AUBURN, Ala. (WTVM) -- Auburn quarterback Cam Newton is eligible to play in the SEC title game, even though the NCAA says his father broke rules by shopping his son to another school.
The NCAA released its finding on Wednesday. The NCAA concluded on Monday that a violation of Newton's amateur status had occurred. Auburn declared Newton ineligible on Tuesday and requested his eligibility be reinstated. Newton has now been cleared to play and none of Auburn's 12 wins will be vacated.
Last month reports surfaced that Newton's father Cecil and former Mississippi State player, and owner of a high school scouting service Kenny Rogers requested money from Mississippi State in return for Newton playing for the Bulldogs. The younger Newton continually said he had no idea of his father's requests and Auburn was never implicated in any report. The NCAA found that Auburn was not in violation of any rules during its recruitment of Newton.
NCAA Press Release
Auburn University football student-athlete Cam Newton is immediately eligible to compete, according to a decision today by the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff. The NCAA concluded on Monday that a violation of amateurism rules occurred, therefore Auburn University declared the student-athlete ineligible yesterday for violations of NCAA amateurism rules.
When a school discovers an NCAA rules violation has occurred, it must declare the student-athlete ineligible and may request the student-athlete's eligibility be reinstated. Reinstatement decisions are made by the NCAA national office staff and can include conditions such as withholding from competition and repayment of extra benefits. Newton was reinstated without any conditions.
According to facts of the case agreed upon by Auburn University and the NCAA enforcement staff, the student-athlete's father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the student-athlete as a part of a pay-for-play scenario in return for Newton's commitment to attend college and play football. NCAA rules (Bylaw 12.3.3) do not allow individuals or entities to represent a prospective student-athlete for compensation to a school for an athletic scholarship.
In conjunction with the case, Auburn University has limited the access Newton's father has to the athletics program and Mississippi State has disassociated the involved individual.
"The conduct of Cam Newton's father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics," said Mike Slive, Southeastern Conference Commissioner. "The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC."
"Our members have established rules for a fair and equal recruitment of student-athletes, as well as to promote integrity in the recruiting process," said Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs. "In determining how a violation impacts a student-athlete's eligibility, we must consider the young person's responsibility. Based on the information available to the reinstatement staff at this time, we do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement. From a student-athlete reinstatement perspective, Auburn University met its obligation under NCAA bylaw 14.11.1. Under this threshold, the student-athlete has not participated while ineligible."
"We are pleased that the NCAA has agreed with our position that Cam Newton has been and continues to be eligible to play football at Auburn University," Auburn University Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said. "We appreciate the diligence and professionalism of the NCAA and its handling of this matter. "
During the reinstatement process, NCAA staff review each case on its own merits based on the specific facts. Staff decisions are made based on a number of factors including guidelines established by the Division I NCAA Committee on Student-Athlete Reinstatement, as well as any mitigating factors presented by the university.