is accusing Cam needs to step up with the proof or let this story die and get on with the awarding of the Heisman to Cecil and son. We all can be reasonably confident he got paid, just like a lot of other players on a lot of other teams. But as the game is played today, that’s not enough to bring him down.
One other thought on Cam….if any of you saw the Marcus Dupree special on “30 for 30” last night (and if you missed it I recommend you catch the rerun), (a) does Cam not remind you of Dupree in his running style and dominance? and (b) did you catch that Dupree got something like 160K to go to Oklahoma? Thirty years ago! That cat was something else, and Cam, well, he was a bargain. If those tapes are just rumors that is.