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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Newton: Like father, like son?”

Cam Newton is the starting quarterback at Auburn University, leader of the undefeated 10-0 Tigers in the mighty Southeastern Conference, single-season rushing record holder in the SEC, Heisman Trophy frontrunner in position to guide Auburn to their first national championship ever and center of a firestorm of controversy.

Cecil Newton is Cam Newton’s father, a pastor at the Holy Zion Center of Deliverance in an Atlanta suburb, decision-maker for his son and solicitor of money from Mississippi State University for his son to commit there.

NCAA rules specify that any solicitation of money, even if none is taken, is a rule violation that can be grounds for suspension and forfeit of wins for that player and the games he participates in.

The plot thickens as a series of allegations have turned to admissions from Cecil Newton in the last week. A great number of sources have also come out of the woodwork, with fingers pointing right at Cecil Newton, and late last week, Cecil Newton admitted the allegations were true. This was no petty cash either; Cecil Newton was seeking something in the range of $100,000 to $180,000 dollars from Mississippi State University, which has since acknowledged the solicitation to NCAA investigators.

Even more shocking is that there are more allegations coming from the University of Florida, suggesting that Cam Newton, who was a member of their team in 2007 and 2008, had committed academic fraud as a student, and that was the reason for Cam Newton’s departure from Florida.

Cecil Newton, it appears, is a strong influence in his son’s life, and it was he who made the decision for Cam to transfer from Florida to Blinn College in Texas, a junior college where Newton could play for a year before transferring back to Division-I football.

Now comes the most curious part of all: Cam Newton was deliberating between going to Mississippi State and Auburn this year, and appeared ready to commit to Mississippi State. Dan Mullen, who is head coach of Mississippi State, was the former offensive coordinator for Florida, so he and Newton had a close relationship. Newton’s father, however, dissuaded Cam from Mississippi State and pushed him toward Auburn.

Is it possible that Cam Newton really didn’t know? Did his father act alone, hoping to benefit monetarily from his son’s immense talent?

With the power of hindsight, we may now well discern what really happened: Cecil Newton wanted money and Mississippi State did not deliver, so he sent his son to Auburn instead. If Cecil Newton approached Mississippi State, why would he have not approached Auburn? Indeed, if he was soliciting money for his son to attend college, how much stock do we put in Cecil Newton’s character?

What is so disturbing about this story is that, for once, we may have a kid who has done everything right, represented himself and the recruitment process with integrity, only to be undone by his greedy father.

We could all hope that Cam Newton knew nothing about his father’s solicitation, but logical thought would prove this hope to be extremely fleeting. Like father like son, right? We would all hope not, but probably know better.

A 20-year-old man who might not have grown up in the best economic situation, who might not have grown up in the best neighborhood, or had the best childhood influences, gets propositioned by a university. He is asked to come play ball and, in exchange, get more than just a scholarship. Can we really expect him to say no?

The answer is no. We can’t expect young kids who have never had anything, to decline the opportunity to have it all. The temptation is too great, and not everyone is blessed with tremendous foresight to decline such opportunity. What we don’t expect is the father to be the perpetrator, the greed-consumed solicitor of money on his son’s behalf.

Did Cam Newton know about the money? We might never know, but we should all hope that such kids would have a better example for a father than Cecil Newton.

— Brett Haupt is a journalism junior. He can be reached at

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