NFL Draft expert Robert Brewer will be writing for Inside the Iggles on a weekly basis, analyzing the Eagles’ team needs and some of the top college prospects who might be a good fit. His inaugural column, however, will address the most pressing issue in college football: Cam Newton.
By Robert Brewer
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is currently under NCAA investigation as his father, Bishop Cecil Newton, has allegedly solicited funds from select SEC schools in a play-for-pay scheme. Being that student-athletes are not allowed to be financially compensated for their athletic skills, (I’m still not sure why that is the case but that discussion is for another time) news of this alleged impropriety couldn’t come at a worse time since Newton is a heavy favorite for the Heisman Trophy in 2010.
It is being speculated that Bishop Newton, with the help of an acquaintance named Kenny Rogers, solicited Mississippi State University for cash payments in exchange for Cam Newton signing a national letter of intent. The bottom line in this whole saga now becomes what the possible ramifications could be if Cam Newton is found guilty? My answer: Absolutely nothing.
I believe Newton is in the clear because it is his father, not Cam himself, who would be in the most trouble for pimping his son to different colleges. As we know, college players have accepted money before and have had no substantial punishment for it since the NCAA has no legal jurisdiction to do anything. The worst possible punishment that the NCAA could impose would be to remove Newton’s name from Heisman consideration for this season and force Newton to relinquish his remaining college eligibility. Newton is a fourth-year junior who would be eligible for the NFL Draft anyway and would clearly be worthy of a spot on an NFL roster.
To some, Newton’s draft stock will surely plummet due to this glaring incident. Elite players like Randy Moss and Warren Sapp saw their draft stock take a dip after perceived character issues before the draft. However, I believe that Newton may have actually elevated his draft status as his performance on the field has not suffered in the midst of these allegations. Newton has proven to NFL personnel that he has excellent crisis management skills and seems to be poised beyond his years, leading the Auburn Tigers to an 11-0 record thus far. Most recently, Newton steamrolled SEC rival Georgia to the tune of 49-31, ensuring that Auburn will play in the 2010 SEC Championship game. Against the Bulldogs, Newton accounted for four touchdowns and 299 yards of offense.
In conclusion, as everyone takes a wait-and-see approach to the Cam Newton saga, I think this issue is much ado about nothing. In a similar situation, Reggie Bush accepted improper benefits while at USC and what did it really cost him? His Heisman Trophy and his name in the college football record books. Bush got what he needed out of his college career: an opportunity to showcase his skills to the NFL. He then parlayed those skills into a multi-million dollar contract with the New Orleans Saints. While it was clearly an embarrassing moment from a public relations standpoint, the actual damage to Bush’s career has been minimal.