The allegations about Cam Newton’s alleged recruitment improprieties at Mississippi State have led to investigators and reporters digging up extra dirt on the 21-year-old Heisman candidate, not to mention “leaked” information that, although embarrassing for the Auburn athlete and his school, probably will not amount to much. In fact, what we’re seeing happen to Cam Newton is the strange cycle that seems to have overtaken modern celebrity — a series of events that elevates someone into stardom followed by a series of scandalous events to bring them down. As is being chronicled in media outlets like SBNation, Newton is on the way down and his story has become soap opera-ish. But does any of it truly mean anything? And will it cost Newton the Heisman?
The soap opera began with the NCAA investigation into a possible recruitment violation becoming public knowledge. Since Newton’s name had become the most talked-about on every football broadcast when the subject turned to the Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious award (given to the year’s most outstanding player), the allegations of impropriety hit the headlines. Then speculation set in — about Cam Newton, about John Bond (the man who informed Mississippi State that he’d been approached with a pay-for-play offer), and about Kenny Rogers (the man who allegedly made the offer).
Speculation about whether he did or he didn’t was mingled with speculation over Bond’s veracity and Auburn’s possible involvement, not to mention cynical discussions of SouthEast Conference rivals Mississippi State’s motives for undermining Newton’s (and, by extension, Auburn’s) shot at the Heisman Trophy.
Then came the news of Cam Newton’s arrest record while at the University of Florida. Apparently, Newton had either stolen or purchased a stolen laptop. The arrest led to his suspension from the Florida football team, where he was the back-up quarterback to all-star Tim Tebow.
But that wasn’t enough dirt, and someone, somewhere “leaked” that Newton also was involved in academic misconduct while at Florida University. Rumors abounded that Urban Meyer, Florida’s head coach, leaked the information personally, but he publicly denied the accusations. John Bond also denied he got a phone call from Meyer wherein he was told about the academic problems of Newton.
According to the rumor mill, Urban Meyer or his staff at Florida “leaked” that Newton violated the student honor code by attempting to pass off a class paper he had not written as his own. Another rumor compounds the issue by alleging that, when given a second chance by the professor, Newton turned in a paper he acquired online.
Regardless, Cam Newton’s arrest and the cheating allegations, whether true or not, have nothing to do with his eligibility to play for Auburn. In fact, nothing that has been made public has had an impact on the star quarterback’s eligibility. Scandalous, yes, but until the NCAA investigation actually brings charges and/or sanctions, all that exists are allegations, rumors, and speculation about a player who just might be innocent of the pay-for-play accusations that initiated the soap opera.
Thus far, all that is known about the NCAA investigation into Newton’s recruitment at Auburn and Mississippi State is coming from the original source of the alleged recruitment violation, John Bond. Bond alleged that a former teammate of his (he played quarterback for Mississippi State in the ’80s), Kenny Rogers, approached him and told him that Cam Newton was looking for $200,000 to play football, but would take $180,000 from MSU because he liked the school. Bond reported the incident to Mississippi State’s athletic department, which in turn reported it to the SouthEast Conference.
Cam Newton and his father, Bishop Cecil Newton, have both denied that they were aware of any such pay-for-play activities. Auburn officials have denied being approached by or having dealings with intermediaries, including Rogers, in a pay-for-play deal for Newton to attend the school for his senior year of college.
The NCAA, as is their common stance in an investigation, remains silent on the matter. The investigation into the allegations have been going on quietly for several months.
But through all of this, Newton continues to remain an eligible ball player. And he may continue to be throughout the season and into a national championship game. But even if Auburn doesn’t quite make it that far, Cam Newton’s stellar playing on the football field will keep him in the running for the Heisman Trophy. But will the soap opera generated by the scandal of investigation and speculation affect the vote? Could the adverse publicity, coupled with the recent Reggie Bush scandal, cost Newton the NCAA’s most prized award?
Tune in next time when we discover…
“Report: Cam Newton Allegedly Talked Of Payment Plan During Recruitment,” SBNation.com