AUBURN – Auburn athletics director Jay Jacobs said Friday he couldn’t talk specifics about the controversy surrounding Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. But he left little room for question.
Making a regularly scheduled appearance on a local radio station, Jacobs reiterated the Newton is eligible and will play against Chattanooga in Saturday’s homecoming game.
“We are just looking forward to playing the game tomorrow and Cam being the quarterback,” Jacobs said on WANI Radio.
Newton was engulfed in controversy Thursday after ESPN.com and The New York Times wrote stories reporting that former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond claimed a former teammate, Kenny Rogers, said last December he could deliver Newton for $180,000. Newton signed with Auburn.
Though Auburn officials are prohibited by the NCAA and the SEC from discussing specifics, head coach Gene Chizik said forcefully Thursday night that Newton remains eligible.
“The people that are athletic savvy people, what Gene said last night is that Cam is eligible,” Jacobs said. “I think that people that know athletics know what that means. Unfortunately, we can’t talk about it, but I can tell you this: What went on yesterday, what came out yesterday, was no surprise to us. We have known about that for quite some time.”
The policy at Auburn and most other schools is that, if there are questions about an athletes eligibility, he is not allowed to play until they are resolved.
“Any time you have any question about the eligibility of any student-athlete, regardless of what sport it is, you do not allow them to play,” Jacobs said. “(Newton) will be playing tomorrow.”
Auburn was informed of Bond’s allegations last summer and investigated in conjunction with the Southeastern Conference. It was determined that Newton’s eligibility at Auburn had not been compromised.
Among other things, Auburn compliance officials went through thousands of telephone records and other documents. There was no evidence of any contact between anyone from Auburn and Rogers.
“We are not going to get into the gray area with any rules,” Jacobs said. “We are going to have coaches and staff who are people of character and integrity.”