Auburn football: Tigers' program cleared in Cam Newton case

NCAA concludes no wrongdoing in recruiting Newton

kprice@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 13, 2011 

The NCAA sent a letter to Auburn University on Tuesday essentially clearing it of wrongdoing in the Cam Newton investigation.

In the letter, the NCAA said it conducted more than 50 interviews and looked into an extensive number of documents regarding Newton and his recruitment. On its website Wednesday, the NCAA released a statement saying it conducted 80 interviews.

“The NCAA enforcement staff is committed to a fair and thorough investigative process,” the NCAA release said. “As such, any allegations of major rules violations must meet a burden of proof, which is a higher standard than rampant public speculation online and in the media. The allegations must be based on credible and persuasive information and includes a good-faith belief that the Committee on Infractions could make a finding.

“As with any case, should the enforcement staff become aware of additional credible information, it will review the information to determine whether further investigation is warranted.”

Among the documents the NCAA said it looked at included bank records, personal IRS tax documents, telephone records and email messages.

The NCAA did find last fall that Newton’s father, Cecil, and the owner of a scouting service violated NCAA rules when Cecil Newton told Mississippi State officials that it would take $180,000 for his son to sign with that school.

Newton did not sign with Mississippi State.

Instead, he signed with Auburn. He went on to lead the Tigers to the national championship. He won the Heisman Trophy along the way.

In the letter, the NCAA stated it agreed with Auburn’s assertion that the school was unaware of Cecil Newton’s activities.

“We appreciate the NCAA and thank them for their professionalism and thoroughness during this exhaustive investigation,” Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said in a release on the school’s website. “We are pleased to put this matter behind us.”

Auburn had been waiting for a resolution to the NCAA’s investigation. At the Southeastern Conference’s annual spring meeting in Destin, Fla., Auburn football coach Gene Chizik pressed an NCAA official on when the investigation would be over.

The NCAA official reportedly told Chizik in a room full of coaches that it was ongoing and that he would know when it was over.

Also in the letter, the NCAA said it was concluding -- for now -- its investigation claims made by Raven Gray, Stanley McClover, Chaz Ramsey and Troy Reddick.

Those players told “HBO: Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” that they received extra benefits.

Regarding the claims by Gray, the NCAA said it talked to Gray and members of his family, friends and others, but that his “allegations were not substantiated and in some instances were disputed by others.”

The NCAA said McClover, Ramsey and Reddick refused to cooperate.

As with the Newton investigation, the NCAA said it would reopen the investigation if new information became available.

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