According to everything I've seen in the sports media, people are OUTRAGED that Cam Newton could have taken money to go to Auburn. Apparently I am supposed to feel the same way. But I don't. Actually, I have to say that there is a part of me that thinks, "good for you Cam." AH!
We are supposed to be so shocked and angry because yes it is against NCAA rules to accept money or favors as a student athlete. I'm sure you've seen the story that some rogue agent was trying to get money from schools in return for Cam signing with them. He was a big-time recruit who originally went to Florida and played behind Tim Tebow. His ability was clear from the start but I don't really care who you are you're not usurping Tebow's playing time (in college at least.) Then there were some academic problems. Mainly he was apparently caught cheating on tests/papers and in possession of a stolen laptop. At which point he transfered to Blinn College, a JuCo in Texas, where he promptly won the National Championship. After that he was once again eligible to be recruited and play in the FBS.
This is where it gets murky. Mississippi St. and Auburn were both after his services when according to Miss St. they were approached by an agent working for Cam who asked the school for $180,000 for Cam to commit there. The Newton family said they know nothing about this agent. Auburn has dismissed that anyone tried to or did essentially sell them the rights to Cam Newton. Who do we believe?
Do we really care?
Let's say that Auburn did pay the Newton's $180,000 for Cam's services. Was it worth it? You bet it was. No way would Auburn be in the National Title hunt right now if he wasn't playing for them. Cam Newton is single handedly destroying defenses. Is a shot at the National Championship and a potential Heisman winner worth $180,000? Absolutely. According to a report in a Florida Paper last year the take home for playing in the BCS Championship game was $17 million per school. However, the report went on to say that although that money gets divided throughout the conference the school stands to make even more money through officially licensed and merchandised goods. To me it sounds like $180,000 is a pretty good investment if the potential return is in the millions. Not that college sports is a business though, right? Because nobody earns any money from it. Oh wait... it's just the labor force that doesn't get any money.
Except for Reggie Bush of course. He was the only one who ever got paid and according this video evidence, yeah he was worth it.
The NCAA rule was not created to establish some system of slave labor, it was created to make the recruiting field even. Or closer to even. By not paying athletes, schools with small budgets had a much better chance to land star players than they would if they had to compete with the big schools who could afford to pay them quite a bit. What drives me crazy is that according to The Media ever since the rule was made everybody stopped the practice. I may not be a rocket scientist (or am I?) but I'm no dummy either and I'd have to be a dummy to believe that no college athlete ever gets some money thrown their way. Which is why I ask, why the outrage? Do we really care? Will it really make a difference? Even if there were no money involved does anyone think that Blinn College or maybe Georgia State (he is from Georgia) had a shot at landing Cam Newton? No.
The problem with all of this is that the story focuses on Cam Newton and not Auburn's AD. Who is the one guilty of something here, a kid and his family (his father is apparently a minister, whatever that means) who are going to bring a ton of attention and a great football player to a school or the Athletic Department of the school who could have paid for the right to his services? In my mind it's the Athletic Department who is at fault in this case and hopefully The Media begins to understand that they need to hold the correct party responsible for this situation sooner than later.