The 2010 college football season began under a cloud of NCAA-related scandals. Is it about to end in a cataclysmic thunderstorm?
Just when you’d forgotten about Marvin Austin and A.J. Green, Nick Saban’s “pimp” speech and Reggie Bush’s forfeited Heisman, another scandal has rocked the sport. Only this time, we’re not talking about a guy from five years ago forfeiting his Heisman or a star receiver selling his jersey. We’re talking about the undisputed brightest star of the 2010 season, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, suddenly embroiled in seedy allegations at a time when his team is in the stretch run of a possible BCS championship berth.
To be clear, as of Thursday evening, neither Auburn, nor Newton nor his family has been publicly accused of any wrongdoing. Anything to the contrary is assumption or innuendo, and Newton is not being withheld from competition.
“I will say this very loud and clear,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said Thursday night. “Cam Newton is eligible at Auburn University. Period. End of story.”
But an ESPN.com report Thursday details allegations that Kenneth Rogers, a former Mississippi State player-turned-agent who claimed to be representing then-recruit Newton, sought $180,000 from that school to sign the quarterback. Mississippi State turned him in to the SEC, and at some point the NCAA began investigating Newton’s father, Cecil, asking for bank statements.