ESPNâ€™s Sportscenter just tweeted â€œDEVELOPING STORY: FBI is involved in investigation into recruitment process of Auburn QB Cam Newton.â€
We canâ€™t keep this off the front page any longer.
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We wanted to take a moment to share a few comments & thoughts:
Weâ€™ve had a few conversations regarding the Cam Newton story on our message boards. You can click here for our tag and surf a little.
Something that has gone unreported by the local press (I know! What a surprise!) is that the University of North Carolina was recruitingâ€¦Cam Newton. Discerning observers of the recent developments in Chapel Hill would have to wonder if any of the NCAAâ€™s investigation of the Tar Heel program and recruiting practices have found any overlap with Newton? That sure would be interesting.
As I think about it â€“ what a great fit Newton would have been in Chapel Hill! You currently have allegations that Newton cheated on school papers while enrolled at Florida and that family representatives were demanding money and benefits to secure his college commitment. While in Chapel Hill, UNC has admitted that multiple players committed academic fraud on school papers while even more players accepted improper benefits and gifts! All of this amidst a situation where we know that thousands of dollars were flowing IN to UNCâ€™s Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinatorâ€¦but we donâ€™t know to where the money flowed OUT or what happened to the money after he received it!?! It really sounds like a match made in heaven.
If you have access to â€œPremiumâ€ content at Scout.com, then you can click here to read a story from last November about UNCâ€™s recruitment of Newton. Since John Blake was UNC-CHâ€™s Recruiting Coordinator, there is no way to pretend he was not part of the recruitment of Newton. Of course there is no way to tell how much the folks at Inside Carolina have scrubbed comments and information from the internetâ€¦but, at least we have this:
â€œIâ€™ve talked to the movers and shakers [at UNC] â€“ Iâ€™d rather not name names,â€ Newtonâ€™s father, Cecil, said. â€œTheyâ€™re interested in Cameron. Someone is going to be in-front of him this week… [John Shoop] is supposed to be one of the guys who probably is going to be in front of him this week.â€
According to his father, UNC is just one of several schools that will visit Blinn Community College the next couple of weeks to evaluate Newton, a 6-foot-6, 247-pounder (with a hand-timed 4.46 40-yard dash reported by Blinn this year).
â€œFrom what Iâ€™m hearing, the offer is forthcoming,â€ Newton said, â€œâ€¦The official offer being sent, I think a lot of that is going on from an administrative standpoint â€“ they want to check the transcript.â€
- Maybe even more interesting than the Newton recruitment, is the following lie that the UNC coaches were perpetuating on the recruiting trail last year. One has to really feel sorry for TJ Yates in light of the manner in which the â€˜adultsâ€™ at UNC treated him. In addition to being booed by the Dean Smith Center crowd on two separate occasions when he was shown on the big screen, his current coaches were on the recruiting trail throwing him under the bus.
Outside of a couple of national recruits, UNC hasnâ€™t recruited many 2010 quarterbacks. All four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster have eligibility remaining, including three-year starter T.J. Yates, who is a fourth-year junior.
â€œOne of the coaches said that Yates is not returning, that he was a senior,â€ Newton said. â€œ[UNCâ€™s quarterback situation] was one of the questions I asked.
I often wonder if current high school recruits ever consider this type of unscrupulous behavior and realize that they could very soon be treated with the same disrespect if they put themselves in the same situation with these slimeballs.
There are a lot of different factors that can lead one to conclude that ACC Football is not as intense or important as football in some other conferences â€“ particularly the SEC. You need not look any further than this interesting piece from Yahoo Sports to see the difference between how schools in the SEC react and respond to controversy. With Newton, youâ€™ve got both Mississippi State and Florida publicly involved and â€˜workingâ€™ the press and the story while serving to put pressure on Auburn. One can only imagine what Alabama and other schools are doing behind the scenes. But, in the ACCâ€¦the silence from Carolinaâ€™s rivals has been stark. Privately, coaches from the staffs at Clemson, Virginia Tech, Duke and NC State will let you know what they thought of John Blake and UNCâ€™s recruiting practices. But, it appears the complaints and rivalries stop far short of manifesting the type of behavior that you get where football really matters:
Worse for Slive, frustration appears to be boiling over and manifesting itself into dropped dimes to the media.
Reports indicate that someone on Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen’s staff has been talking to the media about Newtons’ recruitment.
ESPNâ€™s latest report said that a Mississippi State recruiter (presumably an assistant coach) was told by Newtonâ€™s father, Cecil, that it would take â€œmore than a scholarshipâ€ for Cam to play in Starkville. Another recruiter shared that Cam has told him that he wanted to play for the Bulldogs but Cecil had forced him to Auburn because of the money.
Is it true? Only time may tell.
The story also said the Mississippi State compliance office turned the information over the SEC last January. Eleven months later Newton is still eligible. Last week SEC associate commissioner Greg Sankey said the league received â€œspecific informationâ€ on Newton in July (not January). He later said, â€œWe donâ€™t deal in rumor and innuendo. We deal in facts.â€
The facts may say there is nothing to the stories of Cam and/or Cecil Newton being paid by Auburn. (The NCAA is currently looking into it). It stands to reason, however, that the unnamed sources in the ESPN report were not satisfied with the pace of the investigation. And taunted with weekly highlights of Newton racing up and down the field, they decided to make it public.
If nothing else, next yearâ€™s Mississippi State at Auburn game ought to be a doozey.
If Auburn did cheat for Cam Newton, then Slive should applaud the whistle blowers. If they didnâ€™t, then he should be furious at the vengeance shown here.
If thereâ€™s nothing to the story, then this is a messy, unnecessary inside hit job. Itâ€™s the kind of soap opera that could distract Newton and Auburn, making the road to the title game even more difficult. The Tigers already face the most difficult remaining gauntlet of the unbeaten BCS contenders.
Auburn certainly doesnâ€™t need added hurdles. Theyâ€™re getting them though. Itâ€™s officially a circus down South, a feeding frenzy of scoops and sources and, who knows, even the FBI.