Say this for the NCAA—and SEC Commissioner Slive—they were backed against a wall. Auburn boldly took an axe in hand and chopped off Cam Newton—declared him ineligible, seemingly making it necessary for the SEC to make its move. You don’t think Mike Slive was going to put it on hold and leave Auburn to play South Carolina with its big hand tied behind its back, do you?
This was a real poker player’s move, as I see it. Thus far, though, I haven’t been able to see through the fog surrounding the Newton case. You see, Florida recruited Newton to fill the gap left by Tim Tebow’s graduation—as a quarterback, not as an exemplary student and leader. Then Newton got caught up in some chicanery on the campus at Gainesville and beat the rap out of town.
Hardly a likely sort of replacement image for Tebow. He took flight for Blinn College, a junior college, in Brenham, Texas, where he is listed as an Academic All-American quarterback in the year 2010, obvious referring to the season of 2009-10. There is no evidence that he was involved in any of the rumored “meat market sale” of his services to Mississippi State, or that any money changed hands between Auburn and any member of the Newton family. His father though, being a minister of sorts, could always have been exercising his role as his son’s unofficial “agent.” That being the possibility, that explains the order that Cecil Newton “have limited access” to Auburn athletics. But how do you order a father to have no communication with his son, and how can it be enforced?
All the while, Steve Spurrier enjoys the fact that all that publicity is being deflected from South Carolina. The Gamecocks have been virtually shut out on the sports news front. It surprised me that the Tigers were favored on the odds front by only five points. Spurrier can coach defense, when he sets his mind to it. This is a rematch, of course. Auburn won the first game, 35-27. Then Spurrier turned up the jets and beat Alabama, 35-21, then lost to Kentucky, but concentrated on his old team and beat the Gators, 36-14. As I said, when it comes to pointing for an opponent, few can match Spurrier—if any.