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So far there's lots of smoke, but no fire.
ESPN.com and the New York Times reported Thursday that the NCAA is investigating the recruitment of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. The reports stem from statements by former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond, who claims that another former Bulldog, Kenneth Rogers, shopped Newton's services to Mississippi State for $180,000.
Cam Newton's father, Cecil Newton, has stated that his son has done nothing wrong.
"If Rogers tried to solicit money from Mississippi State, he did it on his own, without our knowledge," Cecil Newton told ESPN.com.
So what does that mean for Auburn? Well, as of now, nothing apparently.
Auburn head coach Gene Chizik stated Thursday night that Newton is eligible, and will remain eligible.
"Cameron Newton is eligible at Auburn University," said Chizik during Auburn's call-in show Thursday night. "Period. End of story."
The Opelika-Auburn News quoted an anonymous source late Thursday night, saying that "there are no NCAA allegations against any member of Auburn's coaching staff or anyone associated with Auburn in the recruitment of Cam Newton." That speaks volumes as far as I'm concerned.
According to the reports, Auburn has known about this since July. If Auburn had any doubt that Newton was going to be ruled ineligible at any point during the 2010 season, they shouldn't have – and wouldn't have – played him.
Cam Newton's father, Cecil Newton, said that he received a request from the NCAA for financial statements, which he provided for Holy Zion Center of Deliverance in Newnan, Ga., where he is pastor.
The church had been in jeopardy of being demolished for not being up to the city's building code, but underwent renovations in the last year to rectify the situation. Could that mean that the church suddenly got an influx of cash? Well, maybe. But this report dated Sept. 23, 2009 from the Newnan (Ga.) Times-Herald states that the church already had the "money in hand" to renovate the church roughly two months before Auburn started recruiting Newton.
Was something shady going on during Cam Newton's recruiting process? Sure. But that doesn't necessarily implicate either Auburn or the Newton's as the wrongdoer. As of now, the only person who is being implicated as a wrongdoer is Kenneth Rogers, who already is being investigated by the NFL Players Association for misrepresenting himself to players.
Before everyone goes crazy saying that Newton should never play football at any level ever again and that Auburn should be relegated to SMU status for the next decade, let's see how this thing plays out for a little longer.
Barrett Sallee covers the SEC for www.CollegeFootballNews.com. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @BarrettSallee
Click here for the 2010 Three & Out archive
2010 Column Archive:
Newton Scandal Is Full Of Questions – November 5, 2010
UNC's Problems Could Hurt Les Miles – August 31, 2010
Predicting The SEC – August 23, 2010
Top Five Games Inside The SEC – August 22, 2010
Ranking The SEC Out-Of-Conference Games – August 21, 2010
SEC Roundtable Discussion Part IV – August 10, 2010
SEC Teams In The Coaches Poll – August 7, 2010
Ranking The SEC Head Coaches – August 2, 2010
SEC Media Days: Day 3 Recap – July 23, 2010
SEC Media Days: Day 2 Recap – July 22, 2010
SEC Media Days: Day 1 Recap – July 21, 2010
SEC Roundtable Discussion Part III – July 13, 2010
SEC Roundtable Discussion Part II – June 21, 2010
Auburn Gets The Last Laugh – June 10, 2010
Realignment – What Should The SEC Do? – June 9, 2010
SEC Roundtable Discussion Part I – June 7, 2010
Richt On The Hot Seat? – June 3, 2010
Auburn Dismisses Redshirt Freshman RB – May 21, 2010
SEC Hires of the Decade – The Bottom Five – May 14, 2010
Top 5 SEC Hires of the Decade – May 5, 2010
Georgia In A Gray Area – April 26, 2009
Taunting Rule Goes Too Far – April 16, 2009
Memorable SEC Press Conferences – February 20, 2009
2010 Early SEC Picks, Part 2 – February 18, 2009
2010 Early SEC Picks, Part 1 – February 16, 2009
Florida Reaches For DC – February 12, 2009
Vols Go West For New DC – February 3, 2009
Early 2010 SEC Predictions – January 31, 2010
Chizik Doing It Right – January 21, 2010
Georgia's DC Debacle – January 12, 2010
SEC Bloggers: Do Over – January 8, 2010
Trouble In Baton Rouge – January 2, 2010
Meyer Calls A Reverse – December 27, 2009
Urban Meyer's SEC Legacy – December 26, 2009
End Of The Season Accountability – December 26, 2009
Ranking The SEC Bowl Games – December 18, 2009
2009 SEC Superlatives – December 13, 2009