Friday, November 12, 2010

All Part of Being Family - Auburn or Otherwise


It's Friday morning.  I cannot stop thinking about the Tigers and Auburn University.  The unsubstantiated allegations against Cam Newton and Cecil Newton, his father, notwithstanding, the Auburn Tigers are having a stellar season on the football field.  10-0.  A #2 BCS ranking.  High-octane performances by Cam and his associates:  Michael Dyer, Darvin Adams, Demond Washington, Nick Fairley, Mario Fannin. A supporting cast working together so that the Tigers can do what they do.  And let's not forget the coaching staff:  Gene Chizik, Gus Malzahn, Ted Roof and all the assistants.

The Tigers have two big rivalry games coming up.  Georgia, tomorrow; Alabama, in two weeks.  So with as much excitement as we've already seen, there is still more to come.

But there are those unsubstantiated allegations ... and an NCAA investigation. 

What are we as alumi of Auburn ... supporters of Auburn ... and as fans of the Tigers ... to make of the allegations? 

Here are the thoughts that I have been turning over in my mind ...

First and foremost, at this point, these allegations are just that, allegations.  And they are unsubstantiated

Also, we should note that the man who brought the allegations to light, John Bond, has apparently contradicted his own testimony on the matter.  He first told ESPN that he spoke to Kenny Rogers.  Then, in an interview on the Buck and Kincade radio show on 680AM in Atlanta, Bond points out that there were two people between him and Kenny Rogers, the person soliciting Cam's football talent. Hear the interview here;  at the 1:11 mark is Bond's clarification.  So, Bond would appear to have gone from an eyewitness to a potential NCAA violation to a purveyor of hearsay.

John Bond alleges that John Rogers told him that "other schools" had offered $200,000 for Cam's commitment. However, Rogers supposedly claimed that a deal could be cut for Mississippi State due to Cam Newton's previous relationship with Dan Mullen (current Mississippi State head coach; former Flordia coach):  a price discounted 10% to $180,000.  Which other schools were involved?  Or was this claim just part of the scam ("everyone is willing to pay, c'mon ... look at the great deal I have for you, my friend!").

What about this bombshell that apparently has received little media attention that I could find? Kenny Rogers, while claiming that Cecil Newton directly broached the subject of cash for Cam's commitment in a Starkville hotel room on November 27, 2009, stated that two of Mississippi State's coaches were in the room at the time

I have not heard any report that Mississippi State filed any reports with the NCAA based on its own coaches hearing such talk about money.  To my knowledge, Mississippi State reported only the alleged contact with John Bond.  If Rogers' claim is true, would it be a violation of NCAA regulations for coaching staff at a university to not report such behavior?  (And without drawing any spurious conclusions, is it a stretch to be concerned about the veracity of Rogers' comments when he is already under investigation for alleged misrepresentation?)

So what are we to make of the allegations? 

It may be trite or naive to say so these days, but I do believe in a person's innocence until there is reasonable proof of wrongdoing.  For now, I do not see any proof that Cam Newton, his father, or anyone at Auburn did anything wrong. 

So, I will stand by my Auburn.  I will stand by my Tigers.  I will stand by Cam Newton. 

That's all part of being family ... Auburn or otherwise.

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