Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Question of the day: Did the Cam Newton decision fundamentally change NCAA enforcement?

December 3, 2010 | 12:59 pm


Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

Yes, the NCAA decision on Cam Newton is a game-changer because it exposed a loophole that is very 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 were 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 this was going on. The NCAA and Southeastern Conference knew they were sort of in no-man's land here and started damage control almost immediately after the ruling came down on Wednesday.

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 eventually to prevent something like this happening again.

Don't worry, though, the NCAA is working on it. My guess is they'll have it ironed out just about the time USC is officially forced to vacate its 2004 BCS title for sanctions involving Reggie Bush and his parents.

Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

First, let's give NCAA President Mark Emmert props for transparency. When the organization came under fire from all corners 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 on a case-by-case basis, but there seems to be a broad issue with the Newton verdict that will change future 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, subterranean world of recruiting is difficult enough to monitor without providing an out for the rule-breakers.

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 earlier this week, in the past the NCAA has considered the actions of  a parent the same as the actions of their student-athlete child. So, in this case, when Cecil Newton was shopping his son Cam Newton’s services for money, it would have been enforced the same as if Cam was shopping his own services. And right now the QB would be suspended.

But by ruling that it was Cecil Newton and not Cam who is to blame in this case, and that Cam is cleared to play, the NCAA has basically changed its policy. Still, it’s hard to believe they will make similar decisions in the future -- it just give parents too much leeway for wrongdoing.

Photo: Cam Newton. Credit: Robin Trimarchi / MCT