Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson tweets that the NCAA has contacted the Auburn Tigers about QB Cam Newton’s eligibility issues, warning the school that playing Newton is a potential risk. Of course this happened less than an hour after multiple sources reported Newton would be playing tomorrow.
The ball is on Auburn’s side of the 50, to paraphrase the hoops or possibly foursquare metaphor. They can decide they’ve already cast their lot with Newton, hope the NCAA doesn’t find the all-but-certainty that Cecil Newton requested money from the Mississippi St. Bulldogs to be an event that renders Newton ineligible, and keep playing for the SEC Championship Game and beyond. To do so would potentially risk multiple seasons worth of penalties. Shudder when you hear the NCAA using those words, whether you’re a Plainseagles fan or not.
Or Auburn can elect to hold Newton out tomorrow against the Georgia Bulldogs and play it day-by-day until their game two weeks later against the Alabama Crimson Tide. They’d still have a shot at beating the Dawgs, depending on their emotional state minus Newton, so losing him for one game wouldn’t necessarily crush their title run. Losing him for the rest of the year certainly would. But considering Mark Richt claims Georgia has spent no time preparing for anyone but Newton (don’t entirely believe that, but it’s probably not far off), the No. 2 Auburn Tigers could still pull off a home upset over the 5-5 Georgia Bulldogs. What a clause, and what a sport.
If Auburn wasn’t aware of Mississippi State’s report to the SEC and didn’t offer or give the Newton family any money during or after Newton’s recruitment, and there have been zero credible claims so far that they did, they are getting absolutely screwed by a long chain of parties that ends with either the NCAA or Cecil Newton, depending on how you look at it.