Does Newton decision alter NCAA enforcement?

December 06, 2010

It's a game-changer

Chris Dufresne

Los Angeles Times

Yes, the NCAA decision on Cam Newton is a game-changer because it exposed a loophole that is troublesome and dangerous. The NCAA basically established that Newton's father shopped his son to Mississippi State but that Newton can remain eligible because neither he nor Auburn was aware of the violation.

This means, apparently, that any dad can shop his kid to any school and it's not a problem if there's no proof the kid or the school knew. The NCAA and SEC started damage control almost immediately after the ruling. Cynics will say the ruling was expedited by Auburn's No. 1 BCS ranking and Newton's Heisman Trophy campaign, but it's clear something has to be done to prevent something like this happening again. Don't worry, though, the NCAA will have it ironed out just about the time USC officially is forced to vacate its 2004 BCS title for sanctions involving Reggie Bush and his parents.

Loophole for cheaters

Paul Doyle

Hartford Courant

First, let's give NCAA President Mark Emmert props for transparency. When the organization came under fire for issuing a toothless ruling in the Cam Newton soap opera, Emmert responded by clarifying and explaining the ruling. So, there's that.

But while we get the reasoning — why punish a kid for his old man's misdeeds? — this ruling seems to set a precedent that will lead to more cheating and less enforcement. NCAA types like to say they view these accusations case by case, but there seems to be a broad issue with the Newton verdict that will change enforcement.

Simply put, won't athletes always plead ignorance? And based on the Newton ruling, how can the NCAA respond to the Sgt. Schultz defense?

The filthy world of recruiting is difficult enough to monitor without providing an out for the rule breakers.

Undermines system

Teddy Greenstein

Chicago Tribune

The NCAA Division I Manual is thick enough to crush an ant colony. Now, some of those rules seem more worthless than the paper they're printed on.

That's why Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Pac-10 chief Larry Scott spoke out to the New York Times, questioning how the NCAA seemingly could ignore its "rule-of-agency" principle regarding Cecil Newton and his decision to shop his son's services to Mississippi State.

"Who is closer to a player than a parent?" Delany asked.

New NCAA President Mark Emmert said he is committed to "clarifying and strengthening" his agency's recruiting rules.

That would be nice. Because as of today, not even the NCAA seems able to answer the question above.

Yes, but is it permanent?

Todd M. Adams

Orlando Sentinel

In this case, it seems the NCAA changed its enforcement policy. But it's impossible to tell if that change is permanent.

As USC athletic director Pat Haden pointed out, the NCAA had considered the actions of a parent the same as the actions of the student-athlete child. So in this case, when Cecil Newton was shopping son Cam's services for money, it would have been enforced the same as if Cam were shopping his own services. And right now, the QB would be suspended.

But by ruling that it was the father who is to blame in this case, and clearing Cam to play, the NCAA basically has changed its policy.

Still, it's hard to believe it will make similar decisions in the future — it just gives parents too much leeway for wrongdoing.

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