Just days after allegations that an individual claiming to represent Auburn quarterback and Heisman frontrunner Cam Newton solicited money for the player's services last fall, another allegation of misconduct has surfaced, and this time it's Newton's academic integrity while enrolled at the University of Florida that has come into question.
FoxSports.com's Thayer Evans, who urged Heisman voters not to vote for Newton a few days ago following the recruitment allegations, first reported the story.
Newton is alleged to have put his name on a paper that was written by another student. When the professor of the class questioned the other student as to why he had not turned in his paper, the student told the professor that he had turned in a paper, and the two are alleged to have eventually discovered that Newton had put his name on the student's paper. The story also claims that Newton subsequently turned in another paper, but it was discovered that he had bought it on the Internet.
The story implies that Newton's reasons for leaving Florida did not stem from Tim Tebow's decision to return for his senior season or because of the incident involving his purchase of a stolen laptop, but rather because he was facing possible expulsion from the school stemming from this allegation of cheating, and was not even enrolled at Florida during the spring semester of 2009.
These latest allegations are still of the he-said, she-said variety, but it's no doubt turned some heads. The question has seemed to focus not as much on whether Newton had knowledge of the solicitation of his services or whether he actually did cheat at Florida, however, but rather who is releasing this information or spreading these rumors, and what intentions might they have.
It goes without saying that the allegations are serious, but as very few know what exactly happened regarding Newton's recruitment and what transpired in that Florida classroom, prematurely judging and labeling Newton as a villain is, as I've stated on two other occasions, irresponsible and unfair.
One of the more prevalent related rumors circulating is that Florida coach Urban Meyer is behind the leaking of the two recent allegations. Some go so far as to claim that Meyer's motivation is related to the possibility that Florida faces Auburn in the SEC Championship Game if the Gators defeat South Carolina this Saturday, and that the road to an SEC Championship and BCS bowl berth would be markedly easier is Newton is suspended or ineligible to play.
Meyer has enthusiastically denied the allegations, and it's quite possible, likely even, that we may never know from where the rumors originated.
What they're saying about the latest allegations:
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs: "These allegations and rumors about Cam Newton are unfortunate and sad because they seem intent on tearing down the reputation of a young man who has done everything we've asked him to do. Cam has been and continues to be completely honest with us. Cam is, by all accounts, a great kid."
Auburn coach Gene Chizik: "Cam Newton is one of the guys on our football team that has not only excelled as a tremendous athlete... I'm wasting my time addressing allegations that blow my mind that they're even out there, because there's federal privacy laws that dictate that these things don't get out in public."
Cam Newton: "I'm not going to entertain something that took place not three months, not six months, not a year but two years ago. I'm not going to sit up here and say anything about it, whether I did or did not do it, because I don't want to beat a dead horse talking about it. It's not going to affect me any way, shape or fashion."
Cecil Newton (Cam's father): "This is a character assassination attempt." "Who is going to profit and why are they going to profit? We sure don't." "I think there's a group of people who have a hidden agenda and don't want to see him as a Heisman nominee, let alone winner."
Florida coach Urban Meyer: "For anyone to think that I or anyone on our staff may have leaked information about private student records to the media doesn't know us very well. It's a ridiculous claim and simply not true."
HERE is Evans' initial story, citing an unnamed "source". - 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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