Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has been cleared by the NCAA after Auburn declared him ineligible on Tuesday. Strangely, nobody was aware that the Heisman Trophy frontrunner had been declared ineligible by the school yesterday, as the news only hit the Internet, televisions and newspapers today after he was declared eligible to play. Auburn decided to declare Newton ineligible after the NCAA found that "a violation of amateurism rules occurred," according to the NCAA's press release.
The fact that in the age of Twitter and 24 hour news nobody reported the university's decision to declare Newton, the biggest thing in college football since Tim Tebow, ineligible for the SEC Championship Game on Saturday has garnered a bit of suspicion. It makes you wonder if the whole thing was purely ceremonial or whether technicalities were behind the fast-paced turnaround.
I'm not saying Newton should be declared ineligible or whether he should be allowed to play (I don't know the whole story of what transpired during his recruitment and won't pretend to), I'm just curious as to why an athlete would be declared ineligible by the school one day and then ruled eligible by the NCAA the very next day, and most of all why his ineligibility was not reported to the public.
When the NCAA concluded that "a violation of amateurism rules occurred" on Monday, Auburn appropriately declared their star quarterback ineligible just as schools are required when they learn that an NCAA violation has occurred, at which point they may request the athlete's reinstatement, according to the NCAA release. The day after, the NCAA gave the all clear for Newton to lace up for the SEC Championship three days from now.
The curious part is that nobody knew any of this on Tuesday. Twitter would have exploded, as it did today, with the news that Newton had been declared ineligible just four days before the SEC Championship Game.
The NCAA's release quotes Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, as saying, "Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement." The release goes on to say, "Reinstatement decisions are independent of the NCAA enforcement process and typically are made once the facts of the student-athlete's involvement are determined."
So there you have it. The NCAA found that "a violation of amateurism rules occurred" so Auburn declared Newton ineligible; but the reinstatement staff determined that there was no evidence that Newton had knowledge of the actions of his father and "an owner of a scouting service" who, as reported in the NCAA's release, "worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario," so the NCAA cleared him to play the next day.
HERE is the NCAA's release in its entirety. - Danny Hobrock
Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.
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