12/06/10 — Slap on the wrist keeps Auburn in BCS title chase

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Slap on the wrist keeps Auburn in BCS title chase

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on December 6, 2010 1:47 PM

Wonder if that slap on the wrist really stung Auburn?

And can you imagine the reaction the swift movement from the NCAA on the Cam Newton case irritated Southern California and North Carolina?

College sports' top-governing body ruled Newton ineligible to play in the Southeastern Conference title game against South Carolina, then cleared him. His dad, Cecil, has been reduced to limited access to the athletics department.

Kenny Rogers has been disowned by Mississippi State.

Everyone is pointing fingers at everyone, and no one -- in my opinion -- is telling the complete truth. Dad goes on record, according to Rogers, to say that it's going to take nearly $200,000 to put Cam in an MSU uniform.

Dad tells the NCAA he never requested any money from anyone.

Rogers' attorneys say otherwise.

Cam says he has no knowledge of his dad's negotiation.

Excuse me?

Cam, do you talk to your dad? Do you have those heart-to-heart conversations that help mold your future? Are you aware that just one breach of ethics by NCAA standards not only ruins your career, but also affects the future of the Auburn football program?

This is becoming one of those fish tales where one person knows the truth and the others are exaggerating the details on a daily basis. You have to wonder if anyone will come forward and dish the dirt.

My dad says the more you deny the truth, the less credible your innocence becomes to those around you. I can't help but agree with him.

By the time the NCAA concludes its investigation, the SEC title game will have been decided in Atlanta. Newton will probably have won the Heisman Trophy and led the Tigers to the BCS championship.

So, what good is the truth then?

What good are morals and ethics when you have people who either bend or break the rules to get what they want? The NCAA has tried to re-establish those characteristics in some athletics programs. Sometimes you wonder if anyone really gets the hint.

USC took a major hit after a lengthy probe by the NCAA.

UNC has reeled all season from the allegations surrounding its football team, and additional trouble could surface in other areas of the athletics program. No one is sure what penalty the Tar Heels will pay, despite their full cooperation.

The NCAA doesn't have long to make a final ruling on Auburn.

Let's hope for Newton's sake that he and the Tigers are completely exonerated from any wrongdoing. If they are, then Newton deserves everything he and his teammates earn during the next month.

If they're not cleared and Newton is ruled ineligible again, the NCAA should levy a punishment that fits the crime. Newton would become the second Heisman winner in nearly eight decades to relinquish the trophy.

Integrity, again, would be compromised.