I'm sure Auburn fans and our own QB Cam Newton were quite satisfied to hear that the NCAA has cleared Cam and the school of any wrong doing associated with Cecil Newton's attempted to solicit money from MSU. I think Auburn coach Gene Chizik echoes the sentiment of most Tiger fans upon hearing the announcement:
"As I've said many times, I feel very confident about the way we run this program," Tigers coach Gene Chizik said Wednesday night. "I've said many times that we haven't done anything wrong, so quite frankly I moved on a long time ago."
Though he has yet to make an official statement I'm sure Cam is slightly relieved the case is closed though in the end it does nothing to diminish what his father attempted to do. I emphasize 'attempted' because in the end he did not receive any money in response to his solicitations. Now with this post I'm not getting into the hole moral issues with Cecil Newton's infamous business venture. That has been discussed at length already.
More discussion and the slippery slope, after the jump...
What I'm concerned about is an NCAA proposal that if it had been implemented before Newton left Auburn it would have altered the 2010 NCAA season championship irrevocably:
NCAA rules at the time allowed Cam Newton to keep his eligibility because an investigation determined that neither he nor Auburn knew what his father was doing. Realizing just how ludicrous this rule was, the NCAA began the process of changing it this summer. So sometime soon, if a parent does what Cecil Newton did, his child would suffer the consequences.
Though the linked article doesn't describe how they plan to implement such a proposal, just the fact they are going to make the player pay the price of a parent's indiscretion is one slippery slope indeed. How in the world can they hold the child responsible for the parents actions if they were truly unaware of what the parent was doing? Calling Cam a 'child' in this case is a misnomer, we are talking about adults actually; holding one adult accountable for what another adult does. Accountable in a fashion that could stop a career in sports in its tracks. Though Newton might have been the exception as far as being able to overcome being ruled ineligible I think most players would have found the hill too hard to climb.
Flushing out the slippery slope this presents, what other parent indiscretions might affect a player based on this proposed rule? What if the parent is betting money in Vegas on the players games (ala Pete Rose)? What if the parent gets caught with/using steroids? What if the parent begins initial informal negotiations with an agent before the players eligibility is up? In these cases will the adult player be held accountable?
I don't find it ludicrous at all that if you can't prove a player knew what the parent was doing then the player cannot be held accountable. It only makes sense based on the burden of proof required by our justice system. Sure an organization like the NCAA can high much higher standards of conduct then the criminal or civil code but still, holding one adult accountable for another adults actions? Sounds like a future lawsuit in my view.
The NCAA would be wise to tread lightly on this proposal and consider what would really be achieved by this new rule and the added cost of enforcement. Would the rule have made Cecil Newton less likely to make the solicitations if he knew his son might pay the consequences? I would hope so buts its not plausible to think he didn't already know his actions were wrong anyway. The fact he hid it from Cam says he already knew it was wrong, NCAA rule or not. I think in the end this rule will only hurt players based on things they have no control over.