Cam Newton: The Next Heisman Victim?
A couple months ago, the sports world was shocked to hear that the New Orleans Saints star running back and former USC standout Reggie Bush had returned his Heisman trophy. Unequivocally, Bush has been one of the most exciting NFL athletes to watch on Sundays and Monday nights. But, he was clearly wrong for accepting money and other benefits from sports marketers during his tenure at USC. Now, the attention has shifted from Bush to a college superstar who has the potential to be just as electrifying in the NFL upon being drafted. Some sports pundits have already begun to assess how successful he should be in the NFL and how he will present problems for a plethora of defenses in the league. And, his name is Cameron “Cam” Newton- the star quarterback and Heisman frontrunner from Auburn University.
Before this 2010 season, it is relatively safe to state that many people had not heard of Cam Newton, save for fans at the University of Florida where he matriculated and was a part of the Gators’ championship team before transferring to a junior college. Now, Newton has become the household name for college football, as he has thrown with great accuracy and has run just as good as his former teammate Tim Tebow. It did not take long during the progression of the season for the Heisman buzz to commence about Newton and discussions about a potential BCS championship for the Auburn Tigers.
In recent days, alleged reports have evolved about Newton committing a potential NCAA infraction. Specifically, speculation has arisen that Newton may have had alleged ties with an “agent,” who allegedly offered Newton’s playing services to Mississippi State in exchange for a cash sum in the six figures. Although he is still innocent, some commentators have already begun negative dialogue stating that Newton should not be awarded the Heisman trophy for his outstanding performance this year. Some extreme critics have even voiced their opinion that he should be banned from even playing in the NFL, if found guilty. Do I agree with either one of these positions? In my humble opinion, I wholeheartedly disagree.
Will Cam Newton be the next Heisman victim? That is, will he be slighted for the Heisman Trophy or will he have to give it back? I do not believe that he will be treated unfairly. It would be utterly tragic if another player received the Heisman trophy other than Newton, without any supporting evidence of wrongdoing. Existing, objective facts have indicated that Auburn University knew about the accusations well in advance of recruiting and naming Newton as the Tigers’ starting quarterback. If Auburn thought that the allegations were somehow true, then logical thought would leave one to believe that Auburn would have not taken the risk. Moreover, anyone can show up on a college campus, state that they represent a particular player and request a six-figure fee to sign the player.
It is absolutely imperative that the NCAA begin to regulate sports marketers, fine them for violations and stop expecting colleges to be responsible for these “pimps.” This would have prevented Reggie Bush from having to give back the Heisman Trophy and would also prevent false allegations against innocent players.
Until an NCAA investigation objectively and conclusively presents factual evidence of any infractions, Newton should easily win and keep the Heisman Trophy if he continues to outplay LaMichael James of Oregon, Kellen Moore of Boise State and Andrew Luck of Stanford. Additionally, Auburn University should retain the BCS Championship Trophy, if they happen to win, and continue to build upon a great and competitive year.