The NCAA concluded that a violation of amateurism rules occurred during Cam Newton's recruitment last year, but the quarterback's eligibility was immediately reinstated with no conditions, Auburn announced Wednesday.
NCAA vice president for academic and membership affairs Kevin Lennon said the decision was "based on information available to the reinstatement staff at this time."
"We do not have sufficient evidence that Cam Newton or anyone from Auburn was aware of this activity, which led to his reinstatement," Lennon said.
The NCAA's investigation determined that Newton's father, Cecil, and the owner of a scouting service worked together to actively market the quarterback as part of a pay-for-play scheme in return for Newton's commitment to Mississippi State.
NCAA rules do not allow individuals or entities to represent prospective student-athletes in order to gain compensation from a school.
As a result of the discovery, Auburn declared Newton ineligible Tuesday but immediately sought reinstatement from the NCAA national office staff, which can include conditions such as suspension or repayment of benefits. Newton was reinstated without any conditions.
“We are pleased that the NCAA has agreed with our position that Cam Newton has been and continues to be eligible to play football at Auburn University,” Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said. “We appreciate the diligence and professionalism of the NCAA and its handling of this matter."
As part of the decision, Auburn has limited access Newton's father has to the athletics program. Mississippi State has also disassociated the scouting service member, presumably former Bulldogs player Kenny Rogers.
“The conduct of Cam Newton’s father and the involved individual is unacceptable and has no place in the SEC or in intercollegiate athletics,” SEC commissioner Mike Slive said. “The actions taken by Auburn University and Mississippi State University make it clear this behavior will not be tolerated in the SEC.”
The NCAA said reinstatement decisions are independent of the NCAA enforcement process and typically are made once the facts of the student-athlete’s involvement are determined.
The reinstatement process is likely to conclude prior to the close of an investigation. It is NCAA policy not to comment on current, pending or potential investigations.
Auburn had no further comment other than Jacobs' statement made in the press release.