comscore NCAA pretty much botched how it handled Scam Newton | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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NCAA pretty much botched how it handled Scam Newton

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Where’s the WikiLeaks dude when you really need him?

The great Cam Scam could use a documents dump right about now to help clear things up.

Apparently, the NCAA needs assistance in proving the best player in college football should be ineligible for the two biggest games in college football and the biggest award in college football.

Talk about motivation. I’m sure they’re trying really hard. So hard, that they did nail Cam Newton — for one day.

Despite more smoking guns than on the first day of deer season and an ongoing investigation that started weeks ago, the NCAA says it doesn’t have enough on the Auburn quarterback to make him ineligible for the SEC championship game Saturday, and perhaps the national championship game to come … and don’t forget about the Heisman Trophy.

Strange, since the NCAA told Auburn the other day that Newton’s eligibility was in jeopardy. So the Tigers deemed him ineligible themselves and asked for immediate reinstatement. Which they got.

If that all seems choreographed to you, congratulations, you’re smart; advance to go, collect $200 … just make sure your daddy asks for it, not you, and that you don’t know about it.

The NCAA was stuck. It had to do something, even if it was wrong … hence the quick you’re-out-you’re-in (and, amazingly, without word leaking out).

It’s not clear if this was due to a combination of foot dragging, incompetence and lack of investigative resources or a really awesome cover-up by some really slimy boosters and officials, or all of the above.

SO CAM’S OK to play, for now, anyway. But what about his dad? Poor Cecil’s punishment for allegedly trying to sell his son’s services to the highest bidder is that he is now persona non grata, with "limited access" at Auburn, whatever that means.

Cam Newton’s eligibility seems to hinge on no one being able to prove if he knew his father was auctioning him off. Seems unlikely he wouldn’t, but apparently he has plausible deniability — or at least there’s enough doubt that the NCAA fears punishing an innocent.

The knee-jerk reaction is to put most, if not all, blame on the NCAA (see above). Isn’t it always? It’s so fun and easy.

But do the intellectual equivalent of throwing the extra pass, and you get a layup, because the problem is deep-rooted and this is just a symptom of the disease. NCAA rules represent ideals of amateurism while most everything else about big-time college sports screams of the mercenary aspects of pro sports.

That’s probably nothing new to most fans, so why so much shock yesterday with Newton’s newly mandated purity (as temporary as it may be)?

Perhaps because there are already things about him to not like. But ill-gotten laptops and unpaid tickets don’t by themselves mean he should be out of college sports. And neither should he be held accountable for his father’s sins. And what if Cam did know what Cecil was up to? Was he supposed to turn in his father, and to whom?

AT LEAST now Heisman voters know what to do. Or do they? This is far from over, and the FBI is involved. Three or four years from now, it could be Reggie Bush II. The only easy fix in this whole thing: Change the Heisman rules so that the runner-up gets the award if it is vacated, and then the voters won’t have to worry.

As for black helicopters, grassy knolls and saving Cam Newton to purposely screw TCU’s national championship game chances?

Really? I’m a firm believer in the NCAA’s ability to botch a one-float parade. But actively conspiring against one of its member schools, amid an FBI investigation? That’s crazy talk.

There’s a difference between making the extra pass and one too many.

The real story will come out when the feds complete their investigation; maybe then we’ll know for sure if Auburn won a bidding war. Don’t be surprised if by then Cam Newton’s playing in a league where everyone gets paid.

Reach Star-Advertiser sports columnist Dave Reardon at , his "Quick Reads" blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.

 

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