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NCAA Rules Cam Newton Eligible To Play, Contrary To NCAA Rules

Just a few minutes ago, the NCAA publicly ruled Auburn Tigers QB Cam Newton eligible, meaning he’s free to play in the SEC Championship Game. Though the NCAA declares the investigation isn’t over, this does mean Auburn can finish its season with Newton at the helm and then let the chips fall where they may in the years to come.

According to previous statements made by the NCAA during this kerfuffle, a player for whom a representative solicits money from a university is not an eligible student-athlete. Any program knowingly playing an ineligible player is at risk of “multiple seasons” worth of penalties. According to the NCAA’s own findings, Newton was shopped. Auburn absolutely knew about it while playing him over the past few weeks, though not necessarily while recruiting him or before the news blew up. So … ?

The NCAA is acting with common sense here, and I’m just not sure how to react to that. Capricious behavior by the NCAA — not new. But capricious behavior that even temporarily benefits a player and his school, rather than dooming them? How often does that happen?

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.