Newton, Auburn, the NCAA and USC

December, 1, 2010
12/01/10
7:20
PM ET
Coach, it’s going to cost you $100,000 to get my son.

Dad… what’s my cut?

Hush, Junior. You know nothing.

OK, Dad! Good thinking.

Whoops. Sorry. Thought I had the mute button on the blog.

The news of the day: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game this weekend, even though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school. Here’s the official release from the NCAA.

Let’s pause for a moment to allow USC fans to shout at the heavens.

There. Now here are some Trojans-oriented links on the story.

The intrepid Gary Klein checked in with USC athletic director Pat Haden to see if he had any thoughts on the matter. This portion is telling:
“In the Reggie Bush case, when the parent [did] something inappropriate the kid and the school suffered,” Haden said.

Haden, who succeeded Mike Garrett in August, said the Newton ruling is at odds with how USC is attempting to educate athletes and their parents regarding NCAA rules.

“I was always told the parent is the child,” Haden said. “That’s what we’ve been telling our kids. If the parent does something inappropriate the child suffers the consequences.”

USC is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Infractions Appeals Committee next month. Haden said school attorneys would probably review the Newton case.

“Intuitively, it seems appropriate that we would discuss it,” he said.
Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register understands the parallels between Bush and Newton are not exact, but that’s not the larger point. Writes Miller: “… what Cecil Newton did certainly is wrong, way, way wrong, and by not bringing any actual justice, the NCAA is only encouraging parents, friends and ‘handlers’ of future stars to conduct their business in a similar manner.”

“High profile players demand high profile compliance,” said Paul Dee, chair of the NCAA committee on infractions.

Wait. He said that only about Bush. My bad.

Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples has some well-reasoned commentary here.

It’s critical to understand a couple of things: 1. To this point, there is no evidence that Auburn has done anything wrong. That should be little comfort to Auburn folks, though, because there was little evidence that USC did anything wrong in the Reggie Bush case, other than behave in an arrogant and clumsy manner during the investigation; 2. The investigation is not over.

But USC fans probably don’t care what happens to Auburn, other than the unsavory temptation to hope for some schadenfreude down the road.

What most Trojans fans likely do want to know: Will all the stuff that has gone on this year -- the Newton case as well as all the agent stories involving multiple schools -- have any effect on USC’s case in front of the NCAA Appeals Committee?

It should. It probably won’t. But the odds that it might are better today than they were last week.

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