NCAA Has Special Rules For SEC

Bobby Curran
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Friday - December 08, 2010
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The Cam Newton affair has given rise to discussion of not only illegal benefits and cash solicitations, but the very nature of parent-child relationships.

When it became apparent some years ago that Reggie Bush’s step-father had received an expensive rental house from a man who wanted to represent Bush, many claimed that Bush should have known that his family was living beyond its means. Based on my own experiences, I defended Bush. My parents were not sharing any information about their finances with any of their five children. Even now that they are nearing 80 and have some health issues, my father would rather have his toenails torn out with pliers than share details of his finances with my siblings.

But according to the NCAA, as quoted by USC athletic director Pat Haden, “the parent is the player.” Any illegal action undertaken by a parent or guardian has consequences for the player and school. Unless apparently, the player involved is Auburn QB Cam Newton. It is now clear that Cam’s dad Cecil solicited money from Mississippi State in exchange for Cam’s commitment to the Bulldogs. The NCAA says that because there is no proof that Cam Newton was aware of his father’s activities, his eligibility is intact.

While I’m not crazy about the rule that lumps an athlete with his parents’ actions, I’m not clear on why that rule is not being applied in an even-handed way. Could it be that Auburn and the SEC are intimidating the NCAA? Auburn has announced that Cecil Newton will have only “limited accesses” to the Auburn program. Nobody seems to know exactly what that means. But if it turns out that Cecil Newton received the $200,000 or so for signing with Auburn, are Cam Newton and Auburn off the hook because Cam can’t be proven knowledgeable to the payment? The NCAA is headed down a slippery slope on this one.

* Anonymous sources are saying that talks are progressing nicely between UH and the Mountain West regarding the Warriors becoming a conference member in football. The biggest point to be negotiated will be the television contract. UH currently derives an average $2.5 million per year from local rights, but the MWC keeps the local rights of its teams and hands them to the conference television partners. Something will have to give.

The second point is travel subsidies. They will certainly be a part of the negotiations. The question is the price tag. Also, UH’s arrangement with the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl is likely to be a point of discussion as well.

One bit of good news is that only three schools have asked to be considered for Big West membership (for UH, everything but football). The uncertainty is whether the Big West chooses to be at 10 or 12. Either way, insiders believe UH has an excellent chance to be selected for membership.

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