According to ESPN reports, Cam Newton, quarterback of the undefeated Auburn Tigers, is currently under investigation by the NCAA. Allegations were made by John Bond, a former Mississippi State player, that he was contacted by someone representing Newton last year and the representative was asking for a payment to get Newton signed. The person representing Newton has been reported as Kenny Rogers, a former teammate of Bond. In a statement to the AP Bond said, “He (Rogers) told me that Cam Newton wanted to play at Mississippi State, but that a specified payment would have to be made.”
The Cam Newton Investigation is Nothing New
The Cam Newton investigation comes only a few months after the NCAA dished out punishment to USC after their investigation of Reggie Bush. After a four-year investigation, the NCAA hit USC with a two-year postseason ban and a loss of 10 scholarships. The Reggie Bush investigation found that he had received improper benefits from the university. Bush lost his Heisman trophy but USC received the brunt of the punishment.
The Reggie Bush investigation was not the only issue faced by USC’s athletic department. In January of 2010, USC’s basketball program punished itself with a one-year postseason ban and loss of a scholarship for violations involving the recruiting of guard O.J. Mayo. Even USC’s women’ tennis team faced investigations leading to the resignation of their head coach.
2010 Has Been a Busy Year for NCAA Investigators
USC and Auburn are not the only universities that have been investigated for alleged wrong doings this year. In July of this year, the University of Arizona men’s basketball team was hit with a loss of a scholarship and had to vacate 19 victories for offering benefits to high school players during a recruiting event on campus.
The universities of North Carolina and South Carolina are under investigation for allegations of players’ illegal contact with sports agents. The University of Florida is also under investigation after reports that former player Maurkice Pouncey took money from an agent before a bowl game.
What do all the NCAA Investigations Tell Us?
The recent string of NCAA investigations of student-athletes just reiterates what we already knew. First, college sports are a big business, especially football, and especially at schools like USC, Auburn, and Florida. The traditional powerhouse football programs bring in millions of dollars for their universities and help support the entire athletic program.
The investigations also tell us that the NCAA is not turning a blind-eye to the situation. With each investigation and sanction, the NCAA is sending a message that athletic departments and coaches need to tighten the reigns and make sure they are running a clean program.
The NCAA investigations do not mean that all programs, coaches, and athletes are breaking the rules. There are lots of clean programs, and there are players that are true student-athletes. In fact, many of the investigations are a result of an outside person, an agent or player representative, that has nothing to do with the university itself. The system itself is not flawed, there just happens to be flawed people in the system.
Pat Forde, Chris Low, and Mark Schlabach, “Cash Sought for Cam Newton”, ESPN.com