Given the recent eligibilitization (yes, that is a word) of Cam Newton, I thought it would be good to see what fellow Cam-lover/Thayer-hater, Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports, thought of the whole thing. You’ll remember he answered a few questions for us back when this whole thing started, and it seems his thoughts on the situation are as strong as ever.
You can read more of his stuff here, and following him on Twitter is a must.
1. You’ve been an obvious Cam supporter during this whole thing, so what were your initial thoughts on the ruling of Cam’s eligibility?
I was instantly thrilled for Cam, and happy for Auburn and Gene Chizik and all those players having a once-in-a-lifetime season — and honestly I was pleased that the douchebag brigade of Thayer Evans, Pete Thamel and Co. didn’t get their ultimate goal of ruining Cam Newton.
2. Why do you think the world is against Cam Newton and Auburn?
People like to see the mighty fall. Journalists, fans of other schools, etc. Show them the mighty, and they will root for them to fall. Cam Newton is the mightiest fish in the sea. He’s Moby Dick, and every egotistical idiot out there is grabbing a fishing pole and making like Captain Ahab.
3. Do you agree that most every team and fan base would openly welcome Cam Newton and Auburn’s 12-0 record right this very second?
One hundred percent, yes, I agree. Look at how Auburn fans have embraced Cam. That adoration would have happened anywhere, and given the exact circumstances of this story, I think that’s terrific. Because Cam Newton is, from everything we know, innocent.
4. Why don’t the naysayers see that this does not open “Pandora’s Box”? Taking money is still against the rules.
Well, here we’re going to disagree, because I think it does open the possibility of something nefarious. It’s like this: Let’s say that Class of 2013 star Richie Studly has his dad ask Florida for money for his services as a tailback. If Florida gives it, then the Studly family got paid. But if Florida doesn’t give the money, Richie Studly can go to Georgia and claim ignorance about that whole Florida thing, saying it was his father acting alone. It DOES open a Pandora’s box for middle men, whether parents or scumballs, to go for money and shield the player.
5. Lastly, how does it make you feel that people like Thayer Evans can claim to be in the same profession as yourself?
Look, there are lots of people in this business horrified that I’m in THEIR field. I do Hate Mail every week where I rip my meanest e-mailing readers, for example, and lots of writers are bothered by that. We all have a schtick, I guess, and mine is — normally — to be the hardass. Thayer’s schtick is to be, well, the village idiot. And he does it well. Am I bothered that he’s in my profession? Not really. His presence makes me look good.
Did Cecil Newton screw up? Royally. Did Cam know about it? Maybe, but we’ll probably never know for sure. Did the NCAA make the right call? Yes.
The thing is that there is no feasible and fair way to punish Cam, even if he did know all about the conversations his dad had with Kenny Rogers. You can’t send a completely innocent Auburn football team, and a possibly innocent Cam Newton to the SEC Championship game without its most prominent player just because his father tried to get paid from a completely different school, months before said game. You would be punishing Auburn, who had nothing to do with it, and no control over it. You would be punishing Cam Newton, who also had nothing to do with it, and no control over it. You would be punishing millions of Auburn fans. You would be robbing South Carolina the opportunity to show that they are a better team than Auburn at their best. You would be taking away from the credibility of whomever went on to win the BCS, because there would be no assurances that the National Champion is in fact the best team in the land. (Let’s don’t get in to the problems with the BCS system. That’s a whole ‘nother issue.)
The scope of this goes way beyond Cam and Cecil Newton, and in this very specific case, there was no victim. No harm, no foul. Not only did Cam go to a completely different school, but the Newton’s didn’t get paid.
What is Pandora’s box in this case? So the NCAA has set a precedent that now anyone is allowed to shop the services of their kid to a school the kid doesn’t go to? Yeah. That’s a major problem.
Gregg: Thanks for talking to our beloved WarBlogle, and for being a logical thinker, and sports writer. Lot’s of respect, and best of luck.