NCAA rules Newton eligible to play


Cameron Newton
Cameron Newton

Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton celebrates after their 28-27 win over Alabama in an NCAA college football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Friday, Nov. 26, 2010. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Published: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 12:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — 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 in a statement on Wednesday. The college sports governing body had 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.

The Heisman Trophy front-runner now has been cleared to compete without conditions.

“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,” Kevin Lennon, NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs, said in a news release.

“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.”

No. 2 Auburn plays South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference championship game on Saturday. With a victory, the unbeaten Tigers will earn a spot in the BCS national title game.

The NCAA won't say its case is closed on Newton. However, its statement notes that reinstatement likely occurs “prior to the close of an investigation.”

The NCAA said Auburn and NCAA enforcement staff agreed that Newton's father and an owner of a scouting service worked together to on a pay-for-play scam.

Two Mississippi State boosters have accused Cecil Newton and former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers of trying to get cash payments for Cam Newton to play for the Bulldogs while he was being recruited out of junior college last year.

The NCAA ruling does not mention Rogers by name, although it does note that Mississippi State has disassociated itself with the “involved individual.”

Auburn also has agreed to limit Cecil Newton's access to its athletic program.

“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.”

Newton, who started his career at Florida, chose Auburn over Mississippi State after one season in junior college. He has been spectacular this year, leading Auburn to a 12-0 season.

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