The NCAA is not a government entity and is not fettered by concepts like “innocent until proven guilty.” It has shown over the years that it can bring down a player or even a program with evidence that would be tossed out of any courtroom.
Senior Editor Phillip Marshall
Yet, even with those standards, NCAA investigators never found any evidence that warranted taking Auburn quarterback Cam Newton off the field or penalizing Auburn’s program in any way. As the world knows, he led Auburn to a 14-0 record and the national championship.
Evidence be damned, the effort to make a villain out of the best player of a generation knows no bounds. Nor apparently does the effort to somehow find a way to question Auburn’s national championship.
Newton won the Heisman Trophy despite numerous voters leaving him off their ballots.
The Football Writers Association of America, in a display of remarkable pettiness, left Newton off its All-America team and put two other quarterbacks on it.
Gene Chizik took over a program that had gone 5-7 in 2008 and won the national championship in 2010, yet SEC coaches voted for South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier as Coach of the Year. That would be the same Spurrier who lost five games yet again and was overwhelmed 56-17 by Auburn in the most lopsided SEC Championship Game ever.
Tuesday, the SEC athletic directors got into the act. They voted for Tennessee tennis player John-Patrick Smith over Newton as male Athlete of the Year. Since 1977, the first year the award was given, winning the Heisman Trophy had meant winning the Athlete of the Year award. Not this time.
Smith is a tremendous athlete, a four-time All-American in singles and doubles, but to say any athlete in the SEC was better in 2010-2011 than Newton is to venture into the theater of the absurd.
Newton led his team to the national championship. He won the Heisman Trophy, the Maxwell Award, the Manning Award, the Davey O’Brien Award and virtually every other award for which he was eligible.
The Carolina Panthers made him the first player chosen in the NFL draft. And he wasn’t the SEC Male Athlete of the Year?
Chizik takes a team picked to finish in the middle of the West Division to a 14-0 record, oversees the greatest comeback in Auburn history at Bryant-Denny Stadium, no less, and isn’t Coach of the Year?