Cam Newton ... Now What?
So now what happens for Auburn during its dream season, and more importantly, what do all the allegations swirling around Cam Newton mean to him?
Probably not as much as it might seem.
After Reggie Bush, Josh Luchs, A.J. Green, North Carolina, and all the problems and suspensions this year thanks to the agent issue, and the controversy and discussion swirling around Nick Saban and Urban Meyer’s preseason comments, the entire story around Mississippi State allegedly being ask for money to sign Newton out of junior college, and other schools allegedly offering money for his services, has come up at a
very curious time.
Because cheating is so rampant and because the problem is far, far worse
than anyone can imagine, to fans, anytime a player’s name is used in a
story like this, the automatic reaction is going to be that there’s
something amiss, and that’s why, in the court of public opinion, this
needs far, far more investigating. This isn't going to stop.
Auburn is right in the thick of the national title chase, and it looks like the story is breaking just in time to try to derail the fun. Now the focus, for right or wrong, is going to be on things outside of Newton’s fantastic season and outside of the national championship. It also points to the problem that Saban and Meyer talked about at length and why they and other coaches are asking for help. This situation also points to the frustration of the player and the family that was investigated for this already, cleared, and now has to answer the questions again.
There’s Cam Newton, who was investigated last summer and cleared, but now gets dragged in this when his focus is 100% on trying to win a national title. There’s Cecil Newton, the dad, who denies any involvement in anything, and is going along with all the NCAA’s requests and fighting to clear his son’s name that’s being used by an agent to try to make some money. Newton’s family, who has gone out of its way to show that it’s not getting any money, evidenced by the condition of their church, the Holy Zion Center of Deliverance, and is frustrated it has to be involved now of all times,
is saying and doing all the right things after the story broke. And then there’s the slimy side of the agent world that once again rears its ugly head. And that's
why Kenny Rogers, who has gone rogue by allegedly trying to make a buck trying to steer Newton’s career,
has to get 100% of the focus, and not Newton himself ... for now.
Auburn has done its due diligence this offseason, but it has to keep investigating on its own
and it has keep being proactive to make sure there’s nothing there that
could come back to bite the school. Yeah, it is fair to ask the question
of how Newton ended up at Auburn if Rogers' story is true. Newton will have
the guilt by association, and now it's up to the NCAA to go further to establish just
how close Rogers was to the situation. The focus is on Rogers and whether or not he’s telling the truth about being offered money by other people representing other schools to steer Newton their way, and that’s why this is so scary.
The last thing Auburn wants to do is have a dream year and win the national title and see Newton win the Heisman, only to see something happen down the road. But this is a different situation than USC. The NCAA is already on it this time and has already investigated, but because an agent used Newton’s name, the frustration of the agent problem kicks in yet again.
Newton, as long as he’s cleared to play by Auburn and head coach Gene Chizik, and he is, will still be everyone’s Heisman front-runner and this won’t affect the voters in the rankings and the polls. That the Newton’s denials have been so vehement, and that Auburn’s anger and frustration has been so quick, is the step that needed to be taken from the start when ESPN broke the story. If Newton or his family were involved in anything wrong, compared to all those players who have recently been caught, they’re certainly not acting like it.
First and foremost, Newton himself appears to have nothing to do with this at all. He left the decision of where to go to school up to his father, and if all this is true, the player shouldn’t be affected by anything a greedy agent might have tried to do.
Newton’s family appears to be out of this. Again, the condition of the church and the papers submitted to the NCAA shows it, as opposed to the Bush situation that had smoking guns all over the place. If they got money for Newton signature, they’re not showing it.
Newton will win the Heisman. The national title will come down to the Iron Bowl, and Newton will get the chance to carry Auburn on the field, despite all the controversy off of it, and the season will go on as normal. And Kenny Rogers could become the first real case of college football and the NFLPA cracking down on the agent issue in the new, supposedly more diligent world.
However, the focus is all about Rogers and he needs to come totally clean about everything. If his story true and did other schools offer him money to sign Newton, then it’s time to find out, and now, for no other reason than for Auburn to be above any suspicion. Now it’s up to Rogers to come up with proof of something, anything, that shows he got something for his association with the Newtons, but the burden is still on Auburn, too, to keep checking to make sure there's nothing there.
This story isn’t over, and yeah, it’s going to dominate the rest of the college football season. And it’ll be the launching point and the test case to see how the agent issue gets handled.