Newton vs. Bush: The NCAA’s Shameful Double Standard
The NCAA should be ashamed.
What it ruled in the sordid Cam Newton case on Wednesday screams out double standard.
College athletics’ august group declared Auburn’s great quarterback eligible for the SEC title game on Saturday and, yes, for the Heisman Trophy, as well, while, at the same time, acknowledging it has determined that Newton’s father, Cecil, actively had marketed his son in a pay-for-play scenario back in 2009.
So wait, USC gets buried in sanctions and has its program shredded because Reggie Bush and his family accepted money from prospective agents, but young Mr. Newton and Auburn get off easy, even though the kid’s father was openly asking for close to $200,000 as his son’s basic pimp?
Someone explain how that evens out. Wait, I’ll save you time. You can’t. Because it doesn’t.
The NCAA takes almost five years to investigate, interview and examine every factor in the Bush matter. But it rules on Newton in a matter of weeks.
Why? To save face, that’s why. If Newton were a star wide receiver at USC or Stanford, you think he would have been deemed just as innocent? No chance.
The fact that a) He’s the best football player in the country, and b) He plays in the sacred SEC have combined to let him off the hook.
Anybody who follows college football knows what would have happened if the NCAA had done the right thing and ruled Newton ineligible for the game with South Carolina and told Heisman voters that he was no longer eligible to receive the sport’s highest award.
The howls from SEC country and Auburn boosters would have been off the charts. The sport would have absorbed another major black eye, and the BCS bowl picture would have been blurred beyond recognition.
So instead, the NCAA took the easy way out. It ruled that Newton’s father was guilty, but that the son “had no knowledge” of the dad’s scheme to sell him to the highest bidder.
Come on. Does it really think anyone will believe that? The dad is out there trying to auction the kid off to the highest bidder, and young Cam never knew it was going on? Right.
But wait, the NCAA then claims the investigation is “ongoing.”
What is that supposed to mean? So Newton can lead Auburn to the national title and win the Heisman, and then it might all be taken away from him and the school months from now?
If USC’s lawyers don’t look at this ruling and start drawing up a new appeal on the Bush case, they’re crazy. I mean, the parents were the major culprits in both situations.
But now the NCAA is basically telling us that Bush’s dad and mom are more guilty for taking rent money from prospective agents than Newton’s dad is for being out there selling his son like he was some kind of football prostitute.
They’re also trying to say Auburn had no idea this was going on, that the best quarterback talent in America just happened to choose their school with no money changing hands, even though the father apparently had asked Mississippi State for huge bucks in order to get him to go there.
Yeah, I’d say that’s a bit of a stretch.
About as much of a stretch as Cam Newton being ruled eligible this week despite his father’s glaring guilt, while back at USC, Dillon Baxter was forced to sit out the Oregon State game because he happened to ride in a golf cart with a student who was also registered as an agent.
The NCAA is a piece of work, isn’t it? Fairness apparently isn’t in its vocabulary. The audacity in this case is overwhelming. For those of you who agree, I urge you to write to the leaders of this phony organization and register your complaints. Maybe you can reach them at what should be their new e-mail address:
— STEVE BISHEFF